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The True Cost of Eating Out

eating out grocery health Jul 20, 2018

Food is one of your Big 3 Expenses (Housing, Transportation, and Food) and you should always do your best to keep the Big 3 under control.  Eating at home would save most of us a lot of money, yet we choose to eat out.  As Americans, we eat out way too often.  Our schedules are packed and we’re just so busy that we rarely make the time (yes, you have to schedule it in) to make ourselves a meal.  To make matters worse, takeout can be incredibly cheap compared to a meal at home but we have to think about a few things before we decide to go through the drive-thru.


First, we should ask ourselves if what we are eating is even healthy.  Yeah, McDonald’s has a $1 menu but is the food even good for us?  I mean, there are pictures on the internet of hamburgers from the major chains that look the same after sitting out for an entire year.  That’s just not right.  While it’s true I probably can’t make a pizza for $5, I certainly can make one at home that is a lot healthier.  Sadly, eating unhealthy takeout has become much less expensive than cooking at home, and for good reason.  They use cheap ingredients.  Cheap fast food ingredients are extremely unhealthy.  They use chemicals and the least expensive ingredients for nearly everything to keep the prices low.  The low cost and convenience keep people coming in.  The true cost is our health. 


We all “know” how we should be eating but we rarely do.  Why not?  Are we lazy?  Are we stupid?  I don’t think so.  I think it’s because we tell ourselves that it’s temporary.  In our minds we picture ourselves cooking healthy and awesome meals for our family like in a Norman Rockwell picture…someday.  We hope that someday, in the near future, we’ll have the time to do it so we ignore the damage we are doing to our bodies right now.  Rarely is takeout food a healthy choice and if it is, it’s expensive.


Remember, too, that just because our kids are thin does not mean they are healthy.  Eating out constantly is taking a toll on our children’s health, maybe even more than our own.  American kids are sicker and overweight, even at young ages.  That should be a huge warning signal to parents.  It is our jobs as parents (and as adults, if you have no children) to make good choices in regards to our health and eating.  It is imperative that we start today because this is the first generation that has a shorter life expectancy span than their parents.  That’s right.  Your children are not expected to live as long as you will and eating out is most of the reason why.


When we decide to eat healthier, we are basically making a commitment to our health now, rather than paying for medical expenses later.  If we drink a bunch of soda and eat nothing but takeout, we will likely end up with all kinds of challenges with our health later in life.  Doctors’ visits and medication to treat those ailments will be expensive.  I would rather spend a little more now on Non-GMO, organic, and non-processed foods than put my health at risk in the future.  I would also gladly spend a half hour or more a day preparing meals in order to ensure my children would live longer.


According to the U.S Department of Agriculture, a family of four can slash $240 from its monthly food budget by switching from expensive takeout meals to lower-cost options like eating at home.  However, if you are a $1 Menu or $5 Pizza junkie, eating at home is going to raise your expenses a bit now but save you health care costs in the long run. 


The good news is you don’t have to do it all at once.  Start with one family meal at home a week, then build it up to two, then three, and so on.  My family still eats out on Taco Tuesday because Café Rio has $1 tacos that are handmade and fantastic.  Our take-out night costs us $2 or $3 a person and that’s within our budget.  Find out more ways to cut down on your food expenses in our blog, “How to Save Money on Food & Groceries.”  And if you're looking for Money-Saving Tips on Grocery Shopping, look here.


Remember, be committed to your health and your children’s health now.  You’ll be happier, healthier, and live longer.  Blessings in abundance!





Michelle R Russell

© The Prosperity Process, LLC  

for BNB-Boss


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