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How Eating Out Makes You Poor

Granted, it’s pretty much common knowledge that eating out everyday is not good for your wallet. But does this also apply to dollar menu items such as a dollar burrito or burger? We’re going to be taking a look at this and see if it’s really worth eating out vs. cooking at home.

When I was in college, I would pretty much eat out every single day. My go-to was the dollar burritos at Taco Bell. Since 1 burrito isn’t enough personally for a meal, I order 2 per meal. Since I only eat lunch and dinner, that’s 4 burritos a day. At a cost of $4 per day, that is $1,460 per year for meal expenses. Pretty good right? Now let’s compare this vs. cooking at home.

For the month of May, I spent $88.06 on groceries. Of this, I bought 2 packs of Chinese sausages from an Asian supermarket and 1 pack lasts a month. Adjusting for consumption, my cost was $81.07. This cost includes rice, onions, carrots, seasoning, and peas but you can adjust this depending on your budget. For me, I consider the meals that I cooked “fancy” compared to the normal stuff I usually eat. Adjusting on a per meal basis, I spend $1.31 compared to the $2 per meal when I eat at Taco Bell. While this may not seem a lot, the savings would add up to $487.16 for the year. Depending on your residence, this could be a month’s worth of rent that you just saved!

There are also other qualitative factors to consider. The meals that I cook are a lot healthier and in my opinion, tastier than fast food options such as Taco Bell. Down the line, this would save me thousands on healthcare costs since I’m eating healthier and coupled with exercise would go a lot way in terms of savings.

So next time someone says to just get a dollar menu item because it’s cheap and convenient, remember that “cheap” is subjunctive. Plus cooking is a valuable skill to have and at least for me, someone who is a good cook would definitely make an impression on me!

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