If you live alone, is eating out cheaper than cooking at home?

I used to think that eating outside is much more expensive but then when I calculated everything at the end of the month, I feel like it doesn't give much difference. Or am I spending too much on groceries?


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Most Helpful Guy

  • I doubt you can make it cheaper in the long term. I can think of pretty cheap food I can get out there, but it's mostly unhealthy fast food which I wouldn't wanna eat every day.

    The thing with cooking for yourself is that you shouldn't just buy stuff for a single meal, that will get expensive. Same if you use a lot of preprocessed stuff.
    But if you cook in larger quantities it will get cheaper. Same with spices... if you buy nutmeg for the béchamel sauce in the lasagna, it will seem expensive at first... but in those packs is enough to make lasagna for the next couple of years. So you buy it once and then don't have to worry about it anymore.

    If I do curry for myself I pay 15€... but I eat once from it and then have 3 more portions I can do in the freezer, and then still have enough of some of the ingredients left to make it another 3-4 times, so next time I just need to buy the chicken and vegetables for another 4 servings. If you then calculate how much I actually pay for every meal... it's low. And like that it's with many other things too... You can cook yourself and make it super expensive or very cheap... it all depends on how you do it

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    • 3mo

      I usually cook different dishes every day. There will be two types and I only eat it once. Then cook another new one the next day. I admire your way of cooking! Would try to cook in a larger portion then.

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    • 3mo

      Yes is that wrong? 😛

    • 3mo

      No... but an interesting choice ;p

Most Helpful Girl

  • It honestly depends on what kind of restaurants and what kind of groceries you go for.

    If you are eating in a local restaurant then costs are going to be less than when you do fine dining.

    If you're going for quality groceries such as organic goods, it will obv cost more than a microwave dinner.

    For me, I find eating out and dining in the same, just depends on your food of choice and the quality of ingredients you choose.

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    • 3mo

      Since I am kind of on diet, I need to get some healthy food and the choices are limited. You're right about the organic goods. It isn't cheap.

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    • 3mo

      Cheers for the MHO

    • 3mo

      No problem 👍

What Guys Said 34

  • Cooking at home can save you a great deal of money if you budget it correctly. Eating out is always, in general, going to be more expensive in my opinion, because you're not just paying for the food, you're paying for all the frills that go along with cooking it and serving it to you. It may be the case that you are spending too much on groceries and you're eating out at the more high end establishments. Try looking at your budget more objectively and seeing where you can cut back if you are trying to save money.

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  • If your buy groceries, that is what you pay for. If you eat out, you are paying for the groceries, plus markup, plus preparation, plus serving, plus washing the dishes, etc. If you are paying more to buy and make your own, you need lessons on how to buy groceries.

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  • During my bachelor days I tried it both ways and found that if I cook big meals like I was used to when I was married , I could portion out the left overs and freeze it. It really did cut down on my waste and extended the grocery budget more than I ever thought it would. That within its self put enough back money wise that I could occasionally splurge and go out as a treat.

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  • Where i live if you're eating high quality meat with most dishes, its cheaper by far to cook at home. Steak and chips for example is about £14 per person including wine at home. The same meal out would cost £25-40 per person.

    If you buy cheap groceries, low end meat, cheap bread etc. The price is almost the same ~£6 per head as eating out. In fact you can get filled up more by eating out here for £6

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    • 3mo

      Someone who is concerned about the cost of food shouldn't be buying wine.

  • Eating out is more expensive.

    When I was in grad school, my weekly food budget was $8. That is a bit under $16 per week in today's dollars. You can't eat out all week for $16.

    One thing to keep in mind is to avoid prepared foods at the grocery store, like frozen meals and hot foods.

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  • Eh I don't know. If you cook cheap food like spaghetti then I'd say so. Like for example I can cook those bertolli bow tie pasta things, forgot the term, but it's like 12 bucks for the noodles and marinara sauce, so if you want to eat the same thing for 3 days in a row then I'd say so. That's the key is you have to eat left overs. Personally I just aim for spending no more than 7$-$8 per meal. I just make sure I don't eat too much junk. I'll make sure I eat subway a few times a week. Subway is cheap, like 4$-$6 What annoys me the most is that cooking takes a lot of time and after working a long day I prefer to come home with my dinner in my hand, and not have to make it. Hope that helps. Honestly I think you you're by yourself cooking at home doesn't save enough to make it worthwhile.

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  • Personally eating at home is way cheaper. I get a solid amount of cash each month as i go through college but now that i eat out less and cook food at home i often can invest with the money i have rather than splurge on a meal that costs twice as much. Plus. I know where my food is coming from and if i find a hair, its usually mine.

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  • Depends on how you do it
    Most restaurant meals are WAY too big. If you save your leftovers and eat them the next day, eating out is almost comparable to eating in. But if you're frugal, you can feed yourself nicely on $5 a day, and that about half what you'd pay at most restaurants. Quick tip. BYO soda at 10 cents a can. Instant 1 dollar saving.

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  • Really depends on what you're eating. You can eat out quite cheaply in some places, and you can make eating in rather expensive depending on where you shop and what you cook.

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  • What universe do you live in? Lol. Eating out costs more. When grocery shopping, you can save by buying large quantities, stocking up on sale items and buying generic no-name brands. Buy groceries at large chain stores, not the small local ones. Often the simpler and grubbier the store is inside, the cheaper its prices will be. The big drawback is having to cook everything yourself, so eating out is a nice change once in a while.

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  • No, not even close. While it's not easy to cook meals for one person even if you waste shit tons of food you come out ahead of eating out. I can easily sustain my core food for $30 a month and then buy luxery items like good beer for half my grocery bill lol. But I can blow an entire months groceries on one meal at a normal restaurant.

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    • 3mo

      But if you shop for healthy goods like organic it wouldn't be that cheap though.

    • 3mo

      My core diet for $30 a month is pretty healthy. I eat things like oat meal, whole grain breads, brown rice, all sorts of vegetables, chicken tenderloins, fresh fruits, pasta dishes, etc. When I splurge it's on junk food like ice cream, beer, big steaks, etc. Processed junk foods are more expensive but sure you can get deals on them as well if that's what you like to eat.

  • sure cooking at home is cheaper, but it's not even about money, i've traveled a lot coz of my job, i was eating out every day sometimes for more than 6 continuous months. u get bored u almost eat 3 or maximum 4 dishes coz it's what u like. but almost the same everyday. Now i moved into another country I started to cook, i found myself being creative, making new dishes, it's even easier now u can use the youtube and i strongly recommend ' Tasty' page on facebook... above all of this u gonna save a lot of money comparing to eat our

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  • You spend way to much on groceries. I highly doubt you make $15 meals. Thats about the average for me to go out. I can make 6 eggs with green and red peppers with cheese and onions for like 1.50 or less.

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  • Eat cereal and Totinos frozen pizzas. You can eat for $1 per day easy. Also, try fried potatoes and scrambles eggs. That costs cheap too. It just depends on which types of food you like for how much it will cost.
    Most of the things I like the most just happen to cost cheap.

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  • Its way cheaper eating at home!

    Buy in bulk, watch the expiration dates while watching how much refrigerator and storage space you have. Always look for food on sale.

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  • I usually cook dishes that I can eat from more than once. Either the next day or freezing it for later. Then it is definitely cheaper to eat at home.

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    • 3mo

      I cook different dishes every day and finish it once :O

    • 3mo

      That is a lot more workload though as well as you having possibly leftovers that go to waste.

  • Eating out is EXPEN$IVE , Unless the girl your dating has got Instagram $$$ then it's more like pocket change to her !

    As Bart from JKNEWS says all the Insta Hoes have Millions, that's the girl who will blow money on anything & doesn't give a fuck about the price!

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  • Defiantly its cheaper for groceries

    But there's a catch though. The more raw materials you buy the cheaper it becomes. The more already prepAred food you buys it adds up

    Do you cook? Lol

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    • 3mo

      Of course, which is why I askef this question haha. Why is that?

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    • 3mo

      Living alone, definitely I wouldn't get goods in bulk. Also, I tend to cook two dishes and finish it at once which means I need to get more different goods (vege/meat/eggs) for each day. I shop once a week. I realize that it doesn't give much different than eating out, looking at the way I shop. Like others say, maybe because I get expensive goods.

    • 3mo

      Mmmm yea its possible depends what you buy

      But whatever you buy will most likely still cost less than going out to eat. Buying a peice of salmon might cost 5 bucks but 20 at the resto

      I usually shop by day actually lol so worse than you. I plan what I wanna eat the day of

      Ok give me an example of something you might cook, the two meals you talked about?

  • I have always found that cooking is cheaper than eating out. Many times, the ingredients you buy when you go food shopping will last for multiple days or serve multiple portions, where eating out is generally consumed all at once.

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  • Cooking at home is cheaper if you buy in bulk. If you add up what you spend eating outside vs. buying food items in bulk you'd notice a massive difference in cost.

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  • If you know how to shop and build yourself a meal plan then yes it is. Or if you just buy frozen/premade meals. I eat a lot of stuff with rice so obviously that's cheap.

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    • 3mo

      I usually cook two dishes for a meal. Vegetables and meat. I find it incomplete to be eating only a dish for every meal.

    • 3mo

      I usually cook meat and vegetables together, or if not i work hard on the meat and phone it in with the veggies. Like use frozen corn or just roast some potatoes.

  • It's damn sure easier, and I've found it cheaper as I waste less.

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  • Actually eating at home is better and cheaper maybe you're buying too much groceries

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  • Yeah, I make more than my daughter and I can eat, and have left overs later in the week.

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  • I save way more money making my own meals. When I eat out I splurge

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  • If you eat everything you cook and don't keep more perishable food than you are expecting to eat before it goes bad then it is astronomically cheaper to eat at home

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  • I always eat out. Or delivered. Home is boring.

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  • if you are alone the eating out thing works quite well as long as you do not go exquisite

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  • Eating out cost more but I prefer it due to how I'm busy at work only on weekends I cook

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  • Where I live eating out could easily cost you 4 times as much as cooking for yourself, on average.
    I guess the trick is to find something you like that is economic and buy it when it is on sale.

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  • More from Guys
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What Girls Said 14

  • You must be buying costly groceries eating stuff I make is much cheaper (I'm not in US though so maybe it's different from country to country).

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  • Ehm no, def not.
    I mean for example the burrito student meal 6 euro here. For that you get any burrito and a can of coke. But if you think of the indridigents it costs to make said burrito they're cents each. You're def spending more twice as much as it would cost to make it yourself.
    Similarly there is a place that makes pasta salad for you, big portion at 7 euro per portion. Tastes great, but if you think of the price of the pasta and then a bit of vegetable you'd barley be over 1 euro
    And don't even get me started on sandwiches, there are convenience stores that charge 4 europ for a baguette with ham and cheese. Well white baguette that's like 40 cents. A bit of ham and cheese maybe 30 cents each too. So that's about a 1 euro in costs and it's not like it's hard or time consuming to make yourself

    And here in the supermarkets each supermarket always has the 5 for 50 offers. So 5 packs of fruit of vegetables for around 50 cents. If you plan ahead you can live off that as far as fresh food goes

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  • I have always Felt that with Buying food, and I don't Eat a lot, that it is Cheaper and even Maybe More... Nutritious as well to Buy food that You can Have at your Finger Tips any Time of Day or Night you Want it.
    However, @desidoll, Whatever Works for you.
    Good luck and Great question. xx

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  • I have a house mate but we cook separately and buy food alone. It is by far cheaper for me to cook. It just depends on what you're cooking really and how many things you want in a meal. It also helps to shop at certain places that are cheaper and to buy things on specials or in bulk.

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  • When I lived with a roommate in college we each bought our own groceries. $50 could easily get me enough food for a month.

    Eating out was $5-$20 a pop depending on the location.

    That's $15-$60 a day if I were to eat out every meal.

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  • I say it's cheaper to cook at home typically. Food and drinks get marked up at restaurants plus you may be paying to tip servers (not sure where you live).

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  • Well cooking means burning things down for me so it's safer and less expensive for me to eat out. Or head over to my moms or my brothers and make them feed me. Lol

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  • Eating alone is much cheeper. You can plan out meals. When I go to the grocery store I spend about 50 bucks and I only go every two weeks if that gives you an idea. If you go out to a restaurant you could spend 60 bucks in two days if you wanted to.

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  • If you only consider junk food, you may be correct if you compare to your own cooking. If you go for healthy things, cooking at home is cheaper.

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  • Cook food that will last a few days or that you can alter into something else for another night.

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  • I think. eating at home would be cheaper. You can cook enough to food for the week.

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  • I won't go to the bother to cook for myself. I only cook if I'm having company. I don't spend a lot on eating out so for me there's not a lot of difference between dining out and dining in. Besides when I dine out I can have a friend join me so I'm not eating alone.

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  • cooking at home is cheaper !

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  • My personal experience is the opposite.
    Eating at home is way cheaper.

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