You want to order dinner or eat out after a long day’s work rather than cook for yourself.
We’d never suggest you shouldn’t enjoy a delicious meal or save yourself time on a busy day. Part of that enjoyment is having the confidence the meal fits squarely in your budget, so you can keep making progress on your financial goals.
Paying for convenience
Let’s take a look at some numbers.
Here’s a big one: Restaurants typically mark food costs up by 300 percent.1 At a restaurant, you’re paying for service and convenience.
Here’s another: On average, it is almost five times more expensive to order delivery from a restaurant than it is to cook at home. Meal kits aren’t much better. They’re three times more expensive than cooking. 2
Why? Well, a lot of that cost isn’t for the food itself. Delivery fees, for example, can be almost $4 per order. Service fees add an average of $5. Suddenly, you’re paying $9 for the convenience of sending food to your home.3
Oh, and don’t forget the tip.
The average food budget
If you spend a lot on dining and delivery, that’s ok. Rewarding yourself is a healthy part of managing your money.
It’s important to ask, though: Does what I’m paying for convenience help reach my goals?
Consider, for a moment, that the average household budget is around $63,000 a year. About $8,000 of that goes to food. Of that $8,000, the household spends $3,500—almost half—on dining out and delivery.4
Is there an opportunity to trim your expenses?
Home cooking on the rise
The last year has been tumultuous, but there was some good budgeting news: Half of us have been cooking at home more often, a habit that’s expected to (partially) stick.5
Besides being good news for the wallet, that home cooking habit tends to provide a healthier diet.6
Buying more groceries isn’t about denying yourself things you enjoy, but about being thoughtful in how you approach long term financial goals.
Knowledge is power
Every budget should have room for the things we enjoy, including meals. A big part of that enjoyment is knowing each meal is within your budget.
When you know the cost of eating out, you can make decisions that help you enjoy yourself, while also making progress on your financial goals.