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Home Cooking vs Restaurant Prices

“Stop going out to eat so much and start cooking more at home!” is one of the most common pieces of advice you’ll hear if you’re looking for ways to save money or stick to a budget. Whether you’re working on debt management or saving for a big purchase, you’ll want to reevaluate your spending habits. How much can you really save by cooking at home? Let’s compare the cost of home cooking vs restaurant prices:

Home cooking vs restaurant prices - what a difference! Those savings can be used for paying off debt.

Home cooking vs restaurant prices – what a difference! Those savings can be used for paying off debt.

Cost of Ingredients to Cook at Home

Any time I’m in the mood for Indian food, I have to cook it at home. Because I have a tree nut allergy, I can’t go out to eat if I want Indian food since many of my favorite Indian dishes use tree nuts to thicken the sauce. I don’t mind of course, since this means I’m saving money and staying on budget! Here’s a look at the cost of ingredients to make Indian butter chicken:

  • 5lb bag of rice: $9.99
  • Chicken breasts: $11.18
  • Onions: $1.90
  • Coconut milk: $2.29
  • Tomato paste: $1.00
  • Frozen peas: $1.99
  • Butter: $1.99
  • The total cost of ingredients: $30.34

I made this butter chicken while my family was visiting, so to get the cost per person, this should be divided by five. The cost of making this meal was roughly $6 per person.

I also want to note that I use almost all of the ingredients for other dishes. I can usually get two or three meals out of a pack of chicken breasts. Additionally, I already had the spices I needed. I always keep chili powder, garam masala, cumin, garlic, and salt on hand!

Cost of a Restaurant Meal

The closest Indian restaurant to me lists butter chicken on the menu for $16.95. Another restaurant nearby lists it for $12, which was the cheapest restaurant option I could find. Even the cheapest option is double what it costs per person when I cooked at home!

Cost of Home Cooking vs Restaurant Meal

By cooking at home, I only spent $30.34 to feed five people, and I can stretch those groceries for a few days for more budget-friendly dinners. For a family of five to go out to eat, the cost would be roughly $60 for the cheapest restaurant option before you even factor in drinks and the tip. Clearly, when you look at the cost of home cooking vs. restaurant prices, home cooking is going to save you a lot of money!

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Madison is a Marketing Communications & Programs Associate at ACCC. She is excited to share her tips on saving money and being financially responsible here on the Talking Cents blog!

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