Save Money | Dining Out vs. Groceries Analyzed

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It is amazing how powerful this is when you REALLY analyze it.  I know it was for me.

The Temptation of Dining Out

The other day after church we had a moment of weakness.  We were feeling lazy and wanton, and had no Sunday afternoon meal ready prepared… so when the preacher mentioned tacos in his sermon, it was all over.  As we walked out to the car after the church service I knew we were destined for one place and one place only – The all-you-can-eat buffet at the local authentic Mexican restaurant.  Mmmm.

Sounds honest enough right? Church couple goes out to eat after the service, you see it all the time.  So what’s wrong with going out to eat once in awhile?

Well… because we are in debt!

Also… since we know how overpriced and unhealthy restaurant food is we normally go without and choose instead to eat at home.  Many times if one of us gets lazy and wants to eat out, the other is there to quickly bring the situation back on track.  But not this Sunday.  For some reason both of us had lost our edge.  The tacos were too much for us… so off we went.

Money Spent Dining Out

The food was great!  I loved every minute of it… at least while I was eating anyway.

As soon as I was done eating, two things started to bother me.

  1. The meal would cost much more than I wanted to pay. And I was right, it did.  After leaving a tip the damage came to around $26.00, which may sound cheap to some reading… but to us that is a lot to spend on one meal.
  2. We ate way more food than either of us needed. Overeating unhealthy restaurant food was a behavior we practiced often before adopting our frugal and sensible diet and weight loss mindset.  Like most Americans, when we go to an all-you-can-eat buffet it is very hard not to get our fill – especially considering how much was being spent on one meal.  In this situation most of us really want to make sure we get our money’s worth!  :-)

Now $26 poorer, for a meal that would sustain us for about 6 – 8 hours, we left the restaurant grossly full, hopped into the car and headed over to the grocery store to pick up a few things before heading home.

Money Spent on Groceries

This is the part that really helped set our priorities back in order!

At the grocery store we picked up the following groceries for a total of $20.49:

  • 6 – 32oz. jars of organic applesauce (good for about 36+ servings)
  • 10 organic apples (for use in 10 lunches)
  • 4oz. of bread yeast (enough for at least 12 loaves of homemade bread)
  • 75 sq. ft. of aluminum foil (should last at least 3-4 months)

The grocery items purchased would serve us many times over far into the future.  You can also use a costco membership discount to cut grocery costs.

Save Money | Cost Analysis

Save Money | Food Receipts

So what is the moral of this story?

Dining out is much more expensive than purchasing groceries. Is this breaking news?  No.  But bringing the point up and analyzing the numbers so plainly gives us a very clear picture of the high cost of dining out!

We already have pretty strict rules in place for dining out… right now we loosely limit it to special occasions and business opportunities.

Do we miss dining out?

I would be lying if I said we are never tempted, but I can honestly say that since we began focusing our eating habits on healthy, frugal, homemade meals… most of the time we crave our own food more than restaurant food.

The less we eat out and the less junk we eat… the less we crave it!



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