From the Home…Ease

Have you ever thought about how much you spend going out to eat?  Okay, stop right now and think about just this week.  Yep, for an overwhelming majority of workers, the answer merits the words “cold-blooded” in our best Rick James impression.  We give our bank accounts the good ol’ “people’s elbow” routinely with our eating habits.

Most people spend around $5 to $8 a day for lunch, (sometimes $10, we see you substitutions), which equates to about $25 to $40 a week.  That’s $1300 to $2080 annually — and that’s just for lunches!  So, in the spirit of Jimmy McMillan and his “Rent Is Too Damn High Party“, we at Urban Professor are unofficially launching the “Lunch Is Too Damn Much Party

So, just much how do we collectively spend on eating out?  The National Restaurant Association reveals restaurant industry sales on a typical day, one day, add up to $1.6 billion.  That’s a lot of fish sandwiches.

According to their study, 40 percent of people polled feel they get more done in their everyday lives when they eat at restaurants or use takeout and delivery services.

Who knew defrosting meat was that time consuming?

Productivity is great, but there’s a misconception that cooking takes too much time. Moreover, given that the times call for belt tightening, we want you to consider putting down your wallet and picking up your spatula.

Granted, some meals are to die for (c’mon Red Lobster biscuits are notorious for starting fights), but in other cases, not so much.  Yes, that includes the spicy chicken sandwich that needed hot sauce, BBQ sauce, and mustard to be edible. You could’ve done all of that at the house.

There are so many benefits to eating at home. The first is the obvious: You save lots of money.  Again, we typically spend $1300 to $2080 annually; think about that while you continue to window shop for your Christian Louboutin’s or you can’t afford next semester’s books.  We’re just sayin’.

Restaurants are businesses and thus, mark up their food to ensure they make a profit. Don’t let the dollar menu fool you.

If you can make a similar meal at a fraction of the cost, why not try it? If you need help with the seasoning, call your people or better yet, watch the folks on The Food Network or Top Chef on Bravo.  You should treat cable like discount culinary school, worst case go to the good ol’ faithful seasoning, Lawry’s Seasoning Salt, name one thing that doesn’t taste good with Lawry’s?

Cooking at home creates flexibility, affording you more time to try new things. You also know what’s in your meals.  Food allergies are real – as are expensive ambulance rides to ER after one false chew.  The gas you spend to get that restaurant food adds up, too.

There are also health benefits to eating at home, such as portion control and healthier cooking alternatives.  Want to save even more?  Try bringing your lunch to work.

Lunch doesn’t have to be dull and boring if you carve out time to plan ahead.  Leftover meats and vegetables can be flipped into sandwiches and soups, or remixed into entirely different meals with other items in your fridge.  The more creative you get, the more money you can save.

Another good way to keep more dollars is eating in before joining friends for drinks.  Now, you don’t have to necessarily show up with your stomach sitting on “swole”, but hey, if you don’t have it (cash) or would rather keep it (cash) in your pocket, make sure you come with enough in your belly to make you more inclined to stick to the basics, or maybe just drinks.

If your friends call you cheap, tell them they can pay your bills. They’ll shut up.

Try out these tips and see how much you save. If you’re really about being a boss budgeter, you’ll soon be putting down the take out menus and clipping up coupons for the grocery store.  U DEFINE SUCCESS