OK, so you’re doing something wrong if food is your largest expense. It does usually come in at a respectable second. Well at least in our household.
And for a good reason- we all need food to survive. As the saying goes, you only get out what you put in. So you should spend money on good food. And good food is delicious.
So how can you minimize this expense?
I’m not going to bang on about how you can save money on not getting those daily coffees. But you should definitely do that. Nor, is this going to be a rant about different frugal food tips. Food is about the only thing I don’t mind spending more on.
For the last 5 years, we have averaged $350 per month on food. That is a total of $21,000! Even worse, in recent months, we have hit an average of $600 per month.
This is going to be a rant about a thought I had the other night. See, when my partner goes away for work or a social trip with the girls, I get lazy. I am normally the cook around the house. But when she’s gone. I tend to get take-aways. I don’t know why. And I shouldn’t.
We commonly hear that takeaways and fast food are not only bad for you. But they are also expensive. At least they are in New Zealand. I’ve always taken this at face value. The expensive thing. I know they aren’t the healthiest things to eat.
So how expensive is fast food?
Once my partner returned, I decided to do an audit on how much one home-cooked meal would cost. And then compare that to how much the takeaway pizza cost me the other night.
The dinner I was going to make is Pesto Pasta with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Capsicums. Pretty fancy, I know.
So for the home-cooked meal to win. It has to beat about $8.25 per serve. The pizza was more than this, at $11.50. No $5 pizza hut pizzas for me! The $8.25 is based on an Indian takeaway curry price, which cost $16.50 total. But we share it. We aren’t total fatties.
The usual ingredients go into making Pesto Pasta. There’s Pesto and Pasta…..
The prices for all the ingredient are tabled below.
Chicken Pesto Pasta
|Ingredient||Total Price||Price per Receipt|
|Pesto||$8.00 a jar||$4.00|
|Pasta||$0.95 a bag||$0.47|
|Red Onion||$6.99 per kg||$0.76|
|Garlic||$21.00 per kg||$0.13|
|Chicken Breast||$11.99 per kg||$2.06|
|Sun Dried Tomatoes||$5.99 a jar||$1.66|
|Parmesan Cheese||$6.50 a block||$0.80|
|Frozen Corn||$2.80 a bag||$0.56|
So the total price to cook this meal is $10.44.
And guess what- I get at least five servings out of this. Giving us some lunches to take to work!
So in total cooking, this expensive home-cooked meal comes to $2.09 per serving. Compare that to the takeout at $8.25!
Take out is nearly 4 times more expensive.
That is not a cheap home-cooked meal by the way. You can definitively get the price per serve lower than this for different meals. I made a carrot soup the other day with only carrots, coconut cream sweet chilli source and some herbs. Add a bit of toasted bread, and I think you will find that a meal will cost less than $1 per serve. We made so much there is even extra in the freezer for when I feel lazy and don’t want to cook.
So if you want to minimize your monthly expenses- I would suggest that you cook your own meals. Getting the price of a single serving down to 1-2 dollars, compared to nearly $10 for taking out will help you immensely since you have to eat every day! Even if you get it down to $3 per serve, you will save $2,555 per year!
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