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  1. #1
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    Default Groceries vs. Out-to-Eat

    So this is something bf and I have been discussing recently. We actually tested it out and it kind of worked, except I missed cooking.

    What do you all think about not getting groceries and eating out instead? See we live in a big city so the cost of living and groceries are high here and eating out can be so cheap now. For example a baked potato and side salad at Wendy's is less than $3. Anyway, we only eat one meal together, dinner. So that would be where we would go out. I usually get groceries and home cook everything but it costs just about the same as out to eat, i think. Our meals cost somewhere between $5-10 each night for the two of us but we can get that out at the same price.

    Our groceries cost a lot. Maybe I'm not being as thrifty as we should since coupons took up so much of my time but my schedule is so busy I barely have time to sit. So it's about 0 for 2-3 weeks as of now, which is about a day. So I don't know... we're playing around with this idea. I definitely don't want to eat unhealthy/fast food every night, and its even more difficult since we don't eat meat or chicken and only fish or veg. dishes. But I think it's doable, i think.


    Any advice? comments? what do you all think? the back of my head says it's crazy but i dont know...

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Groceries vs. Out-to-Eat

    Unless you are getting a 'senior discount' when you all are eating out, you are not saving money by normal standards. And, if it is cheaper to eat out then you drastically need to reevaluate and change your grocery shopping.

    You say you are too busy to find time to cook, yet you have plenty of time to drive to a restaurant and sit for a much longer time for someone else to make and serve the food. And do that 3 times a day?

    Preparing meals at home is way cheaper than eating out and the more 'preparing' to do the cheaper it gets. Start out with the basic frozen/packaged meals and then start adding to them, like dinner rolls and/or a simple dessert like a cup of fruit. On the weekends try creating something new, from scratch. It will be a fun time, lots of mistakes perhaps, but eventually you will expand your skills.

    And yes use coupons and take advantage of store specials. Don't just fill the freezer with pizza and no space left for those specials. With coupons you can save 30%-50% of your grocery bill without hardly trying. More if you got serious about it.
    I used to eat a lot of natural foods until I learned that most people die of natural causes.

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Groceries vs. Out-to-Eat

    Hmm... i dont think you understand. I do cook home meals as of now and stock the fridge with deals. I only buy items on sale when we grocery shop too. I think it might be that we are in one of the most expensive cities in the country.

    And yes, going to a resteraunt for 30 minutes to an hour is much faster than making a home-made meal and then doing dishes after, especially when it wastes my energy so I can't study afterwards or clean.

    We would only eat out once a day, since we eat breakfast (boxed cereal or fresh fruit) and lunch at work. I usually use leftovers for lunch, so this would include my dinner the night before, regardless of where it came from.

    I love cooking, I cook many gourmet meals from scratch, even went to cooking school. So that isn't the problem. The problem is about the time spent making the meals and the money almost being the same and whether it's really worth the cleanup and energy if the money is about equal. But thanks for your reply. I do appreciate it.

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Groceries vs. Out-to-Eat

    Your health should be a major factor in your decision. Just because it's not fast foods doesn't make it good for you, even if it's fish.

    2 frozen, preseasoned salmon filets from Gortons = about $6; a bag of frozen broccoli about $1.50, a whole wheat baguette from the bakery = $2. A lot better for you than dinner out, and not too expensive. And you have to wash a whopping baking sheet, bowl, two plates and two forks. Want to wash less? Line the baking sheet with foil. Then just throw it away. Buy paper plates and plastic utensils.

    I am a proponent of eating at home. It's healthier and tastes better, imo.

    I don't know where in FL you live, but when I lived in Palm Beach, I found groceries reasonable and restaurants too expensive. Same in Miami.

    All this being said, you seem to be clearly leaning toward eating out every night, and if that's what you truly want, why not just do it?

    Frugality is a good thing, but if it makes you miserable, what's the point? Life is to enjoy and if you dread washing a few dishes at night, you are not, realistically, going to stick with your eating in plan.
    Michelle

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    Default Re: Groceries vs. Out-to-Eat

    thanks michelle for your comments. my bf is very leaning towards going out every night and i'm actually trying to think about this carefully. we did it once before and i really missed cooking so that's why we stopped. But now I guess he is realizing that my frugal meals are just as expensive as say... taco bell, which of course he'd prefer. haha And while we know it's not healthy, we decided we would stock up on fresh fruits and salad for the rest of the time at home. I don't know if that really "balances" things lol but it's an idea.

    i think grocery shopping is so much tougher than many lead it on to be. we shop every few weeks but eventually we run out of the good stuff and start going out or complaining. we usually eat everything before we shop again, but maybe we should do smaller loads? uh oh - now i feel confused! i've tried couponing, shopping for sales, sticking to a list, wholesale shopping, stockpiling, etc. but for some reason we still leave the store with a large bill, even though we use it all. What are we doing wrong?

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    Default Re: Groceries vs. Out-to-Eat

    I think you need to compare apples to apples, not take out to gourmet meals

    BAKED POT & SALAD $3 x 2
    Vs
    Potato at home and salad

    If you buy a bag of potatoes and basic head of lettuce etc the total cost would be a tad over $7 BUT you will have more potatoes left for another meal and probably way more salad left too ..

    The differance at home could be you also buy a bag of mixes salad fixings (baby spinach etc) to increase the nutritional value of the salad .. Basic lettuce salad is not terribly nutrious.

    I make my own 'house' dressing and we like it better than bought at this point .. I can control how much sugar, what kinds of oil, no chems etc in it vs store bought with who know what in it

    You can nuke the potato for part of the cooking time, then put in oven to crisp if you like skin crispy (just put on rack - no dishes)

    Cutting board, knife, plate, forks, measuring spoons - thats it for dishes pretty much ..

    LEFT OVER MEALS:
    Take some of the potatoes, cut up and put in crockpot with water & creamer (if vegan)/soy/rice milk .. add in some onion, herbs .. now do you want a fish chowder?, pot soup (with corn or brocchilli)? .. Personally we grab one can of clams or oysters, 1-2 cans of smoked oysters or clams (drain well) and make a clam/oyster chowder (sometimes with fish too)

    Parselyed Potatoes .. cut potatoes into bite size chunks, cook in water, drain - in same pot add butter, parsely, italian seasoning, (onions, garlic if you want) .. serve as a side
    --
    TACO BELL not sure what he is getting but assuming he is doing vegetarian also

    MEXICAN PIZZA:
    tortilla, can of refried beans, can of black beans, kidneys (rinse and mix together, left overs go in fridge), chopped onions (if you pre chop onions and put in jar in fridge you only dirty the cutting board once), cheese, olives, salsa (from jar), green pepper chopped

    spread refried beans over tortilla, add in veggies (from above), add salsa, cover with cheese (if you do dairy), add another tortilla if you want .. nuke or cook in oven to melt cheese

    The cost of this:
    tortilla (reg flour not speciality) >1.50 for 8-10 (*with left overs)
    2 cans of beans >2.00 (*with left overs)
    1 can refried beans >1.00 (*with left overs)
    olives, peppers, onions, etc >5.00 (*with left overs)
    pack of shredded cheese >4.00 (*with left overs)
    jar of salsa >4.00 (*with left overs)

    I tried using the highest prices I could find .. its still way under $18 and there is enough for at least 3 meals (mexican pizza) with still some left overs

    using the mixed black & kidney beans you could make a mexican rice dish, add the salsa, some of the last bits of veggies and salsa, maybe a can of tomatoes added in .. this makes meal #4 from the above .. with just the addition of some rice .. this should leave you lots of left overs for lunch etc (freeze and nuke if you want)

    ALT: bean salad is nothing more than the kidney & black beans, some onions, green beans and anyother bean you want to add, make a vinegar & sugar combo with spices let sit at least a day .. good cold .. I like it on top of salads .. the guys like it as a side

    Figure going plain vs fancy and its usually less dishes ..

    Wipe down the stove while stuff is cooking, spot clean anything that falls on the floor

    Start dishpan with super hot water (I actually use an old coffee pot) and presoak - by the time you get done eating the water is usually still hot and dishes are a breeze

    No reason both of you can't work in kitchen, one can make salad while the other does another part of the meal .. You can always use another person to open cans, drain etc .. Kitchen can be a great way to talk too .. Plus theres always the tush pats when you walk by each other ..

    Cook cooks, the other person does dishes??

    Ria

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Groceries vs. Out-to-Eat

    Thanks Ria, great ideas! After this post yesterday I did go home and make some pea soup and muffins which I have for lunch today also. I guess what throws us off is the shopping for the items. I feel like when I make a meal, it costs about $20 in groceries which I never realized how important the leftovers are to take into account since they double as another meal too.

    Do you all shop based on the meals your making or make the meals after your shopping/leftovers? I usually shop first then make meals out of what we bought, and maybe I should do it the other way around now?

    Ps I LOVE the onions idea in a jar, never thought of that and I have an onion at home now. Plus I hate chopping them since they make me tear up, so doing only one chop will help reduce that too.

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Groceries vs. Out-to-Eat

    I shop then make a menu. That way I can see what's on sale, what's on clearance and stock up based on that.
    Michelle

 

 
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