You want to pay off those debts and build the life of your dreams? Then you’ve got to get your costs down. One of the easiest ways to save cash is to stop eating out. How much cash can you save when you do? Let’s find out:
The Shocking Number
The American Bureau of Labor Statistics says that the average American household spends approximately $3,000 a year when eating out in 2015 (so it’s more now). It’s important to note that a single individual can count as “a household” too and nearly 1 in 4 households is just one person. So, that figure is probably much higher if you have a family.
Actually, it’s not hard at all to spend this amount of cash on eating out. Even if you never eat in a fancy restaurant. If you have lunch every day while you work at $10 a day, that’s $50 a week or $2,500 a year!
Go out for a nice but not indulgent meal on the weekend too and you can double that figure.
Where Does All The Money Go?
Restaurants need to make a profit. They also have a staffing bill. A utility bill. Taxes to pay. And so on…
When they buy ingredients, in order to cover all these costs, they need to mark up their food costs by about 300%.
That is if they buy $10 worth of ingredients, they need to sell those ingredients (in fully prepared dishes) for $30 to make it worth their time.
That’s The Room You Need To Save Money
If a restaurant meal is $30 for every $10 of ingredients. A home-cooked meal is about $10 for every $10 in ingredients (plus a very small charge for your electricity or gas to cook it with, and the washing up liquid and water to clean up with).
That means if you are a typical American household that spends $3,000 a year on eating out. Not eating out and eating at home instead is going to cost you $1,000.
That’s a saving of $2,000. $2,000 that you could invest in your future. $2,000 that could pay down your student loans. $2,000 that could buy a used car. $2,000 that could buy that top of the range computer you need but can’t afford.
But I Like Eating Out!
Sure, so do I. You don’t have to make this an all or nothing exercise. Let’s say you eat those 5 lunches, at $10 a pop, out at the moment. If you went out just twice a week and brought a bag lunch the other 3 times, how much would you save?
You’d save $1,000 a year! That’s still a lot of money to put to work to make your life a better life, right?
But What Do I Eat?
If you’ve never planned meals at home before, this can feel a bit overwhelming when you first start thinking about it but it doesn’t have to be.
Cutting down on eating out is one of the easiest and least painful ways to save money. It’s something I’d recommend to anyone who wants their financial problems to go away. Try it and see for yourself.