Ideal verses Real Food Cost Dining Out

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There are some people who actually do not like to eat in restaurants because of the costs involved or because they are on a special diet or any number of reasons. When you start to cut your budget this is unusually one of the first areas that you can trim down a bit. If you like to dine out and want to save some money so that you can treat yourself every now and again, there are some things to consider. 

The good thing about dining out is when people eat in restaurants they are taken care of; you don’t have to prepare the dishes, the table or the food, you don’t have to shop to get the food, someone waits on you for a change, and once you are done you don’t have to clean up or do dishes or plan for the next meal. You can invite up to 15 of your closest friends and it does not make any more work or cleaning for you all you have to do is show up. The food is most likely the freshest available because restaurants usually deal in high volume purchasing, therefore you don’t have to try to keep all of the freshest foods for every dish when you really only make these dishes once in a lifetime. You can also try new food or new combinations of food that you didn’t think of. 

One of the bad things about dining out is that it really can become quite pricey if you aren’t careful. You can usually expect a soda to run 2 or even 3 dollars and any drinks with alcohol are more expensive than that. The other negative aspect is when you want a dish a certain way or meat free, etc. you may be able to get your meal the way you want it or maybe not. It also takes more time to dine out, you need to commute and then find parking, and there is usually a wait of 30 minutes or more if it is during a busy time. It can sometimes be overly noisy and crowded. 

It is a very difficult equation if you really want to compare apples to apples on pricing of cooking at home verses going out to eat because you would have to consider all of the costs and also all of the benefits.  Having every pan and bowl and storage container for your food; the clean up time and trouble; the prep time has to include the commute to the grocery store and shopping and whether that stresses you more than the noise in a busy restaurant. If you are eating the exact same recipe for the lobster dish or if you are comparing ramen noodles to chicken alfredo, it won’t be a fair match. Also the ever elusive doggy bag because the portions in restaurants are usually very large; most times these doggy bags become science experiments in ones refrigerator or freezer. I think we just need to be smart about our dining dollar and combine both within our budgets.


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