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The Cost of Eating Out Vs. Cooking

It’s long been believed that buying groceries and cooking at home is a money saver. Is that true in this day and age?

According to a new study based on the way food prices have gone up in the past decade, it seems we aren’t really saving money by cooking at home anymore. Eating out costs around the same, and in many cases is even cheaper. Based on estimates from the USDA, the cost of food for a family of four has gone up 38% since 2003.  Back then, it cost $601.50 per month to feed a family. It’s now up to an average of $830 on the low end and $1,257 on the high end.

That’s anywhere from about $28 to $42 per day and you can probably eat cheaper than that with fast food. Yes, that would be less healthy than what you’re cooking in most cases, but the point is you’re not saving what you might think you are by cooking at home.

The study also found that if you try to make a 10-ounce ribeye steak, soup, salad, and a vegetable, it costs you $2.53 more per person than eating that exact same meal at Outback Steakhouse. If you make seafood alfredo, breadsticks, and salad, it’s costs $3.79 per person more than eating that same meal at Olive Garden.

Do you tend to agree with these findings? How often do you eat out and do you see much of a difference in the cost of eating out compared to cooking at home?

Who eats this stuff?
Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

*Note… I couldn’t pass up the Spam picture.

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