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How to Save Money by Cooking at Home

A man with his son making vegetable salad.

Most of us enjoy dining out, at least once in a while. And takeout makes our lives infinitely easier. But for many, eating out isn’t a special treat; it’s a regular habit. The average American eats food from a restaurant nearly six times per week. Restaurant meals aren’t just less healthful in general; they’re also much more expensive than home-cooked meals.

So, how much can you save by cooking at home, especially with help from affordable meal prep? We’ll answer this question and share time- and money-saving tips.

Average Cost of Dinner at a Restaurant

Business Insider analyzed the average meal cost at restaurants around the country. In New York, a restaurant meal will set you back $12. In Kansas, that price is just under two dollars less. That may not sound like a lot, but it means the average New Yorker spends about $3,470 a year on restaurant fare and Kansas residents shell out approximately $2,167 annually.

Having food delivered doesn’t cost much less than a full-service meal, depending on whether you add alcohol to the mix. According to Money Crashers, delivery fees, tips and the food itself can drive costs up to five times more than a meal cooked from scratch.

How Cooking Meals at Home Can Help

You don’t have to cook everything from scratch to save money. While affordable meal prep plans offer the ultimate in thriftiness and efficiency, a few shortcuts can make home cooking so much easier and less painful for the kitchen-phobic. Try these tips:

  • Make double batches to put in the freezer
  • Use your crockpot or InstantPot for weeknight dinners
  • Plan a leftover night or eat the remainder of dinner for lunch the next day
  • Read recipes in advance to ensure that you have the time and right ingredients
  • Keep canned tomatoes, beans, broths, cream soups, and other kitchen staples on hand

Once you discover how simple cooking can be, you might even find that you like it. And if you don’t fall in love with the culinary arts, searching for simple, limited-ingredient recipes can lessen the pain. Stick with one-pot, sheet-pan, or skillet meals if you hate washing cookware.

Affordable Meal Prep

So, how much money do you save cooking at home? One avid meal-prepper puts his average meal cost at $3.57. Of course, you do have to factor in your time, especially if you’re self-employed. But not only will you save money; you can control portion size and ingredients, which adds up in terms of healthcare savings over time.

If you’re interested in learning more about meal prepping, do a little research and start small. Start by making enough for two or three meals at a time. You may appreciate the time and money savings enough to become a prepping aficionado!

Smarter Grocery Shopping

One benefit of affordable meal prep plans is that they simplify budgeting for groceries. If you know exactly what you’re eating the following week, you can buy only what you need. Even if you don’t plan to meal-prep, try these cost-cutting tips:

  • Always make a list
  • Reduce impulse-buying temptation by shopping online
  • Clip physical or digital coupons for items on your list

Sticking to a food budget will help you stay on track. Use a budgeting app to monitor expenses and remain motivated.

Become a Savvy Shopper with Landmark National Bank

The mobile banking app from Landmark National bank makes easy work of staying on budget. Easily monitor restaurant or grocery expenses to determine your own average meal cost.

Once you discover the average cost of dinner at a restaurant in your town vs cooking at home, it will be easier to make the right choices. You’ll also appreciate having access to in-app bill payments, bank account alerts, and other convenient app features. Find your nearest Landmark National Bank branch location today!

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