Save Time and Money With Home Cooked Meals

Convenience food and take out food does not save time.

Do this test:

Time yourself. Use a timer or regular clock and write down exactly how much time it took to go to and return from the fast food restaurant, deli or pizza place. Then time yourself in the kitchen, how long it takes to serve a similar but home-cooked meal. You will be amazed to see how much longer it takes to go get the convenience food.


If you still have doubts think of:

  • How long it takes to serve and cleanup the fast food meal - dishes, disposing the extra packaging, etc?

  • How many hours did you have to work to pay for it? If you get $14 an hour and you spend $14 on a fast food trip, don't you think you could have used that whole hour cooking food at home vs. having to go to work to earn the money to "save" the effort? Subtract the gas. Divide out your paycheck to see how many hours it takes to earn the fast food money as compared to the home cooked expense.

By Twilightgift from Forks, WA

November 10, 20090 found this helpful

An even better test is cook for two weeks with no fast foods. You will be amazed at how much extra money you have.

Add to that selective shopping (buy cleaning supplies and canned goods at the Dollar Store) and watching sale items, and you will be even further ahead.

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November 11, 20090 found this helpful

I have often talked to my family and friends about this. It really does take more time to buy take-out than the cook something at home. The key is to have a well stocked pantry to get dinner on the table fast.

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January 30, 20110 found this helpful

Plan, plan, plan! I am just writing this week's menus and fast food and takeaways are not on them at all. A really great post as the most straightforward advice is always the best.

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January 30, 20110 found this helpful

I love to cook and bake and my husband likes to stay at home with his homecooked meals as much as I do. It works out great for us. When they were young, our children all were involved in our homecooking. Many of their friends practically lived at our house for that reason too. Everyone got in on the act.

We now have friends though who don't like to cook or eat at home at all. They eat out every meal with few exceptions. If they don't eat at some restaurant, they're eating with friends who like to eat at home.

Both have great jobs, and when I offered to teach my friend how to cook. She looked like she'd been shot. "I work so that I don't have to stay home and cook. I don't want to cook, and I don't want to learn to cook either."

She was raised by parents who were professionals, both worked outside the home, and food was brought home to feed the children, or they all went out to eat together. That's just the way my friend was raised and I have an idea many more people were the same way. It started to be that way more than 20 years ago, so those children have grown up and are living the only life they understand.

It might seem pretty awful to those of us who do like homecooking, but to them, it's perfectly natural.

I was teaching a cooking class at an Art Center and the first night of the classes, I asked the class how many of them already knew how to cook and eat at home. I was surprised at how few did not. There were an equal number of those who'd been raised by parents who ate out every meal, and they wanted to live differently now that they were grown and could have their own homes etc. We ended up making a few converts of those few who were pretty much drug to class by husbands who wanted to cook and eat at home, but the wife didn't know anything about cooking.

Cooking really isn't that difficult, but to do it right, it can be time consuming. Learning how to prep for cooking takes a lot of time away from actual cooking time. It's just like being prepared to do any other thing. Learning how to prep makes final cooking chores fun. We can learn to be our own prep chefs, and then when it's meal time, it can be done so much easier and faster. Planning is the key to success and you can enjoy the benefits of it every single day.

There is a growing trend for husbands and wives to cook together, and there's nothing more romantic than preparing food and eating it togeher. Hey, we all have to eat, so why not make it a bit of fun while we're at it?

My husband and I are in our mid 70's now, and he's decided that he wants to learn to make bread, so I'm teaching him. It's really working out great because I like to make at least 3 or 4 loaves at the time, and kneading that much dough makes my arthritic shoulders hurt. He's also teaching me to make homemade noodles and cut dumplings the way his grandmother did when he was a boy staying on a farm in MI with them over the summer. She dried hem hanging over the broom handle, so he even made us a nice stick to go across the backs of 2 chairs for drying the hand cut noodles. We've learned together to make flour tortillas too, and that's fun.

Excellent Comparison TwighlightGift. (interesting name) :-)


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January 30, 20110 found this helpful

Sometimes it's nice to just go out to eat for a change. So what if it takes 5 minutes longer to go out than to cook at home? And so what if it costs a little more to eat out? Once in a while it's a treat for me NOT to have to cook and clean up!

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January 30, 20110 found this helpful

I agree with Cricketnc. I cook enough. It is nice to go out once in a while. Especially when I meet with friends at a place. I get waited on and served and no cleanup and no spending time in the kitchen for an hour cooking. Saving a buck is not always good for your well being.

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January 30, 20110 found this helpful

There's a big difference in my food bill if I buy convenience foods at the supermarket rather than basics for a meal. And ordering pizza costs about what I could spend on three dinners for the pair of us! The savings with home cooking are really noticeable. Most of what I cook at home takes half an hour from prep to plate so time really isn't an issue.

I remember the days when I could afford to eat out much of the week, but with our budget now those days are probably gone for good. In fairness too I think the tip-giver was talking about eating out regularly, not the occasional night out.

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January 30, 20110 found this helpful

I think it depends on where you live. I can go get a pizza faster than I can make one. Also I use fast food coupons buy one get one free. I am not saying eat out all the time but if you use your resources it does not cost as much to eat out. I also think the cook deserves a break. The restaurants around here are now advertising meal deals 2 for the price of one. 2 for $20.00 and these are nice restaurants with good food. This includes appetizer, meal and dessert. You have to watch for specials. We are not big on left overs so some times it pays us to go out instead of cooking and having a lot of food left over.

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January 30, 20110 found this helpful

I'm sure that it's healthier to eat the cook at home meal, but I could be doing something relaxing with the time it takes to cook and clean up. I like being pampered, being served by someone else! I work hard on the farm and by dinner time, I am tired and don't want to think about cooking and cleaning.

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January 31, 20110 found this helpful

I don't think there's a wrong answer for "To eat out or not to eat out." It's true that eating out can become an expense, and that it's possible to eat in an unhealthy way, but my husband and I enjoy eating most of our main meal each day at a restaurant or carry-out food.

I do know how to cook, and I dutifully cooked every day when our kids were growing up and for years afterward. But after my husband and I retired I made the choice to free myself from doing something I never really enjoyed anyway, grocery shopping, cooking, and cleaning up after meals. Yes, eating out can be more expensive than cooking at home, but we live a very moderate life otherwise , no expensive vacations, shopping, etc. So having someone else do the shopping, cooking, and cleaning up is my one "luxury".

And since my husband made it clear early on that he has no interest in cooking anything more complicated than a bowl of Cheerios, cooking together as a hobby is nothing either of us would consider fun! My mother, who lived to 93, was a wonderful cook and baker up to the end of her life. I can honestly say that she probably ate restaurant food no more than 2 dozen times in her entire life. Cooking was dear to her heart. I guess I just didn't inherit that gene!

Interestingly, with our two grown kids (neither of whom has kids of their own), one eats restaurant food almost every day, and the other almost always cooks from scratch at home. It's just different strokes for different folks. If cooking isn't a chore for you, or if you think it's fun, more power to you! I still cook all the holiday dinners, but other than that, for me 40 years of cooking was plenty!

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November 10, 2009 Flag
0 found this helpful

Don't waste money on prepared foods. Instead, prepare meals ahead of time and freeze them, or double a recipe when cooking, and freeze the second for a hectic day coming up.

By Chell


Home Prepared Meals

Excellent advice. I've just gotten interested in Once A Month Cooking. I'm starting out slow by tripling my dinner recipes, and freezing two. Today I'm making cookies dough for 10 dozen chocolate chip cookies. Forming the dough into balls, and freezing them allows me to bake fresh cookies in the amount I want anytime. To find out more just do a Google search with OAMC in the search box. (03/05/2005)

By Tressa

Home Prepared Meals

Another good idea is to prepare you meat before you freeze it on grocery day. I divide up my meat as usual for freezing but I get it ready. Like I take one pound of hamburger and add all the things to make it ready for meatloaf or spaghetti, then put it in baggies for freezing. Or I put my pork or chicken in a marinade and then into freezer containers. Takes out a step when you want to use them. Plus the marinade has a lot of time to infuse your meat. (05/19/2006)

By micksgirl

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