Using money wisely and building wealth

How much does eating out really cost?

The other night my husband and I were contemplating on whether to go out to our favorite Mexican restaurant or staying home for dinner. It was a Friday night and he was craving Mexican food. At first I thought “YEAH! I don’t have to cook dinner” then I thought ‘is that in our budget this month?” I then checked the pantry and I had the makings of a Mexican dinner already so we decided to cook together and stay in. As we were finishing up I got curious on what the simple decision of staying home had actually saved us so I did the math as follows…

dinner at home
Eating Out would have cost us $46.50
Driving into town (20 miles round trip X .40 per mile) $ 8.00
Mexican Restaurant Bill (family of 4 including 15% tip) $38.50
Eating at HOME cost us $12.00
Walking to the kitchen $ 0.00
Grocery items purchased on sale last week to feed all 4 of us $12.00

This is a savings of $34.50! Now if this money was invested in a good growth mutual fund averaging a 12% annual rate of return it would be worth $332.80 in 20 years!

If you did this only once per YEAR for the next 20 years the savings would be $2,818.61
If you did this only once per MONTH for the next 20 years the savings would be $30,162.51

Now, I’m not saying that you should never eat out; some of my favorite and relaxing times with my family have been at a restaurant, I’m just asking that you evaluate why and how often you do go out instead of eating at home. This is a huge savings and it would be even more if you carry a credit card balance or any other debt. So the next time you are driving away from a restaurant, do the math and ask “was it worth it?”.

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