Eating In > Eating Out

Ever since I moved to my new apartment, I’ve cooked almost every night. Well, not every night–but when we’re not cooking, we’re eating leftovers. When we’re not eating leftovers, we’re at my (soon to be) in-law’s home or out of town.

Last night (Valentine’s Day) was the first time in almost two months that we actually went out to eat. We went to an average local restaurant (aka: no V-day hoopla), and spent a total of $30. Not bad for two people who also ordered margaritas and tipped 20%.

As we were leaving I found myself thinking of all the meals I could make with $30 and I realized how much we save by eating in. I feel like I spend a lot on groceries now, but it’s for two and my dining budget has pretty much disappeared except for the occasional quick pick-up place. It will be interesting to see what our joint budget will be after we get married, but for now, it’s saving us a lot of money.

And the good part is, I really enjoy cooking! It’s been so nice to experiment on different recipes and create new meals together. (I will share some of these recipes soon!) I love going out to eat and finding cute, adorable restaurants, but it’s so nice to eat at home so much that it feels special when we do go to a sit-down restaurant.

What about you? Is eating in greater than eating out? How often do you dine at restaurants? Is it a treat when you go out to eat?

(photo credit)

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  • My husband and I love to eat out, but our approach for several months now has been to do so much less often (no more than 4 times per month, spending no more than $200 total), and to eat at better restaurants, as opposed to eating at casual dining establishments that serves food we could easily recreate at home for far less money.

    The upside is that dining out DOES feel like a great, because it involves going to a great restaurant and having a special meal – usually something that we CAN’T recreate at home – at least not on the cheap. The downside is that it also feels really wasteful at times, because we’ll often drop $75 on one of these fantastic meals, which is significantly more than I typically spend on groceries in any given week.

    So sometimes I leave a restaurant after a really great meal, feeling guilty about having spent so much, even though we specifically planned for it.

  • I woefully don’t cook as often as I should, but my “excuse” is that I find that it’s more difficult to cook just for one. I have a hard time justifying all of the effort and dirty dishes if I’m the only one reaping the benefits.

  • It’s definitely a treat. But we like to go out to neat little ethnic places which are a) cheap b) soooo tasty and c) food I can’t easily make at home.

  • Do you mind if I ask how much you spend on groceries a month? I cook all my own lunches and most of our meals and yet we still seem to spend 600 on groceries per month it feels stupid to be spending that much on food for two people. The rest of our budget is really cut down except this. How do you budget for food?

  • I cant remember the last time we ate out, it was so long ago.
    But we are taking off on holiday soon and will eat out fairly often with old friends and on our own, I would rather do this than eat out near home when I could make as nice a meal for a fraction of the price.

  • I do the same thing…adding up in my head how many groceries I could buy..and I also usually say,”I could make this meal better at home!”

  • I like eating out, but it does get old- and pricey!!!

    I miss it though lately as I don’t go out with friends for drinks or dinners at all anymore, so I think a dinner out is overdue.

    However as there are no calories on the menus I am not always keen to dine out! Though that’s been discussed in the news here this week, should it become a law that restaurants have to have calorie contents of meals available for diners to see.

    Eating in the end is best though, financially and socially I think.

  • The only times that we ever eat out now is when we’re catching up with friends or when it’s a special occasion. And even then, we try to go to places where we know we won’t be able to recreate the food there. We’ve overspent on our grocery almost every month now but as a total of our grocery/dining out costs, we’re still under so we’re really happy.