Eating in with groceries vs dining out – Challenge your thoughts!

by Mike on March 4, 2013

Eating in

How often do you think about saving money on food?

Last year we talked about shopping smart with coupons, warehouse and farmers markets along with changing some of your bad habits with food. With all the terrible weather here in Australia at the moment my lady and I have had plenty of time on the couch watching movies and eating in. Or hitting coffee shops and dining out for some wet weather food amusement. The one thing that popped into my mind on the weekend just gone was a comparison of spending habits and how we simply think about things.

It started with a discussion over bagels and coffee about thought processes I have about buying beer on Saturday. My lady pointed out I wont hesitate to spend $70+ on a few drinks and some tapas at a bar or pub (which when dining out is probably only 6 drinks). But I baulk at spending $38 on a full carton of beer for home (that’s 24 beers for half the cost compared to 6-8 drinks when dining out).

I will spend $18 on a couple of drinks at our local cafe but grumble about $14 for a full six pack for a visit to a friends place. See those maths and how I perceive it and make decisions.?

Compare the bottom line

Do the math! Seriously! I took time out to do the math on the weekend when we were looking for some brunch on Sunday. We found an awesome cafe from reading the paper and went to pay them a visit. It wasn’t quite lunch yet but they were kind enough to let us see both menus. With a couple of coffees, a hot plate of food for Kym, some french toast and croissant for me we where looking at $40 minimum without allowing for an extra coffee. It was bucketing down and our view was pretty much of a rainy building opposite the cafe. So no bargains, no view and there wasn’t even a paper to be had.

We shot back to our local deli with takeaway coffees and bought some ciabata rolls, smoked salmon & capers, some swiss cheese, honey ham, tomatos and peperoni. We had some pickles back at the apartment. So for not quite¬†Dining Out half the cafe price( and rather small portions) we had smoked salmon with cream cheese and capers toasted, and what I like to refer to as a “French Farmers Breakfast” or Cheese, Ham, Tomato, peperoni and pickle toasted ciabata rolls.

Here is the Math;

Eating in – $8 for 2 takeaway coffee + $21 for the groceries


Dining out $48 for 2 coffees and 2.5 plates of food from the cafe.

Sure I am no chef or cook but I got to enjoy what I would consider a better brunch at home with my lady and not be out in the rain paying a premium on whats debatable may have been better food. I even get some work done on my laptop while my awesome lady took care of prep for our great at home brekky.

Whats your take home concept from this?

Challenge your spending habits by not automatically pulling out the wallet when your out. Whats the math of this transaction?

  • Do you need to buy this food when dining out or can you do better at home?
  • Does a great local shop, deli or even your grocery store offer a better option for eating in?
  • Are you paying a premium for the experience and can you do better somewhere else or at home

Do you make unbalanced spending decisions based on bad maths when your dining out compared to eating in? Whats your thoughts?


Note: Apologies on all the numbers I am trying to drive home a point here about saving money on food and the numbers stand out!



***Photo thanks to Sylvar &  ParkerSav***

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