Last updated on January 12th, 2024 at 08:53 am

Is it cheaper to cook or eat out | Make these 20 foods and save up to 4303$ a year

Is it cheaper to cook or eat out
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Is it cheaper to cook your own food?

The answer to this question is definitely YES, but it depends on various factors. These factors include the cost of food, electricity, cooking utensils and supplies, and the time required to cook a meal. After all, time is not only our most valuable unrenewable asset, but it is also money. 

In general, however, cooking at home is usually cheaper than eating out. 

I did an experiment and calculated how much I would save with foods I regularly make at home from scratch. Here is the list, together with yearly savings per food and overall savings per year:


If you want to make the same calculation yourself, you can use my food savings calculator, which I am giving to you for free!

Homemade foods made from scratch that are cheaper than store boughtMinimum yearly savingsMaximum yearly savings
Beef jerky$253$253
French fries$242$242
Ground beef$75$432
Gluten free bread$96$533
Almond flour$112$112
Cauliflower rice$254$254
Granola bars - per bar (consuming 24 bars a year)$9$9
Yearly saving if you make these foods from scratch at home$1,720$4,303

*click on individual food to get a detailed calculation.

Additionally, cooking at home gives you more control over the quality and nutrition of your food, which is important in knowing just what exactly you are putting into your body.

So, to begin to break down the complexities of this problem and come up with a viable number, it first depends on how you compare the cost. 

For example, if you’re comparing the cost of a home-cooked meal to that of a fast-food meal, cooking at home will generally be less expensive, but you are also sacrificing the quality of ingredients and your health.

If you’re comparing the cost of a home-cooked meal to a meal from a casual dining restaurant, the difference may be less significant in health, but much greater in costs. In either case, the cost of groceries is typically lower than the cost of eating out, so cooking at home will usually save you money.

There are other benefits to cooking at home beyond simply saving money. 

When you cook your food, you have more control over the ingredients and can choose recipes that are healthier and more nutritious. 

Cooking at home also allows you to practice your culinary skills and learn new recipes. If you enjoy cooking, it can be a fun and satisfying hobby. Learning how to cook is an invaluable skill that will serve you for the rest of your life.

So, is it cheaper to cook or eat out? Yes, but it depends on your perspective and individual circumstances. In general, however, cooking at home is usually the cheaper option. Additionally, it provides more control over the quality and nutrition of your food. If you enjoy cooking, it can also be a fun and satisfying hobby.

How to save money cooking at home

Some tips for cooking on a budget include using cheaper cuts of meat, buying in bulk, and choosing recipes that use inexpensive ingredients. Listed below is a compilation of several more ways to save money when cooking at home.

1. Plan ahead and make a grocery list. This will help you avoid impulse buys and overspending on ingredients.

2. Use leftovers wisely. Get creative with your leftovers and turn them into new meals.

3. Invest in some good quality kitchen tools. Having the right tools can make cooking at home much easier and more enjoyable.

4. Shop at discount grocery stores or online. You can often find good deals on ingredients by shopping around.

5. Take advantage of seasonal produce. Seasonal fruits and vegetables are typically cheaper and tastier than out-of-season options.

6. Grow your own herbs and spices. This can be a fun and rewarding way to add fresh flavors to your cooking.

7. Learn how to cook simple, but healthy and delicious meals. This will save you both money and time in the long run.

What affects how much we spend on food

There are a variety of factors that can influence how much a person spends on food. Some of the most common include income, food prices, and dietary preferences.

Income is likely to be the most significant factor influencing food spending. Those with higher incomes tend to spend more on food overall, as they often have the means to purchase more expensive items or eat out at restaurants more often.

Food prices can also play a role in how much someone spends on food, as increases in the cost of groceries can lead to higher bills. 

Finally, dietary preferences can also impact spending, as those who require specialized foods or follow a particular diet may need to spend more on groceries to accommodate their needs.

And while this is a difficult question to answer because people’s spending habits can vary greatly, it makes for an interesting topic to cover because it is so vast and all-encompassing.

You see, people come from all different types of economic backgrounds. Some people may be able to get by on a very tight budget, while others may spend quite lavishly on their groceries. 

How much we spend on food on average

In general, however, the average person spends around $3,000 on groceries every year. Keep in mind, however, that this amount can fluctuate depending on the individual’s circumstances.

With that being said, on the flip side, it is estimated that the average person spends about $1,200 on restaurants a year. 

But again, keep in mind, this is an estimate of someone who lives very frugally and includes both lunch and dinner. It also covers eating out for special occasions, such as birthdays and anniversaries. The amount spent on restaurants will vary from person to person, depending on their income and eating habits. Those who eat out more often or spend more on food will spend more than those who don’t.

What are the different factors that go into how much a meal costs?

Several different factors contribute to the cost of a meal, whether you’re cooking at home or eating out. 

The cost of ingredients is one factor to consider. When cooking at home, you can often buy in bulk or on sale and stretch your dollar further. Eating out, on the other hand, means paying retail prices for ingredients.

Another cost to consider is labor. When you cook at home, you do all the work yourself. But when you eat out, you’re paying for someone else to do the cooking for you.

Finally, there’s the cost of overhead, which includes things like rent, utilities, and other expenses related to running a restaurant. When you eat out, you’re paying a premium for the convenience of not having to clean up after yourself and the overall experience of people being paid to be nice to you. 

When you cook at home, you can save money by doing some of the work yourself and avoiding costly overhead expenses.

The bottom line is that there are several different factors to consider when it comes to the cost of a meal. By understanding these factors, you can make informed decisions about where to eat and how to cook your meals.

The cost of eating out vs staying in

When it comes to the cost of a meal when you eat out, the type of restaurant you choose will have a big impact. 

Fast food restaurants are typically the most affordable option, while finer dining establishments will be more expensive. 

In general, you can expect to pay more for a meal at a sit-down restaurant than you would for the same meal at a fast food place. 

Keep in mind, however, that there are often trade-offs when it comes to cost. For example, a sit-down restaurant may offer better quality ingredients and more attentive service than a fast-food restaurant.

When it comes to cooking at home, the cost of ingredients is the biggest factor to consider. By shopping at a discount grocery store or buying in bulk, you can save money on groceries. In addition, cooking at home allows you to stretch your ingredients further by using leftovers in future meals.

In general, cooking at home is going to be the more affordable option. However, there are some situations where eating out may be more cost-effective. For example, if you’re feeding a large group of people, it may be cheaper to order from a restaurant than to cook at home. Similarly, if you’re in a hurry and don’t have time to cook, grabbing a quick meal from a fast food place is maybe your best option.

Is it cheaper to eat out or cook for one person?

Assuming you are cooking for one person, it is cheaper to cook at home most of the time. The ingredients for a meal are usually less expensive than buying a comparable meal at a restaurant. 

In addition, cooking at home gives you more control over the quality and nutrition of your food. If you enjoy cooking, it can also be a fun and satisfying hobby, and it is intrinsically rewarding to provide nourishment to another human being. Especially if they enjoy it.

Large parties are where things get a little tricky. The cost of cooking for and having a large party of people may end up outweighing how much it costs to go out to a restaurant. The amount of time and energy it takes to cook for a large group of people is what some people do for a living, and receive significant financial compensation for doing so. So keep that in mind.

Also, the number of ingredients you will need, utilities that are indirectly being used (water, electricity, gas), and any other unforeseen circumstances (think broken plates or glasses) are hard to pinpoint. 

The ingredients can be controlled, but everything else adds up in ways that are difficult to gauge and may prove to be better if left to the professionals at the restaurant. But when it’s just one person, the effort is much less, the ingredients are smaller batches, and it’s a much more manageable situation cost-efficiency-wise.

So, if you are cooking for yourself, or just one other person, cooking at home is the way to go.

What is the average cost of home-cooked meal per person?

The cost of a home-cooked meal can vary greatly depending on the ingredients used, the recipe followed, and the number of people. 

In general, however, the average meal in the United States costs about $8.00 per person. This includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner. However, if you are eating out at a restaurant, the cost of your meal will be higher. 

The average cost of a restaurant meal is about $12.00. Of course, these prices will fluctuate depending on the price of groceries and utilities used, but these are good numbers to go off of in today’s world.



I am a kind of person that would sneak a taste out of grandma’s pot when I was barely tall enough to reach it. I grew up in kitchens full of love and liveliness and have spent my whole live learning, experimenting and succeeding in the art of cooking. At Pro Family Chef, every day is an opportunity for a new meal and a brand new flavor. I created this website to connect people that love to cook, with the products designed to make their cooking easier, hassle-free and rewarding every time.

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