Have you ever wondered how much would you save if you cut back on eating out? Or how much do you save by not eating out? Let’s take a look because I was wondering.
I want you to know that my family and I do not eat out very often, maybe once a month. Plus my husband gets an allowance for lunches every month, this way he is not tempted to eat out whenever someone asks. So is this saving us money? Let’s break it down for lunch and dinner.
TAKE A LUNCH OR EAT OUT?
Now before I start, I want you to know that I believe you should eat out a couple of times a month with your coworkers. This will help you make work friends and build work connections (which are so so important these days!). So make sure you don’t turn down every opportunity. OK back to what you can save.
Depending on where you eat lunch (fast food/dine-in), we are going to say the average cost of one meal is $8. So we would be looking at $40 per week and $160 a month to eat out for lunch. Now you could be thinking but that’s only $160, so let’s look at it for the year, $2,080.
That’s right in one year you would pay $2,080 for just lunch… I can think of a lot of things I could do with that money, how about you?
So if you brought your own lunch, how much would you save? Would the amount be enough to make you switch?
First off, any type of food cost money and the food we are comparing is left-overs or made-from-scratch.
- bringing left-overs – You will be bringing a portion of your meal from another meal. This is something we do ALL the time plus it helps us not waste food.
- bringing a meal you made from scratch – You could bring a sandwich, salad, or another simple dish you prepared just for lunch.
Now the average cost of these could be different every day/week depending on what you decided to eat. But after adding the cost of a deli sandwich plus sides (chips & fruit), I am going to say an average per day would be about $3. So $15 a week, $60 a month, or $780 a year.
That’s a $1,300 savings by just making your own lunch. But because I think you should eat out at least 3 times a month. Your cost would be more around $960 a year, which still is a $1,120 savings!
MAKING DINNER OR EATING OUT
Let’s switch gears and talk about dinner. Now we are a family of 5 but my kids don’t eat a full meal themselves, it’s about one meal between the 3 of them. So we are paying for 3 meals when we eat out and that adds up!
And again depending on where you are eating out, we are going to say the average cost for one dinner meal is $12.75. At this cost, we would pay $38.25 for our family to eat out one time!
Now I have to tell you because it just kills me, I could feed my whole family an amazing salmon dinner for about $20. Do you see where I am going with this?
Maybe you only eat out 3 times a week, you could be spending $38.25 on one person a week. If you’re a family like us, that would be $114.75 per week or $459 a month. That’s almost my whole grocery budget for the month and that’s only 12 meals.
But if you could cut back on one meal each week, for one person, you could save $403 a year.
HOW MUCH WOULD YOU SAVE IF YOU CUT BACK ON EATING OUT?
So how much would you save if you cut back on eating out for lunch and dinner? Would it allow you to pay off more debt, vacation more, or maybe just save?
SIDE NOTE: I wanted to see how much my family saves per year on these averages. Let’s say we were eating out 3 times a week and my husband would eat out for lunch. If we cut back to what we do now, eating out once a month and only eating out 3 times a month for lunch. We would save $4,468 a year. WHAT WOULD YOU SAVE?