Who Cooks At Home Anymore?
Unfortunately nowadays people are more likely to eat out for most meals due to the convenience. Previous generations would go to restaurants very rarely, usually reserved for special occasions.
The advent of the fast food industry continued to add to the convenience factor of going out to eat. You can simply show up at a drive thru and within a few minutes your order will be in front of you.
It’s very tempting to constantly order food so that we don’t have to buy the ingredients, look for a recipe, prepare the food, wait for it to cook, and then clean up afterwards.
There are still many households (including ours!) that enjoy cooking due to all of the benefits over ordering prepared food. Here are some of the reasons that you should cook your own food.
It’s very hard to control the calories, fat, salt, etc of prepared foods. They are usually designed to be extremely tasty and usually not very good for you. Who says that cooking your own food can’t be delicious as well?
When you cook your own food you know exactly what is getting added. If you are counting calories you can utilize a food scale as well as measuring cups to be exact.
You also have control over the type of ingredients you use when you cook. You can spend a few dollars more for organic ingredients. This can be important because you are limiting your exposure to pesticides and other chemicals that are added to regular food. You have no idea what type of ingredients are used when you eat fast food.
You may think that eating out is more convenient than cooking for yourself. We have found that this is not necessarily true. Think about how much time you spend standing in line at the boutique coffee shop, sitting at the drive thru, waiting for your waitress at a restaurant.
If you really want to see a time savings it is worth it to prepare your own food. You can cook a quick 15 minute dinner for your family and still have leftovers for the next day or two at lunch. You can make a sandwich in under 5 minutes instead of driving to the sub shop.
What about the hassle of going to the grocery store? Assume that a grocery store trip takes 1 hour once per week. If there are 3 meals a day, that is 21 meals per week. For a family of four that is 84 meals per week. This comes out to 43 seconds a meal. I doubt you can find a way that ordering food will only take 43 seconds per meal.
Time management is an important aspect of cooking at home. Rather than waiting around for other people to take your order and prepare your food, you can be doing something fun or productive. There are never enough hours in a day so use them wisely.
The financial aspects of cooking at home are obvious. You are able to take advantage of the low cost of food when you shop at the grocery store or a discount warehouse club and you don’t pay any taxes.
One simple example is you can get a pack of 4 premium cut Angus steaks at Costco for around $25. If you go to a local restaurant, an inferior cut of 1 steak may cost you $30 plus 20% tip = $36. For a family of 4 this comes out to a bill of $144 (not including taxes)! That is assuming you are not getting any appetizers, drinks, sides, or dessert.
Over the long term, this really starts to add up. It would be much more beneficial to invest $119 in the stock market for 40 years than to waste this much money. Assuming a 7% rate of return that $119 would equal $1,941 after 40 years.
What if you eat out once a week under this scenario? You would be wasting $6,188 per year on these expensive steak dinners. If you had invested one year’s worth of dinners at $6,188 in the stock market it would be worth about $100,935 after 40 years!!!
While many people do not cook at home anymore, there are still several reasons why it makes sense.
The health benefits of cooking at home are easy to see because you control exactly what you’re eating. With some tips and tricks it can be yummy without all the extra calories and additives.
It may be seem that cooking at home will take more time than eating out but that is not the case. You can always cook for future meals which will reduce the per meal cooking time.
Finally, the financial impact of cooking at home may not be as obvious but it can lead to considerable savings in the long run. In the example above a family of four would have accumulated over $100k in 40 years by skipping one restaurant meal a week. Think about how much you can accumulate if you cook all of your meals!