Why You Shouldn’t Bother Cooking Your Own Food To Save Money

Why You Shouldn't Bother Cooking Your Own Food To Save Money

Thinking about cooking your own food to save money? I'm here to say that always cooking your own food is a suboptimal use of your time. Instead, use the time you would have spent cooking to make more money instead.

One of the most common pushbacks from my series of income posts ($200,000, $300,000, $500,000, $1,000,000) is that the food budget is too high.

Some readers get apoplectic if a household of three is spending $1,500+ a month or a household of four is spending $2,000+ a month. Yet, look at what the rich and powerful do. California Governor Gavin Newsom was spotted in the middle of the pandemic eating at The French Laundry, which costs about $500 per person.

If you want to get rich, you might as well follow what the rich do. And the rich don't cook their own food. They get other people who make less money than them cook for them.

People Who Are For Cooking Your Own Food

Here are some comments from my household budget posts that show how angry people are about my food expenditure assumptions.

“Who pays $2,100 month for food! That's so ridiculous. Maybe they're buying all the avocado toast”

“HOW much are they spending on food in a month?! Oh, just as much as some family’s entire income. Cool.”

“$70 a DAY for food for 4 people????? They’re spending $500 a week on food???? I spend $60 a week for 1 person!!!”

“I’m literally upset if I spend more than 10 bucks a day on food. Spending around 30 is legit luxury.”

“And 70$ a day on food? What kind of spread are they spending on? These kids need to learn what a grilled cheese sandwich tastes like. I’m all for good food, but have these people heard of coupons or Aldi?”

The greatest irony is that over 70% of Americans are considered overweight today. Meanwhile, ~40% of Americans are considered obese. Yet today, 82 percent of the meals Americans eat are prepared at home, according to research from NPD Group Inc.

Share of adults around the world who are overweight - Why You Shouldn't Bother Cooking Your Own Food To Save Money

Cooking Your Own Food Is Unhealthy

Like hello, if 70%+ of Americans are overweight and will likely die earlier than they should as a result, perhaps these food budget complaints have no merit. Perhaps cooking your own food is not only a suboptimal use of time, it is also unhealthy!

Add on the fact that the typical American has less than $100,000 saved for retirement, and maybe we definitely shouldn't care what other people think when it comes to how much we spend on food.

These articles, which are sometimes syndicated, have been read by millions. Therefore, the feedback is a true reflection of the American public majority who aren’t very healthy.

In this article, I'm going to argue why cooking your own food more than 50% of the time to save money is a suboptimal financial decision. I’m sure I’ll get a lot of complaints, but hear me out. Remember it’s always good to see the other side.

Why Cooking Your Own Food Hurts Your Finances

1) Your time is valuable.

It doesn't make much sense to come home from a long day's work and spend an hour cooking a rubber chicken dinner. You should be using this time to unwind, play with your kids, work on your side hustle, start a blog, or make more money at your job.

Calculate how much you make an hour. Now multiply that hourly rate by how long it takes you to cook a meal. This is the true cost of your meal.

2) Your marriage is valuable.

Unless you make cooking together a fun activity, spending time cooking while your partner is doing something else, like sitting on the sofa watching TV, may be harmful to your relationship. In fact, the person slaving over the stove might start resenting the partner who is doing something else.

Roughly 50% of married couples divorce. Do not underestimate the level of resentment the person doing most of the household activities may have for the one who isn't. Resentment is one of the key reasons for divorce!

3) Your toddlers grow up quickly.

Let's say you come back from work at 6 pm after leaving the house at 7 am. Your young children leave for school at 7:45 am (partner drives) and go to bed by 8:30 pm. After not seeing your little ones all day, do you really want to then spend more time away from them by cooking once you get home? Of course not.

A loving parent would muster up his or her remaining energy to spend time with their children. Besides you're not going to willingly invite toddlers into the kitchen while cooking over a hot stove due to the risk of injury.

The average amount of time spent with our kids is very low. We're talking 120 minutes on average for college-educated mothers and just 80 minutes a day for college-educated fathers. Supposedly 80%+ of the time parents spend with their children is complete by the time they are 18.

As older parents who are financially independent, the positive is we can actually spend more time with them than if we were younger and working. We plan to make up tons of lost time for having kids 3-5 years later than planned.

Horse around with my boy for an hour or cook?

4) You aren't a professional cook.

The reason why you go to a doctor when something is wrong is that the doctor has had years of specialized training. You may be able to self-diagnose by Googling, but it's probably better to see someone who treats big boils all day long.

Not only are you losing an hour of your time preparing a meal, but your meal won't taste as good as one prepared by someone who professionally cooks meals for a living.

5) You're too generous with the ingredients.

If most people eat at home to save money and also believe that cooking at home is healthier, there has to be a problem with the way we cook given most Americans are overweight. Home cooks are likely adding too many unhealthy ingredients to their food preparations.

It's obvious we're cooking and eating too much food as well. At least with food delivery and restaurants, they portion out their meals so you don't eat too much. They've got their profit margins to protect.

Obesity percentage in America

6) You might feel pain.

Think about all the times you've sliced a finger, felt your eyes burn chopping onions, or splattered boiling water on your hand when you dumped ravioli into the pot too enthusiastically. Ouch!

Some injuries take weeks to heal. Feeling pain, even if it's only once out of every 10 times you cook, isn't a very good value proposition. Injuring yourself is one of the biggest reasons why I don't like to regularly cook. Pickleball is too much fun to miss!

7) You need your hands to play and earn.

Sometimes, you might feel way more than just pain when you cook. You might injure yourself to the point of immobility. If you slice your index finger, you won't be able to effectively swing a racket or a bat for at least a couple of weeks.

What if you accidentally pound your thumb while you're pounding meat? Any type of work that requires typing will be extremely uncomfortable. If you slice a tendon, your manual labor job might be at risk.

Why you shouldn't bother cooking at home to save money
1 out of 20 times you might slice your finger

8) Food delivery apps are in abundance.

Since 2009, there have been a plethora of new food delivery apps to use. These apps have effectively infiltrated your city's best restaurants and now offer every type of food you can think of.

You want artery-clogging, artisan double cheeseburgers? They'll be at your doorstep in 45 minutes or less. You want a quinoa salad with a side of celery? No problem.

You can order as healthy as you want. Stop using the excuse that food delivery is unhealthy. To not take advantage of technology would be a shame.

Why You Shouldn't Bother Cooking Your Own Food To Save Money
You're not going to get fat eating seared ahi tuna, mango, and avocado for dinner

9) Going out to eat spices things up.

Food is one of the best ways to bring people together. Not only can you take your partner out on a romantic date, but you can also invite your family and friends out to bond.

If you pay for the meal, the other side will greatly appreciate it and may potentially provide a much greater reward in the future.

10) No need for cleanup.

Not only do you not have to spend time preparing your food, by ordering delivery or going out to eat, but you also don't have to spend time cleaning up after yourself either. Less cleanup means less money spent on sponges, more room for trash, and a longer life for your furniture.

Obesity Charts In America for Men And Women

11) No need to spend as much time grocery shopping.

Nobody loves to grocery shop. It's all about coming up with a list and getting in and out as quickly as possible. Grocery shopping is like doing a chore because you've got to drive to the grocery store, look for the items, wait in line at the cash register, and then drive home.

Hopefully, you don't get an annoying door ding in the parking lot or a ticket either. Door dings can easily cost thousands to fix or are unfixable. Thankfully, there are apps to now delivery grocery for you. We use Amazon Prime and Amazon Fresh.

12) You're not out there winning business.

If you are in a marketing or sales role, then it should be your mission to go out to eat with as many clients and prospective clients as possible. Your firm should pay for all your meals and entertainment outings. If you want to save money, order extra and bring leftovers home.

Even if you have to pay for the food yourself with a dining rewards card, you should actively take interesting people out each week who can boost your network. We're in one of the biggest bull markets of our lifetime. Now is the time to press as much as possible.

13) You fall into a scarcity mindset.

One of the most important ways to get wealthy is by adopting the abundance mindset. If you constantly think that by spending time getting groceries and cooking at home will help boost your net worth, you'll develop a scarcity mindset.

Once you have a scarcity mindset, it's difficult to break out. You'll start shouting at the internet and blaming other people for why you're not wealthier, rather than take action to earn more.

Below is a chart that highlights the median and average 401(k) balance by age in America versus my recommended 401(k) amounts by age. Take a guess who has the scarcity mindset versus the abundance mindset? To build wealth, you've got to aggressively go out there and earn. Think bigger!

The Latest 401(k) Balance By Age Versus Recommended Balance For A Comfortable Retirement

Cook At Home In Moderation

By cooking at home, you can only save so much money. Yes, cooking is great if you enjoy cooking and are a great cook. If you are a stay at home parent, then, by all means, develop your cooking skills to provide for your family.

But even if only a few of the items pertain to you, I still say it's better to spend more time ordering delivery or eating out, than it is to cook at home. There are plenty of health conscious restaurants and vendors today too. And whether you spend 51% bringing food home or 80%, that's up to you.

Why You Shouldn't Bother Cooking Your Own Food To Save Money

Time Gets More Valuable As You Age

As you get older, your number one goal should be to win back as much time as possible to do the things that bring you the most happiness. To build wealth, you also want to allocate your time where you can earn the most amount of money.

For example, let's say I spend one hour preparing food a day. If I decide to completely eliminate cooking, I will free up 365 hours a year. With so much extra free time, I could write 182 new articles, which would fill up more than a year's worth of content. Damn, I'm never cooking again!

If you want to cook at home, do so during the holidays. No homemade meal feels better than during Thanksgiving or Christmas. Now those are special times where cooking at home is absolutely encouraged.

Cook for joy or cook for love. But don't bothering cooking your own food for the main purpose of saving money. Instead, cultivate an abundance mindset to build your fortune. Your time is extremely precious, especially if you have children and the older you get.

Cooking during the pandemic: Cooking at home to save money is more beneficial now because we're all stuck at home more often due to the pandemic. At the same time, time has become even more precious for households with young children not in school. Therefore, our family decided to order mostly take out to save time.

Please utilize your time at home to build an online business, work on your X-Factor, or look for new consulting or employment opportunities. Within the privacy of your own home, you can take more risk exploring new opportunities. As the economy opens up, you want to be ready to go!

Recommendation To Build Wealth

Now that you know the downsides of cooking your own food, it's time to put your new wisdom to good use. Sign up for Empower (previously Personal Capital), the web’s #1 free wealth management tool to get a better handle on your finances.

The more you can stay on top of your finances, the better you can optimize your finances. After you link all your accounts, use their Retirement Planning calculator. It pulls your real data to give you as pure an estimation of your financial future as possible using Monte Carlo simulation algorithms.

I’ve been using Empowerl since 2012. In this time, I have seen my net worth skyrocket thanks to better money \management.

Listen and subscribe to The Financial Samurai podcast on Apple or Spotify. I interview experts in their respective fields and discuss some of the most interesting topics on this site. Please share, rate, and review!

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About The Author

283 thoughts on “Why You Shouldn’t Bother Cooking Your Own Food To Save Money”

  1. I can’t “go earn more money” with the time I save from eating out because I’m a cripple scraping by on SSI and you’re literally not allowed to earn more than a little bit of money on the side without losing your benefits (which includes the best damn health insurance that I’d be literally dead and/or HUNDREDS of THOUSANDS of dollars in debt without.) A

    fter paying rent (which is over half of my check thankyouverymuch) I get about $300 of spending money. Luckily we also get food stamps. We make $400 of food stamps for two adults and a young ravenous child work every month. We eat very lazily and never spend more than an hour TOTAL per day cooking. Yay for meal prep and microwaves. Even with the few good points you made (like your time is valuable and it makes sense to outsource certain tasks to professionals) this horseshit article reeks of privilege.

    Our system is built in such a way that some people CAN’T climb the ladder. Not everyone is as lucky as you.

    1. Thank you for your comment and perspective (I edited out the swear words and insults). It’s a good reminder that we all come from different backgrounds, abilities, and situations, and to be mindful of others.

      I feel your anger, and I’m sorry. Roughly 15% of the world has a disability of some severity, and part of my mission is to make people more aware and fight for those with disabilities.

      My goal of this post is to help folks think differently about food and time, to think about opportunity costs, if any.

  2. Communal kitchens where everyone shared cooking responsibilities would be ideal. We have to move away from everyone having their own personal kitchen, cooking for 1-4. It’s highly inefficient and doesn’t make sense that the whole country continues doing this, as if we’re living in 1820.

    I agree we should all eat out, but the “eating out” options now are unhealthy or expensive (or both). I want to eat foods recommended by the USDA, MyPlate, normal kind of foods. So for example, yogurt with fruit, or baked chicken with a salad and raw veggies. I don’t want to have to go way out of my way, so your system only works in the downtown of a major city.

    Eating out would easily cost a family $4000 per month if I were to continue eating the quality & diverse foods I eat now. For dinner I like fresh veggies, broiled fish, and roasted chicken. This means nearly all restaurants are out (they’re too unhealthy). Looking at entrees from restaurants, you’ll easily spend $50 for a family dinner each night. Just dinners alone would be $1500 per month. I refuse to eat “cheap” because this usually means unhealthy (e.g. too much sodium or saturated fats).

    $4000 per month just isn’t viable unless you’re pulling in some extreme income.

  3. I made cooking my hobby. I buy a lot of BOGOs and look for meat deals, freezing for later. Last night, I made a quick bechamel sauce and used it to coat microwaved frozen vegetables before baking. I served it with flounder I buy in bulk from Costco that I dredged in flour and quickly cooked with butter and lemon juice. It was delicious and as good as I have had in any non-Parisian restaurant. At the same time, I made bread in my Goodwill bread machine, and soup from all of my leftover vegetables in my instant pot (carrot, apple, onion, curry, ginger). I probably spent 30-45 minutes total putting everything together for multiple meals.

  4. I live in Turkey. 1 Meal costs around 25 TL (3.5 USD) so if I eat out in the evening and night, I would only spend $7!! That brings the total cost to 210 USD for eating out every day. (Except morning) I do prepare my breakfast myself which is very easy to do!

    It saves a ton of time for me! I feel great not thinking about what to cook etc. I understand this might not be suitable for everyone but for me, it’s a really great option.

    I live in a small area so the food is very local and people who make the food are trustworthy, we have a good relationship. I will be eating out as much as I can. Maybe If I get into a relationship, it would be great to cook at home with my future gf/wife for fun but as a solo male, it’s just a waste of my time to try and cook at home for now.

  5. Chris Pederson

    Wow, I never thought about how cooking your own food is a suboptimal use of my time and unhealthy. I never thought about it that way before because I was always taught it was the better option. I’ll talk to my wife about adjusting our budget to eat out more.

  6. Elena Fernández Guiral

    Cooking is one of the things that makes me happier even more in confinement times. I prefer dining out less often in more interesting places. Doing your grocery shopping gives you full control over what you put into your mouth and I am not giving up on this.

  7. Megan Alder

    I found it very interesting to know how there are more benefits to not cook than there are for you to cook. I have noticed that cooking doesn’t only consume your time, but sometimes you spend more than eating outside. I will start taking advantage of my time doing more important activities than just cooking, and I will start eating at local restaurants.

  8. Fantastic points Sam! I did fall in to trap of cooking for years and I agree, it wasn’t the best use of my time. Even as a dentist who makes decent amount of money, the cooking made me develop a sense of scarcity looking at the prices. I also hate cooking. I hated that my (now ex) husband watched football all the time I cooked and washed and cleaned . I hate every bit of it and still hate it.
    I do cook at home. But because I am very behind with retirement saving and need to save money. Also because I got sick due to stress of old days I can not work full time and bring in decent money. But I am all with you about picking our battles and if we can use the same amount of time and energy to do something more productive which we enjoy, we should put the guilt away and learn to take care of ourselves more and not feel guilty ordering food from outside once a while.

  9. The biggest issue with the article is point 6 and 7, which are practically the same – “6) You might feel pain” and “7) You need your hands to play and earn.”

    This is way too general an argument as there are risks to any and every activity you undertake. Car accidents, sports injuries, repetitive strain injury are all possibilities, but that does not stop a healthy, well-adjusted person from driving to work, playing sports, or having an office job. So it’s ridiculous that one should reduce their cooking time. Moreover, the more often you cook and prepare food, the more proficiency you gain over time which will reduce the chance of injury.

    While the article as a whole does have a flow to it, this point which has been dragged out into two is quite irksome.

    1. You can feel pain without significantly injuring yourself. It’s painful to get splattered with oil. But usually, you don’t get burned so bad where you can’t work.

  10. Ridiculous article. I ate EVERY day out. Then I changed my lifestyle and started to cook every day myself. I considered myself the worst cook and said I hate cooking.

    What changed with it? I spend WAY less money, I eat better (yes, you read that right), I lost weight, I feel way more healthy, I became a much better cook and I discovered, that cooking is fun and great for me, great to unwind, great for the relationship. It’s not work, it’s therapy & adventure.

    Who needs one hour for every meal to cook? I’ll literally throw in 10 minutes a great meal together. Salad & Pork chops? Or buy a crock pot and just throw things in.

    I’m lazy as fuck, but I found a TON of recipes that taste AMAZING and really don’t need time at all. All you need is fresh ingredients. Something to manny restaurants don’t use.

    1. I agree. This article is fishy and idiotic. I have eaten at home for the past 10 years, I learned to cook mostly from youtube and books. I never did it for saving money, but more for health. I must’ve saved a lot of money and time driving out. Best of all, I am in great shape and have instilled a lesson for my kids to follow.

      1. Exactly!

        Cooking is more than just money and health. It’s those plus it’s an essential life skill, the satisfaction of being able to take care of oneself without always having to rely on an app.

        Everything in life could be deem as a waste of time. Isn’t life itself a waste of time? Why take holiday, why travel… What a waste of time, how many articles can you write in that time?

        Why sleep? Write more articles, make lots and lots of money. Just do nothing but make money.

        Why have kids? All that time you could be writing articles. Imagine playing with them and you get hurt. The drama. I have heard they bite and kick, too..

  11. Faten Fadaaq

    Wow Sam a lot of people still choose to cook because they have to save for retirement. And even when retired they still have to cook. And when I mean cook at home or eating a home cooked meal I don’t mean eating ramen or throwing things in the microwave for 3 minutes and then boom dinner for a family is ready. I mean cooking a healthy and well balanced meat for a family (or as a couple or as to cook only for a person).

    I live in Paris so the things might be slightly different (never been to the USA) but to get a healthy meal from a normal restaurant here it would cost me a good 10 to 12€ per person. We’re a family of 4 so let’s say 30€ minimum for a dinner? What about healthy lunch and breakfast? And I already skipped goûter? And drinks aren’t included in my mental calculation now.

    (15€ for breakfast + 30€ for lunch + 30€ for dinner) *30 days = 2250€ per month

    ???? Only for food? And that’s not even a good restaurant meal that you would sit and drink and have some good times with your family. That’s just the very basic. People still have rent, bills, gas, internet, shopping, clothes, leisure, vacation fund, retirement fund, insurance, emergencies etc

    I cook everyday and my husband is proud to bring his lunch box from home. I manage to cook a lot better, healthier and packed with nutrients and varieties of food with guess how much? 350€!!!!!!

    So you see the difference Sam? By just cooking from home I manage to save 1900€ per month and imagine what we could’ve use that money for. We do eat out every weekend when we go out and spend our family time. We still do and I’m not saying that we have to only eat at home but 51 to 80% isn’t a good advice from a financial blog. Well at least not everyone is paid 100€ an hour and I’m sure a lot of people reading this article are from the same background as me, regardless of which country we come from.

    I still have a lot to say about most of your points which are totally ridiculous but I guess I would just choose not to

    1. I agree. This article is fishy and idiotic. I have eaten at home for the past 10 years, I learned to cook mostly from youtube and books. I never did it for saving money, but more for health. I must’ve saved a lot of money and time driving out. Best of all, I am in great shape and have instilled a lesson for my kids to follow.

      1. Cooking at home to save money is obviously more beneficial now because we’re all stuck at home more often due to the pandemic. However, I would still encourage you to utilize this time at home to build an online business or look for new consulting or employment opportunities. Within the privacy of your own home, you can take more risk exploring new opportunities.

        1. You’re ideas are half baked and anytime someone mentions it you come up with with some bs excuse.

          This persons comment has nothing to do with COVID. Swallow your pride and admit your ideas aren’t as good as you think.

        2. Cooking takes time and I actually don’t like any aspect of it. But guess whatnot? Work takes time and I fckng hate it. Not everyone wants a second job or side gig. I’m happy that you have found your family’s priorities in life. In our family, my husband and I have come up with an agreement that I cook (yes, I spend 20 hours a week with shopping, cooking, etc) and he pays ALL of the bills. Some of us appreciate and want to live out a traditional family lifestyle. We’re simpler, meals aren’t extravagant and guess what – we still eat out here and there and my husband doesn’t bish about it.

          1. Sounds like a great compromise to me! Thanks for sharing.

            Ever since the pandemic began, we have done mostly food delivery to save time. With two little kids under five years old at home, we simply don’t have enough energy and time to want to spend an hour a day cooking.

            When you add on other responsibilities, like work for most people, it gets hard. But thankfully, there seems to be some light at the end of the tunnel for the pandemic. And we did do a lot more cooking this week on vacation.

  12. Buckeye Girl

    Wow. This article resonated with me. I cannot stand cooking. Despite my pleas for help with cooking OR cleaning up afterwards, my husband does not help. If he is home when food prep is occuring he typically sits and watches TV or lounges upstairs in the bedroom (likely also watching TV). Also, I rarely receive a thank you for dinner efforts from him. I installed Alexa in the bedroom so I can let him know dinner is ready. Can you say RESENTMENT? We do have children so I am not just cooking for the two of us. I may hate the planning more than the actual cooking part.

    And I am guilty – I cannot seem to cook without a recipe. I am fairly health conscious when I cook and tend to make meals that require chopping and fresh ingredients. So my husband says the fact that cooking takes so long is my fault due to my cooking choices. I am so SICK of this continual strife in our household. It is horrible for our marriage and every time I see him having what I call “butt time” while I am in the kitchen I am angry. I have expressed this frustration to him many, many, many times. I have asked him to do one meal a week (to mitigate for his explanation he won’t help because my meals are too much work). The answer from him at that time was “no.” because he was busy coaching soccer for our boys. I have asked him if he thinks it is my job to cook for the family. Never received a clear answer on that question. Second disclosure is that I do not work – BUT I care for my Mom, have serveral volunteer jobs that either benefit our children or the community, take care of the kids, and manage every other aspect of our lives. My personal goal is to work through the food in our freezer and pantry and then I think I am going to do Home Chef or something of that ilk. I cannot believe the level of anger I feel towards this one aspect of our lives and that he is unwilling to help. I watch my brother and his wife cook together every time we are over there and wonder why my husband cannot partner with me in that way. And I do not micro-manage – I know that is a guarantee he will never help again. I have had enjoyable time cooking with my friends and my brother – because it is a joint activity and we have a good time. But currently in our household it is a solo chore I loathe.

    Open to advice.

    1. Sorry to hear your husband isn’t pitching in! How annoying and frustrating.

      You must not let your resentment fester. Sit him down, tell him calmly and precisely what is bothering you and how he can help. See if you can do other things in exchange.

      Your husband’s actions are foreign to me b/c I’m in charge of the income, wealth management, food, and cleaning in the house . But I do the work b/c I want to provide and care for the family. Perhaps he feels unappreciated by you regarding all his work and money he brings?

      Easiest solution is to tell him how much you appreciate him working hard to provide for the family, and then move in to suggest some different things. Men, like women, want to be appreciated. Otherwise, things go to hell.

    2. Just fyi Buckeye Girl, that is not great advice.
      If he sees your work as not valuable and his as valuable, he doesn’t value your time. Obviously, he doesn’t respect it, as he makes you do something you hate. If you explain you hate it and he doesn’t care, that says a lot. Ask him how he would feel if you made him go to a job cleaning storm drains for a living or something he equally hates as much as you loath cooking, but because it was “his job” he shouldn’t complain (when in reality, all people complain about their jobs, but women are not supposed to complain about “household work” it’s just expected.) Also, if he only values “hard work” point him to this study that showed that Stay at home mothers work the equivalent of 2.5 FULL TIME jobs! (This is just one of a million articles on the subject, just look up “moms work equivelant of” ) https://bigthink.com/news/no-surprise-to-moms-everywhere-its-equivalent-to-25-full-time-jobs

      So while he might feel too tired from his full time job, remind him you also have a full time job, which when stretched to include cooking, is unbearably straining for you. Add if he wouldn’t like to help with cooking, ask if he wouldnt share one of the dozens of other responsibilities you’ve had to take on that he just assumes you should do. As a last resort, you can make the world’s easiest meals, reheated, frozen, throw-together meals only. You’ll probably spend more money, but you’ll save yourself valuable time; and hey, if he complains he wants a real, slow cooked, complex four course meal, you can tell him to make one himself, because you do not have it in you. Use your brother’s relationship as a positive model for what would make you happy, and I hope I hope he does see you as an equal partner and not the nanny/cook.

      It has also been shown that if SAHMs were paid, the salary would be 162k/year, so your time IS valuable. Ask him what he would do if you just stopped doing all of these things for him? Remind him you are not an employee to him, you are supposed to be his partner. https://www.mother.ly/news/sahms-would-earn-162k-survey-finds

      1. lmao, 2.5 jobs. you’re high, that is grossly misleading. The study is horseshit and I question the methodology.

        2,000 American moms of children aged five to 12 were surveyed for this study by the company Welch’s. Some of the results:

        – Average daily start time: 6:23 a.m. (fair)

        – Average end time (when they are officially “off the clock”): 8:31 p.m. (fair)

        – The average mom gets just 1 hour and 7 minutes to herself every day

        (horseshit) this is highly dependant on firstly how you qualify “to herself” as, if you mean the average mother is literally chasing a child or engage in a task actively for 13 hours a day, either you have a newborn or you are fucking everything up so badly.

        If you only have 1 hour to yourself you are fucking up being a stay at home parent or being a cry baby about what you qualify as “time to yourself” being a stay at home parent is basically a standby job with some errands thrown in, half of which you’d already be doing and now you are just scaling up.

  13. I don’t disagree completely with this article. But it’s harder to argue against cooking your own food when you are married with four children (especially when some of those children are teenagers with huge appetites). Our food budget is around $1200 per month — that’s about $1000 for groceries and about $200 for eating out. If we ate out for even one meal every day for six people, that would be something like $1200 to $1500 per month for eating out, and we would still need to buy groceries for the other two meals per day. So our total food bill would go from $1200/month to maybe $2000/month, as a rough estimate. Could we make up that extra money with extra income, with the time saved by not cooking? Maybe, but it would mean earning a very high hourly rate for those hours saved — high enough not to be realistic for us at this time.

  14. By teaching your kids not to cook, you are setting them up for a disaster. Cooking is one of the most important thing you will learn because food is what humans need to survive. If we don’t know how to cook food we won’t be able to survive in case of emergency. I was tweleve years old when the war in Bosnia started and we had to go back to stone age for next 4 years. No electricity, no water, no food, no medicine and no cosmetics. In this age everyone worries about now and everyone wants everything now. No country is immune to natural disasters or wars. People take everething for granted and they don’t realize that everything we use including electronics and internet can be lost overnight. That’s a big problem. We need to learn how to be patient and enjoy life. So what if it takes more than an hour to cook dinner? Having a home made meal is much more important than staring at a computer trying to work on your side hustle.

    Restaurant food is full of calories, salt, sodium and it is not fresh. If you cook at home you may spend the same amount of money, but when it cones to food, health should be more inportant than money.

  15. This might be something good for larger families. I live alone and only need to cook for myself. I can make something in an hour. Recipes usually are for four servings up to eight servings. I eat one serving and put the rest of the servings in the freezer. Then I have a home made frozen meal in the freezer waiting for me most nights that I just nuke in the microwave oven. It doesn’t take a lot of time for cooking or clean up. I don’t have toddlers running around. I’m not a corporate woman. I retired at a relatively young age and now work part time as a substitute teacher. This gives me time to cook and do crafts to give as gifts and saves a lot of money. I work in my yard and only hire out someone to mow. Sure, I could go to work and earn $15 to $20 an hour and work 80 to 100 hours a week while hiring out house cleaning and yard work. I could spend several hundred dollars on Christmas presents, but I enjoy cooking and I enjoy doing crafts. I like the smell of fresh home made bread throughout my house. I did not enjoy working as a data entry operator and being stressed out to make a quota and pass a quality audit everyday.

  16. Cooking while holding a full-time job in the Bay Area can take the last bit of sanity out of most professionals, especially those who work in demanding tech jobs. Many of my colleagues cooked only during special occasions. Otherwise they are fine with a combination of takeouts, DoorDash, or Uber Eats to satisfy whatever meals they can’t get at work, even for married couple with children to raise. I was initially astonished but it’s simply how much people value their free time.

    1. Don’t these so-call professionals have spouses that can cook? If the professional makes that much money why would you need two paychecks?

      1. Because sometime starting in the 1970s, there was a women’s liberation movement, and more women wanted to enter the workforce, utilize their education, and become breadwinners.

        More power to equality!

  17. Shasta Jones

    I don’t care to be out in the workforce. I’d rather do the work around my house than go to the office and face abuse so I can pay someone else to do work that I enjoy doing.

    1. Well said! Could not agree more. I always thought going to work should be fit into life after everything else is taken care of, not other way around. Then as I grew up, there was this pesky little thing i learnt about called money ….

  18. Thanks for giving me another thing to think about during my busy schedule, Sam!

    Sam has a great list of rebuttals to “Cooking at home saves money” which is stated as fact by many budgeting experts. But if instead of time spent in the kitchen I can be performing some other high value/high leverage activity, then I should get out there and DO THAT. I cook a lot and I enjoy the activity, but looking at the time spent cooking, it is a bit of a selfish use of my time that maybe the rest of my family is not benefiting from as much as I tell myself.

    Someone who aspires to be wealthy needs to maximize the best use his or her finite lifecycles.

  19. When our kids were younger, I did a lot of cookiing at home using the microwave. Chicken, beef, steak, etc. Allowed me to do the side dishes on the cooktop. We ate our once a week. The microwave is under rated for its convenience and time saving. Now our kids are grown. I take a Walmart frozen dinner for lunch. $2 a day for lunch in DC area. Cheap eats and the taste isn’t bad. I prefer to fully fund our retirement instead.

    1. The question is, with all the microwaved food and frozen dinners, are you and your kids in the ideal weight range?

      This is the biggest variable thats missing from the comments. We can’t see how physically fit everyone who is against not cooking at home is.

  20. Most people cook their own food; Most people are overweight. Therefore homecooking causes obesity, and eating out is smarter.

    The rooster crows; the sun rises. Therefore the rooster causes the sun to rise. Huh?

    Before RE, our food budget was $400/mo for two of us. Beef was out of the question. Every Sat., my wife cooked several meals to be consumed over the rest of the week, while I did auto/home maintenance; we each did what we were good at and enjoyed. Sundays, she baked fresh bread and the house smelled wonderful. Our smart co-workers ate out constantly.

    Early Retired now, on a small ranch 35 miles from town. Food budget is $500/mo for two of us. If we want beef, we eat beaf. My wife still fixes multiple dinners on Sat., and I still maintain the car which now has 300,000 miles on it. Fresh bread still shows up, but since retirement, it shows up on any given day. Our smart co-workers still eat out constantly and are still working.

    After reading your column, I feel so DUMB! :(

    1. Maybe it is because you just realized you ARE dumb?

      Of course cooking at home is great if you have your wife cook your food for you.

      Do you think most people are early retired? Do you not believe having a wife cook at home while you don’t have to take care of kids makes it easy for you?

      Pretty soon, you’re going to tell me that you only speak one language and have never left the country.

      1. DLO

        you seem to have missed the part where we each did something we love, that was productive for our family and saved tons of money. We both worked at work. We worked at home, and worked at having a great life. On a budget. Which is on-topic for this forum. No, not everyone is retired, but life does not end at FIRE. You may actually get there, too. If you can get there by eating out constantly, then great! We couldn’t possibly feed ourselves for $500 by eating out. None of what I posted is worthy of your insults, but to appease you, I speak two languages, and have traveled outside of my country. Neither of which has any bearing on my finances or success in life. While you clearly do not value my opinion, you are certainly free to express yours as you have. Tolerant much?

        1. I’m very tolerant, but not of people who are ignorant and fail to see the other side. It’s as if you ignored all the points in this post.

          You forgot to mention kids. Who cooks for the kids after a long day’s work? You? I don’t think so. It doesn’t seem like you have kids at all, which explains why you don’t understand the other side.

          1. I have two kids with another on the way. My wife is a nurse and works 13 hour shifts three times a week. About a year ago, I started doing all the cooking, when I realized we were burning over $1200 per month on eating out. We now spend about $500 on groceries and $200 on eating out (It’s hard for my wife to give up on eating out completely).

            My kids did not gain weight from switching to home cooked meals. They’re both at normal weights for their age and heights. I cook meals from scratch. I mostly cook Mexican food: tacos, tostadas, posole, beans, rice, etc. Sometimes I’ll make some Italian: spaghetti, chicken alfredo, parmigiana chicken, or lasagna. So not necessarily super low calorie foods.

            I’ve actually dropped weight. At 5′ 8″ I was approaching 300 lbs, I am now at 200.

            As for not spending time with my kids, I don’t think cooking takes away from that. I multi-task. I’ll feed the baby on his high chair while I cook and my 6 year old does his homework on the kitchen table. If he needs help with something, I’m right there. Often, I’ll cook a couple of days in advance so I don’t always cook everyday. When my 6 year old gets a little older, I’m going to have him help me cook.

            I definitely understand the convenience of eating out and how much time it can save, but at the same time you can live a healthier life if you eat at home while saving a ton of money. It wasn’t easy finding the right groove but now that I found it I wouldn’t turn back.

    2. What are some of the reasons why you cannot see the financial merit of spending your time earning more money, on a financial blog, in addition to the unhealthy eating habits of Americans?

      The main focus of this post and the site is to build wealth, not so much lose weight.

      Not being able to see different perspectives is a lack of intelligence.

  21. What Sam says for the SF Bay Area residents is TRUE. We as a family eat out 4-5 days a week and it saves us on time and money. There are always healthier options on most menus and the time you’ll get back is absolutely priceless! Thanks for the post Sam and keep up the great work!

    1. After I read this article, I decided to increase meals prepared by my personal chef from 1 per day to 2 per day. Now I just need to figure out how to get her to stop talking to me the whole time, so I can focus on work!

  22. Dear Sam, I’ve been reading your blog for maybe five years and never posted before. Just want to say thanks for your content which always makes me think even if I don’t always agree. More thoughtful exchange of ideas wouldn’t be a bad thing given the current political climate. I think it’s great that you’ve done so well in life and share your helpful tips with us all. I’m grappling with the question right now of when to retire (aged 45 with $1mn net worth but very modest consumption habits).
    Even though we are all bombarded with stats on longevity I have just seen many family members and friends family members pass away in their 70s. So I’d like to pull the ripcord now given that not so sure I’ll make it to 90s statistically but I hesitate because of age discrimination. Meaning, I appreciate I only have a few more years in a standard office job before I start hitting less ability to get hired and retain work. Anyway I always appreciate your posts and wish you all the best!!

  23. Thanks for offering an interesting perspective on this subject. I have a few contributions I hope are valuable:

    1. I think the correlation between people who make food at home and are overweight is off. I think overall food choices are the reason for the obesity epidemic. The same people who make the fattest, unhealthy food or quick food which is generally super processed and full of junk are going to eat the same thing when they go out. If they were going to eat a DiGiorno’s pizza at home, they’d just eat a Pizza Hut Pizza if they went out. If they were going to make a fatty cheeseburger and fries at home, they’d just go to Red Robin if they went out. If they eat healthy meals at home which cost more and have a larger time investment, they’d eat at a quality restaurant they know would be healthy and that meal would cost a lot more as well.

    Until the food choices change, I don’t think it matters where people eat, they’ll still be overweight.

    2. If you wanted to eat at home and cook and have the benefit still of having family time, there are a lot of healthy eating meal
    kit delivery services around now that not only sell you healthy meals, but also in the proper proportions so you don’t overeat, and that are fresh ingredients that are good for you. This is a great article on Epicurious (https://www.epicurious.com/expert-advice/every-meal-kit-delivery-service-in-america-article) which lays out over 2 dozen and ranks them!! As you will see, this is a great compromise between making your own meals from scratch and eating out…there’s no food waste in your fridge or cupboards (think about the thousands of dollars sitting in your pantry and fridge that may never get eaten as we speak), and the cost of the top selection is roughly $200 a week for a family of four!! And you are eating fresh food that is good for you that can take as little as 10 minutes to prepare.

    We just ate out lunch and dinner in very reasonable Williamsburg, Virginia and that added up to $120..so clearly there is money to be saved and time to be saved eating this way….

    Might be a good edit for your article…make even be some affiliate link money to be made too!

    1. I’ve tried out several meal kit services and none of them take less than 20-30 minutes to prepare. I don’t really save time by doing the meal kit thing. Maybe in the planning and shopping stages, but the actual prep/cook part is more time consuming than most of my own homemade tried and true recipes.

  24. Obviously a hot topic with a lot of your readers.

    Personally, I don’t think that ‘cooking’ at home is a major contributor to obesity in America. If you were to inventory the pantry, refrigerator and freezer of obese people that cook the majority of meals at home vs those that are not obese, I believe there would be a clear distinction in the items being consumed vs the choice of location.

    Snacks, pre-prepared / easy to serve foods high in sodium, carbs and calories are likely to dominate those with weight problems.

    These same people would likely make similar poor food choices when eating out, going to fast food and all you can eat locations. Throw in those locations that feature fried foods and ‘home cooking’ known for very large portions and the problem (IMHO) comes down to something much more fundamental – poor food choices, NOT the location of their preparation.

    As for time spent cooking: I spend approx 5 minutes in the mornings ‘preparing’ my breakfast and a similar time on lunch. I eat the same thing for each meal, day in and day out while at home. Boring to some (including my wife) but a great time saver and very healthy. I know precisely what I am eating calorie and content wise. The only meal we truly prepare and cook is dinner, and at least two nights per week is a ‘whatever night’ (leftovers). My wife being an excellent cook and baker does the majority of the cooking/baking and I do the clean-up. When we do eat out (twice a month) at locally owned restaurants (avoiding chains when possible), even reasonably healthy choices, the cost after tip (20%) exceeds 5 days of at home meal costs.

    As for value of time – we are retired, so spending out time this way is more ‘valuable’. We have tried two of the meal delivery services and while the quality and portions was good to above average, the value simply wasn’t there. We can source similar or better ingredients locally and the small amount of time gained from pre-packaged portions is more than offset by the increase in prices. Plus, we prefer to support our local growers and suppliers.

    For me/us – it’s all about choices. You can save time and money AND improve your health through better food choices and education. That time, I consider well spent as it provides a return throughout your life.

    1. This is the most idiotic article I’ve ever read. Anyone can learn to cook a healthy meal at home. Most resturant food is not healthy, usually bland and greatly overpriced. You can probably eat a healthy meal at home for about the price of the tip, if you know how to shop. if our school systems taught anything useful, like finance and how to manage a household we wouldn’t have a world full if idiots. Such as the author of this article and most of the people who have commented on it.

  25. Sam Silverman

    I could not agree more with this hypothesis but I have take a different approach to address this problem: a personal chef. I have a person who comes 4X per week to cook for me and does all of the shopping and menu research. All I do is provide a credit card for the groceries and she does the rest. This is a life changer and has resulted in me losing weight and getting into the best shape of my life. Plus much more mind space to focus on growing my business now that I’m not going to the Costco prepared food aisle weekly and wondering where my next meal will come from.

  26. I wanted to contribute because when I first read the article I thought it was crazy. We cook at home all the time and seldom go to restaurants, so I quickly dismissed the post. But then the more I though about it, the more it got me thinking and I decided to see how much our family of four spent this past October (..yes, before someone says something, we are privileged because I have no idea of how much we spend in food). You were spot on, the credit card spending came to $68 per day and there is always some cash item, so $70 is the right number for us. We do buy filet mignon and lobster when we cook at home but that’s only on weekends and we definitively save money compared to going to a nice (not fancy or trendy) restaurant of NYC when we live. During the week my wife cooks pasta for my children and rarely orders in, I buy $8 lunches and I do not go to Starbucks but buy my coffee for the truck vendors, my children have PB&J sandwiches for lunch or leftovers, therefore I would say we are frugal.

    So my conclusion is that maybe in certain parts of the country $70 per day for a family of four is excessive but in other places like NYC, it’s not too much. After all, Midtown Manhattan is the place where salads for lunch at your desk costs $13.

    Ultimately, I cook during on weekends to give my wife who cooks almost everyday a break and because I enjoy it and because I think that I eat better at home and at a fraction of the cost of many expensive restaurants in the City.

    Thank you for allow me to figure out how much we spend per month in food.

  27. Just had to respond because you are getting a lot of hate on this one.

    Me and my husband have three kids, two day jobs and a shared (booming) side hustle. I utilize and have tried every meal delivery option out there. Literally I could write a detailed review on every one.

    I live in Boulder where healthy people are in abundance. But so are the healthy delivery options! I estimate I save 3-5 hours a week not cooking. It well pays for my 500/week grocery budget fo 5 people. We have an abundance of good healthy food and nobody complains.

    I also think there is likely some gender lines being muddled with the haters. How many readers with the side hustle are the ones shopping and cooking. If you gave yourself or your spouse back that time, what would they do?

    1. Good to hear Peg! Yes, it’s much easier to encourage cooking at home if you DON’T have to do all the grocery shopping, prepping, cooking, and cleaning after!

      It’s the same as voting to happily raise taxes if you don’t have to pay more yourself.

      There are plenty of healthy delivery options now. I’m not waiting 30-45 minutes for a taxi. I’m going to wait under 10 minutes for an Uber Pool to arrive to take me somewhere way cheaper and faster than a taxi.

      Times change. Maybe we are just resistant to change?

  28. Maybe I just have spartan tastes but cooking at home saves me time and money. It would take more time for me leave the house each time I wanted to eat than to cook a simple meal that takes my mind off work. Cooking is relaxing, it should not be hard. I do not follow recipes, just make a pot of rice, some veggies and meat. You can rotate and substitute different meats, veggies and carbs to get your variety. It never gets old.

    Why is cooking so hard? it makes no sense, you don’t need to make elaborate meals.

  29. Is this post made deliberately for the sake of having a different position? Am not in your country, cost of food is low but I’d still prefer to cook as much as possible at home, its simply healthier and fresher.
    You know how i can spend time with people and my kid with all of this?
    1. My kid who is a little toddler loves when we are cooking, he wants to help and its a game for him.
    2. If you need more time then make food which can be made in a pot or grilled, so you shut it and its ready in a while
    3. I call BS on the resentment topic, what you are talking is lack of communication. Sure if my wife cooks and I am busy doing something else, this is after a communication between us. There are many days when she is too loaded and I cook, and this is how marriages…no..people work with each other!
    4. Many of us simply do not have an income which can sustain this. A restaurant meal is priced 2-3 times the cost of cooking to cover for other expenses.

    Also, stop thinking of a single person, think of a family. In the long run, cooking for a family makes sense.

    I do not believe eating out/takeaway is a crime, do it every once in a while, but I guess you already knew this…you just wrote the post for the sake of it.

  30. First time comment

    Will we ever start making decisions based on how they affect the world beyond our own personal convenience?

    The waste (single use plastics/containers, emissions from delivery etc) associated with take out is tremendous. So as the summers get hotter, crank up your AC. When the forest fires pollute the air in the fall, turn on your air purifiers. When the next bomb cyclone hits, blast the heater.

    People are more obese because they consume more calories than they expend. Processed high fructose corn syrup soda/candy/chips/junk food/instant food made for convenience predominates. The average American eats larger portions, more meat, fewer vegetables, less fiber, etc whether they are cooking at home or eating out. And eating out most certainly means more fat and salt. People walk/exercise less and drive everywhere. Jobs are sedentary staring at computer screens all day. Sleep wake cycles are disrupted which affects metabolism.

    I am very surprised you don’t mind your toddler eating so much take out.

  31. My experience has been that too many people eat out and consequently do not eat healthy food. Things that are carb and fat heavy like mac & cheese, white breads wrapping processed meats, pizza, burgers, home tv dinners, convenience meals, salads swimming in dressing, vegetables that are saltier than the sea etc.

    My wife and I are focused on fitness, myself for motocross racing and my wife for her bodybuilding contests. The food options when eating out are severely limited when traveling and at best are mediocre or just massively overpriced. When we lived in europe it was much easier to eat out with healthy options.

    Time is absolutely valuable, so we have a system of prepping large amounts of food on one day a week and then enjoy eating out a few times a week that will not impact our fitness goals. We even do the same for our dog whose food we prep each month on one day a week. The animal is never sick or has skin allergies or the litany of issues pets that eat kibble daily end up with.

  32. This advice is not one-size-fits-all, but it resonates with me and some readers (from the look of the comments)

    Having grown up in a very frugal and DIY family, I have taken on a lot of responsibility such as working on my own car, being a handyman around the house, and taking on projects. If you asked me 10 years ago what my earning potential might be, I would have never thought I’d make more than $150k/year (as a single earner). Because of that, I decided to spend time instead of money to grow wealth.

    I realized this year my time is more and more limited and has been impacting the areas of my life where I could be earning more; my career and side hustles. I am making small decisions to spend more money to get more time. This article is one thing that me and my wife are now considering thanks to Sam.

    The essence of the article is to trade money for time. And to use that time to be earn more and enjoy what’s important to you. I am starting to recognize the earning potential for me and my wife can grow from $400k to $700k (conservatively) or to $1.5M+ (stretch) in the next 10 years. She can go for VP and I can continue working on my tech startup while working at a FAANG.

  33. Wow are you out of touch. In a list of 13 reasons titled “Why cooking your food hurts your own finances”, the first 11 have nothing to do with finances, but quality of life. 12 relates to finances only if you are in a marketing or sales position that a) pays for meals regularly and b) would pay for even more of your meals if you worked more (what about the rest of your family? Maybe spending so much time at work impairs your ability to spend time with them, see reason 1, 2, and 3.) 13 is nonquantifiable and nonfalsifiable, making it essentially useless.

    You also attempt to draw a causal link between cooking at home and obesity, with a total lack of evidence. You say “many people are overweight” and “many people cook from home” and leave it at that. But what has happened to the amount of people eating at home while obesity has increased? Is it possible there are other factors (e.g. the types of processed foods sold in the grocery store) that have led to obesity in the same timeframe? Are there other correlated variables (e.g. if poor people are more likely to be overweight because they can only afford cheaper, less healthy food, and poor people also cook from home more because they can only afford to, then cooking from home isn’t causing people to be overweight).

    The rest of your arguments, generally, sound like the kind of drivel dreamed up in an idle hour. Not surprising you only spend 2 hours on an article. Like injuring yourself 5% of the time you cook–how bad at it are you?

    The reason people dislike your articles isn’t because it’s hard for them to take good financial advice–it’s because you are oblivious to the reality of life for the average American, and it shows. Newsflash Sam–many people don’t cook from home because they want to, and they know it is bad for their time, and their marriage, etc. They do it because they can’t afford not to–if they eat out every day, they will not be able to pay for medicine, healthcare, school for their kids, housing, etc.

    1. where is the like button, was going to say the same thing, well almost but you said it well.

      1. This article isn’t aimed at the average american but those that have an hourly rate higher than a chef

  34. Sam, thank you for the article quite thought provoking. The discussion of hiring out help vs DIY is a great talking point. Time with family can’t be understated. Your points about working a side hustle, working out, reading, etc are all valid. My wife and I cook two times a week, Sunday and weds. Each time it’s a meal that’s good for 3 nights in a row. The prep time is 30-40 min then the other days it’s just pull from the fridge, heat up, then eat. We eat out once a week with family or friends on Saturday. I do most of the cooking and have zero resentment toward my spouse bc of it bc I love to cook and she loves eating our meal together. We spend as a couple (no kids yet) $750 a month on food. We shop at Costco, Walmart and some farm stands. Walmart has grocery pickup so it eliminates shopping time. Admittedly it would be nice to not have to grocery shop at all. Eating out for every meal is expensive and wasteful in my opinion. (After doing a cost/benefit analysis on what we do). Furthermore one has no idea what restaurants put in all their meals for whatever one orders. Cooking at home one does. I’m not obese by home cooking meals (5’9” @150lbs) neither is my wife (5’5”@110lbs) the assumption of the article that Americans are obese by home cooking is misguided. Increased consumption of sugar and lack of regular exercise have a major role in this among other reasons as well genetics, gut flora health, lack of healthy sun exposure, yo-yo dieting, etc. All in all great article and thought provoking. Thank you.

  35. The major flaw in your article isn’t related to all the other things you can do with your time besides cook or that it isn’t wasteful to spend money on food. What IS problamatic is that you seem to equate spending money on food to correlate with Obesity in america.

    What is interesting, and unfortunate, is that fast food is popular in part because of it’s ability to deliver high caloric content for less money. So, people without sufficient resources to spend lots of money on high nutritional content expensive food (like sushi or private chefs preparing Quina) will default to the most bang for their buck. Unfortunately, those foods tend to be high in saturated fats and carbohydrates, so not as healthy.

    So, don’t be so quick to blame high food budgets for Obesity

    1. In your opinion, if 82% of Americans mostly just eat at home, and 70% plus of Americans are overweight, what do you attribute to the overweight epidemic?

      Is there not an argument that for profit food organizations would better enact portion control to save their profit margins versus the Typical American cooking at home and cooking in bulk, who cannot stop overeating?

      1. Your argument assumes food/ingredients are a significant enough portion of restaurant expenses for them to care about portion control. My anecdotal experience says otherwise. The cheaper the restaurant, the more food I get on my plate. I think rent, utilities, and labor are probably the bulk of their expenses.

      2. “Is there not an argument that for profit food organizations would better enact portion control to save their profit margins versus the Typical American cooking at home and cooking in bulk, who cannot stop overeating?”

        I would say that the more likely argument is that for-profit food organizations would use cheaper, processed, ingredients instead of fresh produce to save on profit margins. Think of the Applebees, Olive Gardens, TGIFs, Panera Breads, and god forbid the Hometown Buffets of our country that cater to the average American. From the organization’s perspective, the goal is profit and taste in order to encourage future visits. But that’s not achieved through portion control. It’s done by using cheap ingredients with lots of sugar, lots of salt, and lots of fat. Stuff that tastes good but not good for you. I would make an argument that Americans cook dishes at home that reflect their tastes when they are able to go out. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have piles of pasta loaded with cheese, bloomin’ onions or egregiously large desserts. The average American who pays to get into a buffet, will still opt for the meat, starch, and fat, even when there’s a perfectly healthy and beautiful salad bar in front of them.

        I’ve been a longtime reader and this is my first ever post. And I have to say this article is a bit out of touch. As other commenters have noted, the reason why people cook at home is because they can’t afford eating out. Try feeding a family of 4 with $15. You can’t get a sandwich from a sit-down chain restaurant after taxes and tip with $15, let alone a healthy salad. The problem with obesity isn’t because we eat at home too much, it’s because most people in this country (as well as much of the world) love unhealthy foods. Saving time and reducing strain on a marriage and spending more time with the kids are really good alternatives to cooking at home, but only for those that have the luxury to do so.

        1. To lose weight, there needs to be a caloric deficit. It doesn’t matter what type of calories, it’s a caloric deficit that counts. Someone can eat donut 1,500 calories of donuts a day and still lose weight if he needs to eat 2,500 calories a day to maintain body weight.

      3. Wow…
        So home cooking is the cause of obesity? That’s a ridiculous conclusion.

        I wonder how many people ate out in the 1950s?

        Do you think, possibly, that Americans cooking from home may be hamburger helper or similar products?

        Maybe snacking? Ice Scream? All the other junk you can find in grocery stores that spike insulin and cause overeating? Maybe?

        No, lets going with cooking at home…This is the only relevant factor, apparently

  36. So the guy who says buying a Kia Rio is at the top end of your budget if you make 200K a year is also the one who says eating out and having your meals delivered (at a steep cost of nearly 20% with delivery charge and tip) is a good financial decision. WTF? Also if you don’t have a “side hustle,” there is absolutely no opportunity cost to preparing your own meals. Contrary to your article, most people enjoy making family meals together.

    1. Actually, the guy complaining about how ordering delivery and eating out is foolish is the same guy who spends 100% of his gross annual income on a car he can’t afford.

      Just look at the financial and physical health of the average American today. The healthcare system is collapsing partly because Americans are so unhealthy that we’re utilizing too many resources. The middle class is falling behind partly because we are not saving and investing enough.

      People are free to do whatever they want with their money and bodies. I’m offering some clarity to what’s going on in America.

      1. Wrong! The healthcare is collapsing because of private profit and public expense. i.e. State actors, bought and paid, stealing thru taxes and giving to their cronies.

    2. But what’s the time that is bought back with a car? You’re going to go to a dealership and pick up a car whether it’s a Jaguar or a Kia, and then your life is functionally no different when you use the car, regardless of what it is.

      But if you cook, you have to meal plan (and consider your diet), go to the grocery store (no small task if you have small children) check out from the grocery store, load your groceries in the car, unload all your groceries out of the car, and then you haven’t even started cooking yet. Then once you start cooking, you have to have all the right tools (which means running a load in the dishwasher and unloading) and then you have to clean up (and load all the dishes back in). You also have to make sure that, if you bought fresh meat, you use it up soon so it doesn’t go to waste — heaven help you if your evening plans get thrown off by all the last minute things that come with having children.

      Or I could spend five minutes or less ordering online, stay home, and have my meal delivered to my doorstep.

      I don’t see how eating out/ordering out vs. cooking at home is comparable to the same “one stop shop” of getting a car.

  37. Case MREs on eBay past the test date (that’s not an expiration, just don’t hang in to them for 5 years) can be had for less than $3/shipped unit. One can feed two people because they are meant to dump calories into people fighting a war. Cheap, quick, clean up takes literally seconds, instant access for the busy professional, no refrigeration or cooking required.

    About $6,500 a year for the family of four… all the savings the people who don’t get that this is a light hearted look at a hypothetical family want, and all the benifits you highlighted above.

  38. Zambian Lady

    Interesting article. However, I prefer eating in than out mostly because I prefer the process of me or a family member lovingly cooking and then we sit together and eat. My son actually mentioned that I am a better cook than any other out there – he said this at a top notch restaurant. I am not as good a cook as my husband, but the love with which the meals are made is the best.

  39. Americans are fat and broke. Listening to Americans about food advice is like listening to Americans about how to fix the healthcare system. Don’t heat the general public any attention.

    But I have to admit that reading all the comments have been quite entertaining! It would be fun to see what all these angry and judgmental people look like.

  40. Sam, I’ve had this PoV for a while and have tried to convince my family/wife along the same lines of thinking with limited success. I’m all about outsourcing especially when you know you can hire folks who are better at you in something or can take a time consuming dish and make it for you (ie..paella, pallow..etc). The only con I have is that you cant see the raw ingredients they use at restaurants… did they drop that before they plated? Did he sneeze on it..? Otherwise bravo, great article and agree with your logic!

  41. Sam, with your luck, your kid is going to be like me, a picky eater and will insist on home food.
    Now, I am by no means an expert but of the times I’ve eaten out, around 90% of the time, I would’ve rather stayed home and eaten a toasted peanut butter and jam sandwich.

    That said, if you can afford to buy prepared meals instead of making it at home, I say go ahead. It’s your money and how you choose to spend it. What’s the point of having money if you can’t spend it getting rid of the tasks you hate (preparing meals, shopping for groceries, etc.)? Plus by spending the money, you’re helping a business.

    The only caveat is you have to watch the calories with prepared meals and your weight unless you choose to buy healthy prepared meals prepared by professional.

  42. All I get from this article is the idea that you suck at cooking, and you resent those who actually can cook. In Colorado, it’s at least $20 for dinner for 2, practically anywhere you go. For $20, I can easily replicate 95% of the meals we’d order. Will they taste the same? No. Will it probably have fewer calories? Almost certainly. I portion smaller at home because I get the choice on how much to make.
    Cooking, like anything, can be daunting when you first start — but like, if you practice and stuff and not just give up because you made rubbery chicken ONCE, you’d probably find you could cook better.

    1. So basically it’s only worth it if you do something with the time you save to make more money not to just not cook or clean and not doing anything with the extra time.

  43. I plan to hire a personal chef to come to my home to cook several dishes once a week. We will plan menus together and use top quality, organic, in-season healthy ingredients. She will do the shopping, cooking, and cleaning up. Sounds like heaven to me!

      1. Hi Sam,

        I am in favor of your 1/10th car buying rule. In fact, my last vehicle purchase was a 2009 Volvo XC70 which was about 1/45th… lol

        And… I’m generally against your going out to eat idea for a variety of reasons for our family (ingredient sensitivity problems being one of several).

        It’s not that we never go out, but I travel a fair amount for business, and being home has immense value.

        Anyway, to each his own!


  44. Janice Moio

    I just cannot find anything positive to say about this article! I remember watching my mom or my dad cooking and how much they enjoyed it. I always asked if I could help or I just watched. I couldn’t wait to sit down and enjoy that home cooked meal every night. I did the same for my kids. every once in awhile we would go out to dinner or have delivery. this generation does not know what family life is because they are so tied up in their phones and computers. Learn to cook and you might like it or just be a lazy ass an order in!

    1. Are you high? Ordering from a takeout app is $20-25 a plate. How can you say in the same breath you are angered spending more than $10 a day on food, and then suggest eating out/ordering in is the way to save?

  45. So many things to disagree with here, but here is an objection I haven’t seen mentioned:

    Cooking as a family is such a valuable way to build your relationships. Teaching kids about healthy eating habits, passing on your family recipes, spending time chatting with your spouse while cooking instead of vegging in front of the TV. How can you put an hourly rate on that?

    Remember the scene from Crazy Rich Asians where everybody is sitting around making dumplings together? It’s a way for us to connect to each other and pass on our traditions. (I also make and freeze large batches of dumplings regularly and it’s an easy way to have a ready and healthy meal on demand.)

    I’ll even go one step further and say I love to grow my own veggies and I’m also a hunter. I have complete control over the freshness and quality of my food. It’s probably cheaper to buy from a restaurant, but there is no substitute for that perfectly seared wild duck breast on just picked pea sprouts, all harvested by you or your family!

    Also don’t forget we don’t all live in SF and can get healthy meals delivered. I’ve lived in places which only have unhealthy chain/ fast food restaurants. Think 80-90% meat and potatoes.

    1. I enjoyed that dumpling making scene very much. And I do agree making food together is one way of bringing people together.

      I do wonder if most people have that type of privilege to spend so much time making food though. So many of us are just trying to keep our head above water, exhausted and out of time.

  46. This is such an Idiotic Article that I can ever see…OMG…

    Although I’m single and eat alone at home every day, I’m saving lots of money! And that’s what counts.

  47. I forgot to add that I saw an article once where a guy prepared a home made version of a Panera sandwich while he tracked the calories. When the info was available, he used the same portion size.

    His sandwich was about 30% larger, with way fewer calories. Why? They use food that’s processed.

    I can’t recall what the cost difference was…

    1. Chinny chin

      Elon Musk lived on a dollar a day when he was young. Turned out alright.
      I visited a friend of a friend who had no cuttlery or dishes at his place. All he ate was restaurant food. It was clear he wasn’t in a very good financial position at all. Notice how poor people who beg for money are always eating fast food?

  48. Wow. Lots of jumping on Sam here.

    I think your reasoning is more justification than anything else, but if you prefer to spend your money eating out/ordering in, more power to you.

    We eat out occasionally, but I cook at home mainly. I have pastured cow in the freezer, along with pastured chicken too. (Both local) At times I buy organic. I spend a lot more for 2 of us than many others do. I try to eat healthy while keeping my cooking streamlined. Most meals that take a long time do not take long because of actual hands on cooking. Most of my super delicious meals take less then 30 minutes, and some of that is spent doing non-cooking things.

    Going out to eat is actually a big time suck. Ordering in – we do on occasion if I don’t feel like cooking and we’re too lazy to go out. But you have to factor in transportation time, waiting to order, waiting for the food, and coming back home. That’s a lot of wasted time!

    I earn a decent salary, have more than 100K saved for retirement, clip coupons, eat ramen (occasionally), and find your reasons unconvincing.

    But do what you want, recognizing it as a splurge! It’s your money and it exists to make you happy, so don’t worry what the critics say.

  49. I resent my lazy and fat as hell husband for making me cook every day. He never pitches in and he doesn’t bother to take care of himself.

    He makes me feel like a failure for cooking because he is so out of shape. At least if he was in shape, I would feel good knowing that my food was helping him be healthy.

    If you’re working all day, and then you have to come home to cook, that is pretty exhausting. If you then add on a lazy husband who doesn’t Pitchin, that just pisses me off. But this happens over and over again.

    Man, if your girlfriends or wives are going to cook for you, the very least you can do is stay in shape.

    1. Tell him to do 60 pushups, 150 situps, and walk two miles a day for the next 6 months. He will get fitter. If he ain’t gonna pitch in, he at least better look good for you!

  50. Hi Sam, I actually laughed out loud many times throughout reading this article – you crack me up. I have definitely made the rubber chicken dinner that nobody ate, and have spent $2000 a month on a family of 3 for food. I have noticed that cooking dinner takes me at least 30+ minutes of prep and 20+ minutes of clean up. Sometimes I do resent my husband waiting for me to come home and cook, and feel sorry that I can’t spend that hour with my 4 year old son. And I have injured myself many times (cut finger that hurt like nothing else, a burn on my left wrist from touching the oven door etc). I think the injuries were because I was rushing to finish cooking so I could feed my family and get out of the kitchen.

    Having said all that, if I didn’t have a demanding professional job I would love to cook more. I think that home cooking can taste better than take out and can teach my son about appreciating the effort it takes to make a meal. In fact, I do let him help me choose produce, bake and flip pancakes.

    Anyhow, if anything else this article makes me feel less guilty about eating out while I’m trying to balance being a wife, mother, professional and FIRE enthusiast.

    Thanks for always being honest and sharing your thoughts!

    1. Awesome! Thanks for keeping it real! I’ve noticed many people who are very pro cooking at home to save money are also the people who actually don’t cook at home and make their partners do so! Funny how that is.

      Being in a rush is definitely because of so many injuries and do overs. I wish we were all slow down just a little bit.

  51. OMG, The comments are amazing! Food is more than food for a lot of us.

    This article reminds me of my wife coming home with a $200 pair of jeans. I said, “$200 for a pair of jeans, are you crazy? She replied “the original price was $300 so I saved us a $100.”

    Keep up these articles Sam, there the best!

  52. You’re assuming casualty where you see a correlation between cooking at home and obesity. That’s not necessarily true at all. Other parts of the world where eating out is much more rare have less obesity rates. So that’s a complete fallacy. You can literally control everything that you cook at home.

    Your arguments for not cooking at home are almost comical. Cooking at home shouldn’t be dangerous or terribly time consuming if you spend some time to learn some basics instead of spending all your time justifying going out to eat (which can arguably take more time away from your day depending on how well you prepare meals).

    I don’t know why this showed up on my feed, but it was a fun read. Thanks for spending the time to write your thoughts.

    1. The post’s warnings of kitchen danger is really funny. Makes me go “oh honey…”

      Anyway, my husband and I love to cook together. It’s one of our favorite things to do together! Like the author said, I get that that’s not for everyone. But it’s fun. And we do have a tight budget, so we stay under $200 for food (grocery and eating out combined) each month. So between $1 and $1.50 per meal each, on average. It works for us! We just plan our purchases well. It really isn’t difficult, once we figured out what types of foods we wanted most often.

      Location matters a lot in regards to what the author is talking on– Food delivery in the South is largely a joke. I don’t want cold McDonald’s fries. Our cooking is 100% healthier and yummier than the limited options we have of delivered food. Eating fast food 30 minutes after it’s been ordered is definitely not appetizing. Also.. Obesity is definitely liked to fast food more than home cooking.

      Eating out has its perks, but in defending eating out, don’t bash eating in. We are not all neglecting our families when we cook for them. Cooking for people is basically the highest form of flattery in my culture.

      1. Sam, have you considered that, even if most Americans cook/eat at home, other factors leading to obesity may be lack of physical activity (as in: hours spent in front of the computer or TV, driving your car when you can bike or walk) and snacking (think candy bars, chips, cheesy dips)? Also, to say that eating out helps with portion control is just not true for middle class America – most middle-of-the-road restaurants and below compete on the quantities of food offered (think The Olive Garden and similar chains where “one portion” could easily feed 4 people of normal appetite).

        It all comes down to values: If you value more eating out than cooking/eating at home, go for it. Your financial savviness makes it feasible for you.

  53. Have you heard of this thing called culture? Food is a central part of it and if most of us stopped cooking as you suggest it’d be a pretty sad future. As a US American you might not be familiar with this but in Europe the experience of designing, preparing and consuming meals is pretty central to our identity particularly in the South.

    There are also quite a lot of weird logical jumps in your article that are perhaps a little more surprising coming from a finance guy. For example, I seriously would not dare to eat your Thanksgiving Turkey knowing about your (non-)cooking habits. As with most things in life, you get better at cooking the more you do it. So someone who doesn’t cook most days is likely not capable of cooking a decent meal, let alone a sophisticated one that lots of judging relatives will be tasting. So your advice to cook only on the rare occasions where you have time just doesn’t work. Either you cook often or you cook shit.

    Then what is it with your obsession with valuing and measuring things? Time is money, sure, but only while I’m at work. Your advice (like much on this page) is really only for people whose aim of growing their financial wealth trumps all other goals in life.

    You mention kids…wouldn’t you want to set a good example by demonstrating that life isn’t being served on a silver plate for them? That they have to work hard in life and invest time, care and thought into their goals? Wouldn’t you want to teach them cooking so they are independent enough to take care of themselves when moving out and without the financial means to eat healthy take-away?

    Also the marriage reference is a funny one. I’m not sure a marriage that involves daily cooking is going to suffer more than a marriage where one partner goes out and dines with their network “as much as possible” as you suggest.

    I do like a provocative article from time to time but this one is just full of contradictions and based on the premise of someone who probably thinks that your entire life can be measured against $$$.

    There is certainly some truth to the whole obesity point and it’s interesting that despite high rates of home cooking people seem to be getting fatter every year. I would argue that many people have very different perceptions of what constitutes “cooking” – putting on a pasta and splashing a highly salted tomatoe sauce on top certainly is not what a civilized person would call cooking. I still remember a Jamie Oliver show from 10 years ago where a bunch of American kids couldn’t even tell the difference between a tomatoe and potatoe, or between a courgette and an eggplant. Freaking hell, I wouldn’t want to eat their parents food, that’s for sure!

    No wonder people cook shit when they do. This is certainly not gonna get better by telling your kids to avoid cooking as much as possible.

      1. Forget the lack of an invite, I found it funnier to think of sophisticated and turkey in the same sentence.

        There is minimal sophistication in cooking a Turkey. Its literally a little oil and spice rub down, an oven and a thermometer. That will get you to the 98% mark, the remaining 2% are the little flavor tricks and techniques people learn/develop along the way.

        And regarding your judgmental relatives; honestly, the funniest and most memorable holidays food-wise for us have been when someone screws up. That one time my aunt made the most starchy and pasty gravy of all time? Still the most memorable, and we all laugh about it pretty much every year.

  54. David Again

    Sam I think this article is running into is a large income gap between your readers and your peers. Maybe I’m wrong, and it’s just me, but with the kind of money I make it is by far the cheaper option to spend the time.
    That said I only truly cook 1 meal a day and that’s dinner and it’s a shared activity with my loved ones. If it’s a meal just for me it’s time I optimize as much as possible.

    I guess another possibility is that I don’t appreciate the caliber of opportunity cost of not having a side hustle?

    1. It’s probably a good point, although I do say in the very first paragraph about my various income series.

      This post somehow got picked up by Google Android news feed or something, that drove like 50,000 new first time visitors in two days.

      1. Congratulations on all the new visits! Or maybe not congratulations…
        I must admit that on my first reading I didn’t regard the first paragraph as a caveat.
        Still, I imagine that most of those new viewers don’t have a point of reference for making six or more figures a year and the impact that has on ones lifestyle choices.

  55. “At least with food delivery and restaurants, they portion out their meals so you don’t eat too much.”

    There’s a lot going on in this post, but of everything I read this stuck out to me the most. Weight is gained by consuming more calories than you spend each day, and the truth is that, even if the portions are small, restaurant food is, in general, extremely calorie dense.

  56. I love to cook. Give me a glass of wine, some music and good conversation with my husband any day of the week! Of course I cook and he does the dishes. I do the laundry and he does the garbage – it’s a good fit. We are together with our 11 and 14 year old most nights with no electronics at the table and we converse about school, world events or just fun stuff! This summer we did “mom-a-nomics” and had he son pick out a full meal from my mom’s cookbook and look up the best deals and what store for ingredients, went shopping so they know the layout of the stores (and where they hide the good spices in bulk) and had them prepare the meal so they knew the true meaning of time management. I think these are wonderful life lessons to give the boys a foundation for their lives ahead. Yes we do convenience and eating out but I like to think the basics are still good to learn. (although I can mend a shirt but could never sew one!!)

    1. The logic of taking your hourly rate and multiplying it by the time it takes you to cook and saying that is the cost of the meal is flawed. Time does equal money. But only if that time could be spent earning money. If someone has one job and they are salaried, they come home and spend time making dinner. They would not be earning any money during that time anyway. So putting the time in to save money on eating out is actually money earned.

  57. YES! Thank you so much for this article. I don’t regret the hours I’ve saved and the delicious food I’ve enjoyed that would take me hours to make from scratch not to mention the specific ingredients I would have to source.

  58. Adam Tiffany

    I disagree with this so much, I don’t even know where to start.

    I’m not willing to elaborate why I disagree because that takes too much work. It’s much easier to complain.

  59. Cindy in South

    Uhmmmmmm no, just no. I live in a very rural area. I grocery shop twice a month at the Walmart that is 20 miles away. I cook food for the week on Saturday, or throw dried beans in a crockpot with spices and let it cook while I am at work. Ditto with baked potatoes or baked sweet potatoes. It literally takes me less than two minutes to prep and do that and it the meal is ready when I come home. I eat it with a salad. You can buy salad premade kits if you are too tired or lazy. So, it is usually on the table in under three minutes. I would say this is the same in an urban area but again, I live rural, so I am only guessing. I just found your website so I hope your other financial advice is a little bit better????

    1. Thank you! I was thinking that the advice contained in this particular article was beyond nonsensical. Thank you for the confirmation. When I travel for work, buying meals costs me on average $600ish a month just for myself. I am very skilled cook and while at home I can eat very well and healthy with minimal time spent at around $80 a week for two people.

    2. The Social Capitalist

      Wow! Satire? Not even April Fools. $16.50*4*365.25= $24106/yr. For a typical family. That’s your 401k and IRA right there. Subtracting what my family spends on average (and we eat too much) there’s still $12 grand left. Multiply that by 18 yrs. with interest and thats $533k +! Way too much to leave on the restaurant table. And you haven’t calculated tips into your budget. My personal calculation is that if my family ate out lunch and dinner Only we would spend $28k in a low cost of living area. Stoopid.

      Most Americans may recommend eating at home but my experience is that less than 50% do so.

      Eating out carries abundantly more calories with it- which you know. And we know it’s eating out that’s pretty much made people obese. So, it seems you are trying to make a larger point here because defending $5.25/ meal isn’t doing it.

      That facts can be twisted? Arguments go both ways? Unsure. It’s not that you don’t have valid criticisms but each one has a hint of – that’s not really going to happen so go help your spouse cook some pasghetti, and you’ll save some money.

    3. My husband and I shop and cook similarly, although we live in an urban area. At most we are cooking dinner 2-3x a week, regularly use a Crock-Pot, cook in large batches, and have done so long enough that prep is a breeze. Shopping is a little different, there are things we get weekly but we stick to a list.

  60. Thank you for writing this article from a financial standpoint. Ordering and eating out tends to get a bad reputation when it comes to saving money. I have been using delivery services for my groceries (2x a month through Prime Now) and Doordash for my weekend meals. I noticed I have a better quality of life, I can choose the type of food to get and there is no cleaning nor planning involved. Also, I factor in the time needed to prepare to go to a grocery store, your gas & mileage. I tried to make home cooked meals with the intent to save money and I found out that cooking at home as a single person does not always mean savings. You will end up with more ingredients (sometimes will expire due to its size) and you will lose time after work and on weekends due to food prep. I think the secret is to combine the benefits of home cooking/prep and ordering out – 1. Be mindful of the cost per order, 2. Plan how many servings you can get per order, 3. Minimize your cooking ingredients to 3 or 4 the most, and 4. Set a budget per order or per meal.

    1. You’re hsing delivery services to order groceries. This guy is advocating for delivery from restaurants. I deliver food for one of those services and it is downright outrageous how much it costs for food delivery. I’m not complaining though because it just means more income for me because of all those suckers

    2. Quality of life. That is key!

      As a SAHD, I’m so thankful there’s a proliferation of healthy food delivery options now. Hard to watch a baby, and now toddler while also cooking at the same time sometimes.

  61. sean Mccune

    Have you considered meal prepping in this equation? This involves making a large amount of food in a few hours for the rest of the week. The food can be portioned for each meal so that you don’t even have to think about overeating. I find meal prep allows me to save time and maintain better focus throughout the weekday rather than trying to figure out where to order food, what type, etc.

  62. I’m really not at all surprised by this latest article. Ever since Financial Samurai married, he’s been changing… The other year he posted something about picking out the best luxury SUV… What readers must understand is that FS isn’t frugal, he is, in fact, a multi-millionaire. It would not surprise me that sometime in the future you’ll read topics such as “Choosing the best Maid or Butler for your home” or “The Best Bottled Water Vintages” and, of course, endorsing Donald Trump since he Cares about the average middle class household with his big, beautiful tax cuts… Someone else here mentioned about shopping at Whole Foods… This place is definitely out of my league these days…

    1. What the hell does Donald Trump have to do with this?

      Or maybe Sam will end up endorsing a Democratic candidate because of course, their policies of mass migration from the Third World for cheap labor are so great for American wages and workers they claim to care about, right?

      Leave politics out of this, it’s a cooking discussion.

      1. I love Trump. And eating out. But we try to cook at home more, because with 2 teen boys, eating out is almost $100 per

  63. This post brought to you by Uber eats and GrubHub. What kind of idiots do they think read this and believe it. Cooking your own meals not only saves you an abundance of money but also allows you to live a healthier lifestyle if you so choose. Of course eating out makes for a nice time but it would drive the average person into poverty if they did that every meal.

    1. You have to realize that UberEats and DoorDash and GrubHub are actually perpetual loss makers. That means that it’s costing them more to pay drivers and incentivize restaurant owners. How is this possible you say? Well… it’s venture capital funding. They’re taking investor dollars, and burning them up on your food deliveries in order to… gain market share. What does this mean to you? It means that food delivery is actually available to Americans at LESS THAN ITS ACTUAL COST. It’s actually a pretty good deal, if you eat out….

  64. His entire premise is built on the ASSUMPTION that people are *actually* cooking at home, with no attempt at providing statistics to support this.

    He quotes actual obesity statistics, then implies a relationship to home cooking based on the push-back COMMENTS people have made to his previous articles???

    This is beyond embarrassing. Two of the biggest contributors to rising obesity rates is people’s increased reliance on fast/restaurant food, and on unhealthy pre-packaged processed foods.

    Finances are your thing. Leave nutrition science to those more qualified — or at least those more interested.

    1. People are mostly eating at home. One study said the percentage is 82%, a jump from 10 years ago.

      And the overwhelming feedback from all my income posts and this post is that most people eat at home.

      Don’t be embarrassed. See the world for what it is.

      Now if you’d like to share something about your cooking/eating habits and your financial habits, that would be great.

      1. You are confusing “eat at home” with “makes own food”. A lot of food that people eat at home is actually premade/prepackaged/canned/frozen etc. It is loaded with calories, sodium, no fiber etc. If people actually MADE their own food, it would help the obesity epidemic a lot.

        I have a lot more to say in response to this article, but I’ll leave it there for now.

  65. As a financial consultant this article puts the industry to shame. The author is trying to justice the value of time vs. The importance of cost reduction and total savings. For the vast majority of Americans the luxury to dine out all the time isnt there, the problem is people still do it. Could you imagine saving and additional 2 to 3 thousand a year, compound that over a 40 year time period on top of the ability to invest that money. Ots staggering what those savings can be, all in the name of eating healthier at home rather than for convenience.

    I see these articles come up from time to time and whoever allows for these puff pieces needs to take a look at their responsibility to their readers.

    1. Whether young or old, saving implies gives you more economic security.

    2. Unless you are ultra wealthy, almost every example the author gives is nonsense.

    3. The important factor is time value of money. Sure there is nothing wrong for enjoying the little things, in moderation.

    4. There should be a stronger focus on the importance of long term saving over convenience. This is why the vast majority of upcoming retirees dont have nearly enough for retirement.

    5. This puff peice needs to present a better understanding of financial literacy rather than pandering to a readers wants and giving a green light to wasteful spending.

    1. There are tens of millions of people in cities around the country (and world) who value their time at $50-$100 an hour. If you spend $50-$100 on food delivery for your family’s dinner and you save 1-2 hours out of your night, you actually came out ahead. I realize this is not everyone who reads this blog but quite a lot of folks who read this are “upper middle” class earners who’s most limited resource is time, not money. Just a different perspective you need to understand.

      1. Correction: your non-working time is worth exactly $0. Unless you are cooking instead of working, the value of cooking time makes 0 sense. The relationship, injury risk, etc is all emperical and individual and represents shockingly bad advice.

        1. You just contradicted yourself. As you said, relationship, etc are based on the individual. So just because “your” non-working time is worth $0 to you, doesn’t mean that it is $0 to everybody else. My non-working time is actually priceless when spending it with my family. I’m not saying that what is true for me is true for everyone – but I sincerely enjoy my time with my spouse and my kid after work. I moved from a startup job to a more stable one with a 15% pay cut just so I wont have to work nights and weekends. I turn down interviews for higher paying jobs (at least until my kid goes to high school) due to the fact that I value my family time. I do agree with a lot of the comments here though. I’ve been blessed to be in a situation where we are financially flexible and do not need to scrimp on our daily budget. Our food budget is still a concern though and while we cannot afford to eat out or get food delivered every night, we do tend to mix it up a little and make it a point to cook during weekends and at least a few times on the weekdays. I think what people don’t understand is that financial advice itself is very specific to an individual. There is no one size fits all financial strategy. Again, I am not saying whether the author’s advice on eating out vs cooking will work or not. It could very well be all rubbish to you, but it may make sense to others. As with any other financial advice, I believe that you should take whatever works for you and disregard what does not.

  66. Hey Sam, Thanks for this post!! It is a great reminder to not play small. It is unfortunate to see how many negative comments this post received. I have to say that there are several different kinds of people that read this.. Those that believe they will save their way to a comfortable retirement and then there are those who believe in raising their income to provide for the lifestyle that they want with enough savings for active investing, knowing that over time the income from their investments will be more than their active income and their lifestyle bills. So for those that want to clip coupons and eat raimen noodles at home this post is disgusting. For those that are looking to enjoy their life to the best of their ability and believe in their ability to earn as much income as they want.. this post is a great way to show how eating out or having a chef prepare meals is a better use of time. Not to mention the networking phase as you mentioned.

    1. Yes, think big folks! Clipping coupons ain’t gonna get you to financial independence.

      Look at the health and wealth data for Americans. The numbers are terrible. Folks gotta do better.

  67. I have known people over the years who ate out most of the time! Almost all of them were obese, if not morbidly obese, like one guy I knew, never cooked at home and ate out, morning, noon and night and weighed 600+ lbs.! Eating out, among other bad habits, supersized him! Eating out, the majority of the time, for most people, is unhealthy!

    1. How does a 600 lb. guy actually eat “out”? He would probably need a crane to take him to the restaurant, no?

  68. Wrong, wrong, wrong! Eating in is healthier, cheaper and for me, more time efficient! I literally do not have time to go out to eat, wait for delivery, wait for grocery delivery! That would be way more expensive for me and waste way more time! I also am an accomplished cook and like to know exactly what is in my food! There is no way I would ever rely on eating out for the reasons I stated! Hey, if that’s what you like, then more power to you! By the way, I am not one of the obese people cause I eat my own home cooked, healthier food…

    1. He clearly stated in the article that being an accomplished cook or enjoying cooking was an exception, and that if that is the case you should cook at home.

    2. Jack Blade is right.

      And actually, he clearly states that even if that be the case, he thinks you should still eat out at least 51% of the time.

      “By cooking at home, you can only save so much money. Yes, cooking is great if you enjoy cooking and are a great cook. If you are a stay at home parent, then, by all means, develop your cooking skills to provide for your family.

      But even if only a few of the items pertain to you, I still say it’s better to spend more time ordering delivery or eating out, than it is to cook at home. There are plenty of health conscious restaurants and vendors today too. And whether you spend 51% bringing food home or 80%, that’s up to you.”

  69. If you leave at 7:00 AM, and your toddlers leave at 7:45….how are they getting there? Are they driving themselves?

  70. I almost always agree with your analyses Sam, but not this time. Like most parents I love spending time with my kids, but I also have great childhood memories of dinner around the kitchen table, my mom’s recipes, etc., and I’d like to recreate that for my kids. Even if it were the same price I’d sacrifice some play time with the kids for me, in order to give THEM those kinds of memories. Like so many things in parenting, it’s just not the main focus to do whatever the parents would most prefer. And, of course, if you have access to high quality ingredients, then you can whip up a great and healthy dinner for much much less than it costs to buy 4 people a salty, oversized restaurant dinner. We buy dinner out for special occasions, or when our schedules are jammed by sports practices or other activities and we can’t get it together to shop/cook. But most other times, the combination of healthier, cheaper, and creating family meal memories wins out.

    1. Wow…. What the hell is this junk?

      By all means go ahead and spend all the money you want on food delivery services and prepared food but know that you’re sacrifice more than your paycheck. Your health is stake here and for my money cooking at home offers way more quality and bang for the buck.

      Cooking doesn’t have to be a drag. It’s also an important life skill.

    2. Sounds great Matthew.

      One of the things I like to do is bring home leftovers.

      My fondest memories were going out to these amazing Chinese and Malaysian banquets with my parents and trying new foods.

  71. Mike Chalke

    This has to be the most illogical and finacially irresponsible article I’ve read in a long time. Fast food or Uber Eats is generally not healthy and costs a pretty penny. I’ve been cooking for over a decade. I’ve used Youtube videos to help learn how to fine tune my cooking. I’ve been using services such as Home Chef, Butcher Box, Hello Fresh and Home Chef to try new and interesting meals. It costs about 60 bucks a week with the meal kits for two people, even cheaper with Butcher Box. All have high quality meats and seafood to cook and prepare @ around 10 – 12 dollars a meal for two people. Cooking takes, on average, 20 minutes, another 10 – 15 to clean up. Where can you eat grass fed and grass raised meat for 12 dollars a person?

    You really are nuts.

  72. Here’s my article:

    Do a balance between cooking and eating out. Do make informed decisions. Prioritize your time. Don’t fall into bad routines. Don’t consistently favor time over a hot stove over time with your family. Don’t waste time or money. Have a nice life and don’t get real fat.


    1. This is ludachris, we do eat out some,but we cook healthy and meal time is family time.Just like when I taught my kids to cook starting when they were 8. You obviously are not educated on cooking or are very lazy. We can have a healthy meal ready in a half hour.Also there are things like crockpot and airfryers to help. This is the stupidest article I’ve ever read in my life. Go eat some fast food or go to some restaurant that will over charge you.Did you fall on your head when you were little or are just too lazy to cook a healthy diet?

    2. I want to comment on this post! The main post is an insult to humanity! Idiots are pushing an agenda to keep families away from the dinner table!

      1. Trading Goods

        Wait… what? Regardless of whether you cook, eat out, or order delivery, aren’t you still eating with family at a dinner table? Are you saying that when your family eats out or gets food delivered, you guys do it individually?

  73. Ozar Dofwiz

    This is such a load of BS.
    Where should I start … maybe I like the food I cook better than the overpriced stuff on sale, produced under unhygienic circumstances.
    Delivery services … don’t get me started … it arrives shaken up, cold, the delivery guy ate the fries … and then he wants a tip!
    Cooking for your family and playing with your kids doesn’t have an opportunity cost … if you figure every waking hour is worth money, you’ll never enjoy anything (unless you’re being paid to do it?)
    I hope you’ve got some better financial advice than this.

    1. Shirley A Leikness

      I totally agree with you, I love to cook and I make healthy meals, sometimes I freeze them for later or I make chicken, roast beef, or meatloaf and that is the meat fir my lunch next day! I know my hands are washed and clean when preparing food. I was an Operating scrub nurse for 16 yrs. I still work a 40 hr week job as a RN and it only takes me 30 minutes to whip up a healthy meal, the entire family helps from setting the table to rinsing dishes and putting them in dishwasher. My grandson since the time he was crawling and sitting on floor was in my kitchen playing with can goods and pots and pans. My daughter when little would tell others my mommy is a good cooker! By the way, I can out cook any chef and I also was a single parent. I had time to teach my child to read at 3 yrs old. By the way, we didn’t watch tv, we read and did crafts or gardening as a learning experience. My 3 yrs old grandson helped me dig a garden and I grew his favorite veggies and fruit and we went seed shopping together. I made part of it into a butterfly garden planted flowers and plants that attracted butterflies. I had time to teach him tee ball and soccer in the back yard! Money isn’t everything it is how you save it and spend it. Life is about slowing down and smelling the roses and by the way I have a rose garden too! I don’t need designer clothes or purses just good clean clothes and I have never looked like a rag a muffin either. I’m 61 and look 40 or less, not over wt, and stay in very good shape and health too! .Enjoy life and keep God close by and everything falls into place!

    2. I mean, there are some decent reasons but almost none of them are financial. If the argument was “you would be happier if you didn’t cook from home” then this would make more sense. This article is only for those with high expendable income.

    3. How would you suggest to play with your kid while cooking? Not playing with your kids is the opportunity of cooking. I would never let a toddler play with my while I’m boiling water and frying and cutting food.

      How do you do it and how many kids do you care for?

    4. The tipping is really expensive in this country. If you think about going out even for a bowl of ramen which costs $10, you obligated to tip $2. The tipping gets out of control and adds almost a side dish to the meal for not much gain.

  74. From a purely financial standpoint, it might or might not be wise, depending on how much your time is worth…

    But from a lifestyle standpoint, I prefer to cook at home more often than not. For my family, it’s a time to turn off the devices, talk to each other, savor veggies from the garden or fresh local ingredients. I enjoy going to the farmer’s market, meeting folks from the neighborhood, searching for inexpensive local wines… Even if I didn’t enjoy these things, it’s not that hard or time consuming to make pasta or steamed fish over rice and a lot healthier in general.

    In other words, home cooked food is tied up with how I relate to myself, my family and the broader community. It’s not just “fuel.”

  75. Thanks Sam for having the courage writing an article you know you’ll will get crushed on. It absolutely makes sense for family making >1.5 to 2x of median income for the geographic location they live in and is the exact same logic written more elegantly that I am try to convince my wife. Keep up the good work and don’t Mind people who make loud statements but have poor logic.

  76. Skip Warren

    I have to disagree. We spend roughly $300.00 a week in food for a family of 3. Whole Foods, Safeway & Trader Joes. We spend another 90 to $130 with tip for Saturday night out dinner. So lets say my family of 3 ate out or had dinner delivered 5 days a week at $60.00 including delivery charge and or tip. That same $300.00 would not provide breakfast or lunch plus snacks to stay over weight or obese. I live in Walnut Creek CA a nice suburb of the Bay Area with great dinning options.

    My single 24 year old son lives in San Francisco. He used to eat out or take out 90% of his meals. He now cooks or prepares at least 50% of time and saves $300 to $400.00 a month.

    1. Isn’t $300 + $100 a week = $400 a week = $1,600 a month for a family of three? That’s the budget I’m talking about in my of my income series posts. That food budget makes most Americans mad.

      I would tell your 24 year old son to go out there and eat with clients and colleagues as much as he eats alone at home. Build that network.

  77. Ever heard of meal preps? Spend 1 maybe 2 hours on a Sunday and cook a week’s worth of food. Then all you do every night is heat it up and have minimal dishes. I even make all my lunches- a simple deli meat sandwich, chips, and yogurt that I throw together in less than 10 minutes before leaving for work in the morning. 80% of your arguments aren’t even financial in nature- spend more time doing what you what, with who want, shopping and dishes are annoying. From a financial perspective there’s just no way cooking at home is not the better option.

      1. That’s a very valid point. I’m an absolute creature of habit and I don’t mind eating the same thing for lunch every day or having the same thing for dinner weeks at a time. If you wanted variety, finding different recipes and cooking new recipes each week could get annoying.

  78. AreTheySerious?

    This is an absolute joke. Buy in bulk. Freeze n cook as you need… You’d spend and average of $45+ for two people on decent take away meal and don’t forget the delivery fee on top of that.. $6/$8. So if you wanna do the math for a weekly budget.. you’re f’ed in the head if you think you’re better of with take out every night. Whoever wrote this is a obviously a nutjob

  79. Bryan Spitzer

    Let me see if I have this right. I make $100 an hour. So it’s a waste of my time to spend an hour cooking a meal for myself that costs $5. Instead I should go pay $50 for a professional to cook me a meal? Even though I’m still not making $100 at the restaurant… So instead of spreading $5 I’m spending $50.
    Not only is this terrible financial advice. It’s terrible logic.

    1. It actually makes a lot of sense. I had someone who worked for the SBA tell me something similar with a contractor who owned his own business.

      He charged $50 an hour and it took him 4 hours to do billling. Instead of his opportunity cost of $200, he could pay a book-keeper $10 an hour and the book-keeper could do it in half the time or two hours.

      The logic is sound, but the question is, will the contractor go out and get the extra work? Or will behavior get in the way?

      The author is saying save time, and have more flexibility. Like have a shorter commute and have more time to go to the gym. Most people won’t go to the gym even with the extra time. We’re probably all also guilty of double-budgeting our time.

      All the other is doing is offering an alternative viewpoint. Devils advocate that simplifying daily tasks, decisions, and workload gives you the opportunity and possibility of a better quality of life. If there is just a chance of a better life. We should all encourage alternative viewpoints.

      1. Matthew Fry

        That math only works if the time you spend cooking (or accounting) would otherwise be spent on paid work. But the author is specifically recommending substituting unpaid activities. It may be good advice for a healthy work life balance but it’s not financially sound. Americans not earning $200,000+ simply cannot afford to buy back time like this.

  80. This is the stupidest thing I have ever read.

    But to be honest, I still live with my mother and I am 29 years old.

  81. Disclaimer: I like to judge other people without offering any nuggets of wisdom or information about myself.

    1) Your time is valuable.
    You’re retired so by your math the cost is zero.

    2) Your marriage is valuable.
    Again, you’re retired. Help your wife in the kitchen.

    3) Your toddlers grow up quickly.
    …and they can quickly help you in the kitchen. It’s a fun bonding time.

    4) You aren’t a professional cook.
    That is the most elitist attitude I have ever heard. Also if you are retired and making your own dinner, then you are cooking for a living.

    5) You’re too generous with the ingredients.
    Just eat less? Rather than pay someone else to give you less?

    6) You might injure yourself.
    Oh the humanity! A boo boo!

    7) You need your hands to play and earn.
    See above. How many people do you know who have cut off their hands when making a croc-pot meal?

    8) Food delivery apps are in abundance.
    No wait. This is the most elitist attitude I have ever heard. Why spend $10 and some time doing something fun for your family when you can not only pay someone to cook for you you can also pay someone to drive it over to you. Would you like a bedpan and catheter to go with that?

    9) Going out to eat spices things up.
    It only spices things up if it’s a rare treat. Didn’t year learn anything from those “Christmas Ever Day” specials? Also One of the best things a family can do is sit around their own table and take things slow and have a nice family conversation.

    10) No need for cleanup.
    Sponges? If a family can afford to go out to eat 7 days a week, they can afford a dishwasher.

    11) No need to spend as much time grocery shopping.
    Again, You’re retired. Your time isn’t that important or scarce.

    12) You’re not out there winning business.
    This objection does not pertain top middle class households in the least. It’s a good example, but only for those very select high profile sales type people.

    13) You fall into a scarcity mindset.
    Or you’re just a normal family that’s not so far removed from the rest of the world that you think eating out every meal is less expensive than eating at home.

  82. Derek Greensides

    I think your entire article is BS. Eating out or ordering delivery is way more expensive. At home food prep can be family affair.

    Then again, I’m still living with three roommates in my 30s, stuck at a dead end job I can’t get out of.

  83. I live in SF and do fairly well. On the one hand, I get it: it’s a lot of time to spend cooking and cleaning.

    On the other, it’s very hard to find restaurants that source really high quality organic produce and ethically raised meats. And this is so much more expensive than making it yourself.

    Additionally, there’s something very relaxing about going to the store and getting fruits and veggies, finding a new one you’ve never seen before, and turning it into a giant batch of tasty, healthy food. You can always just eat a little and freeze the rest for variety.

    1. If I could eat out for 5.50 a meal and not cook you betcha. Also the statement that eating out is portioned better, or implied is crazy. Maybe in large cities where they have healthier choices but the potions I see at restaurants are huge.

      1. Matthew Fry

        The only time I don’t overeat at restaurants is when I don’t like the meal.

        Of course, I can’t afforf the fancy places whete you walk away hungry.

  84. I mostly eat lunch out at work. Definitely too much hassle buying ingredients at a supermarket and preparing/bringing food, when you earn as much as I do. And keeping good bread fresh or needing to be toasted at work…

  85. We spend much too much time on cooking a cleaning up. My wife cooks and I clean. Sometimes it takes me an hour to clean, though usually less and yes we have a dishwasher. She often takes much longer to cook… It seems to be Chinese culture to make complicated things and take a long tiem doing it… We have discussed this, but nothing seems to change. So one parent looks after the children (4 years and under 1 year) while the other cooks or cleans. Only once have we ever ordered food delivery, when we were on vacation in Singapore. It is definitely less good than going to a restaurant but even more expensive. But going out to eat takes a lot of time as well. We did more of that prior to the baby coming along. We are getting more delivery of food from supermarkets actually. Though I quite like food shopping but hate most other sorts of shopping especially for clothes.

      1. Eating definitely takes less time than cooking and on bad days less time than cleaning for sure. It’s just crazy I think…

  86. TheEngineer

    Let’s look at food from the LIFE FRAMEWORK – Financial, Relationship and Health.

    FINANCIAL – on the average, eating out will cost minimally 3X the foods you cooked at home. It is the minimal markup for profitability in Food and Beverage Industry.

    Most places will cater their foods to certain tier of clients, 30K, 40K, 50K…100K, 200K, 1MIL.
    The 3X multiples is calculated based on quality of food, services and ambient.

    Unless you are making 3X the income of the clients at the particular food joint, you should not frequent the place on a regular basis. You will never get ahead FINANCIALLY.

    RELATIONSHIP – food is sacred to a family structure. We have been catching, preparing and eating food in a family structure for thousands of years. It is part of our intimate social architecture.

    Members of a family who cook and eat together stay together!

    For the 27 years of our marriage, the foods that prepared from the hands of my wife beat hands down the foods that came out from 5 stars hotels that I often experienced when traveled on projects – it made with care down to the grain of salt just for me!

    My daughter who often came home on the weekend drooled on the foods her mom prepared from simple ingredients. It is what keeping her coming back!

    Cooked foods at home create memories and loves that last a lifetime.

    HEALTH – Recently I am moonlighting one day a week as a bartender as a memory lane walk of college years. A customer ordered a salad, I walked in the kitchen and looked for a glove to prepare the salad. There is not a single glove to be found in the back kitchen. Everyone was using bare hands to transfer the pre-cut salad bin into the small bowl.

    I don’t how most of you feel about ingesting foods from the bare hands of restaurant employees – this is a reality in Food and Beverage Industry everywhere in the world.

    Should you eat out? Absolutely, eating out is a must life experience especially when you are traveling. However, there is a cost to you and your family in you don’t have a proper Life Framework to measure price tag.

    1. I agree 100+%.

      MY income as a female in a male dominated industry was substantial…..not on the stars, but still up there. We could eat out as much as we wanted, but did not,

      I loved to cook, and in my 70’s still do.

      I am not interested in eating out except for the ritual celebrating something special.

      I prepare meals better, healthier and tastier than at least 95% of any restaurant we go to. I am not bragging…its simply the truth,

      I prepare meals as an expression of love to my family. We still eat at the family table….not plugged into,our phones, computer or other electronic device.

      I agree that sharing meals together brings the family together and that savoring recipes handed down through the family is a great way to remember and honor our departed loved ones.

      Children learn to expand their palate and enjoy vegetables that other children turn the nose up at by first having them at family meals. As a child my son learned to love the dreaded brussel sprout and just about any other vegetable I would serve him.

      I respect others’ points of view when it comes to food, but I believe the healthier choice is to eat well prepared home meals.

      1. TheEngineer

        Rosie – the fact that you are kicking ass in the male dominated industry and still coming home and put up a nutritious meals for your family, YOU ARE A WONDER WOMAN!

        I am so glad you did not call me a male chauvinist because I love my wife cooking. The opinion is written from a male point a view, but the cooking responsibility does not have to be just for women.

        It is all about team work. I happened to make a lot more money than my wife and she can whip up an awesome meal from nothing.

        The key take away is that foods cooked at home have more values than physical measurement in money!

        1. Mama Bear Finance

          I agree completely as well. A balanced between eating out and cooking at home is best!

  87. Charles Bronson

    Interesting point of view.

    This plan/logic isn’t feasible for a Household of 4 and an income of < $100,000 – even in Canada.

    So, nice little read for the 8% that live just below the 1%

    Would be equally interesting having this written from the opposite POV.

  88. Our household food budget is around $200 for three people. Our total annual income is below $50K. I’m retired on disability and have enough time and energy to bake bread and make dinners from scratch. I recently learned to make quite satisfactory homemade pizza because Domino’s is too much of a splurge.

    This article was an interesting look into a very different world, in which ordering food delivered or going out to eat are plausible solutions to the dinner dilemma.

  89. I can feel the wide grin on Sam’s face as the masses work themselves up into a stupor, gnashing their teeth, slamming their laptops shut. This post couldn’t be more true for many readers of this blog. It is for me.

    1. spaceassassin

      I sort of assumed the same grin imagining the potential clicks and comments that would follow; but when the closing question of the article addresses “most Americans,” I tried to think outside the small group of readers/commentors, which is clearly non-representative of most Americans.

      And Sam sought to argue “why cooking your own food more than 50% of the time to save money is a suboptimal financial decision,” and we ended up discussing the tastiness of home-cooked meals. If we are arguing about “financial” decisions, I think cooking at home wins, hands-down.

      Doing so may be a suboptimal decision for person-specific reasons related to time, energy, mental well being, happiness, etc., but I can’t imagine anyone is going to agree that it is a suboptimal financial decision, short term or long term. The small handful of people who will can generate income likely in unique ways that put themselves well outside the box of most Americans, the target audience.

      Nearly every single restaurant meal can be replicated or reproduced at a higher quality and healthier level at home for less money–the optimal financial decision for most Americans.

  90. I have to disagree but I’ll say that’s for my situation and not necessarily everyone’s situation.

    We don’t have kids. We find cooking fun. We find that it tastes better than eating out in almost all cases. The key was finding the right stuff from the right locations. Good butcher for certain meats, a certain grocery store for other meats and basics, and yet another grocery store for a few other hard to find items.

    But I know the focus of this blog is HCOL areas and higher incomes, so for professionals with kids, yeah, might we worth what you’re saying. I just can’t have someone else make my food regularly now that I can cook.

    1. Having kids is a game changer b/c they have MAX energy. And when you come home, you usually have Battery Low. To then have to play with enthusiasm and then cook, or vice versa takes a lot out of even the fittest person.

  91. Financial Freedom Countdown

    Sam, I’m not sure eating ordered food would be better cause ingredients are unknown in terms of calculating calories.

    Of course one advantage of ordering using the apps is portion control. If I cook I tend to eat more since there are leftovers.

    Do agree with you wrt time saving and division of labor.

    1. I do wonder whether one of the reasons why Americans are so overweight is b/c they don’t know how to cook the right AMOUNT of food, or they end up cooking in huge bulk and end up overeating as a result.

      Sure, time saving and division of labor is great.

  92. Same, I agree with you if you’re living in places like LA, SF and NYC and making 300k+ a year. There are plenty of high quality and healthy food delivery options and it doesn’t make sense to spend your time shopping/prepping/cooking just to possibly save a few $. I suspect some of the comments you’re seeing are from people in other parts of the country making far less (maybe 50k or less). Outside of major cities, prepared food and restaurants generally take a steep dive in terms of choice, quality and healthiness. It clearly would not be a good idea to suggest that someone making 40k a year eat at Applebee’s or McDonalds every night so they can “spend more time with their kids”.

    Our family has settled on some of the “meal in a box” services like Gobble, Blue Apron, etc. Overall, that seems to strike the best balance of time invested, quality of food and cost. Though it doesn’t take long to prepare (around 25 mins typically), I’m always the one to do it. That’s because I find that it helps me unwind from my day, and it allows my wife to spend time playing with out son.

    And my wife does other chores like laundry that i hate doing. Still, I’d definitley be arrested by the food budget policy considering we spend about 2k a month on food for a family of 3. Fully realize that we could buy everything at Costco and spend less than half that. But for a combo of eating out once a week, buying ogranic ingredients from local shops and “meals in a box” ,that’s what it ends up costing. Interesting point on the “scarcity mindset” that can come with focusing on cutting food budgets.

    1. This is correct. People ranting/complaining just need to realize that there are different perspectives out there. If your most precious resource is time, and you value that at $50-$100 an hour, you probably come out ahead spending $50-$100 on food delivery for your family if you save 1-2 hours in a night. But that’s not everyone’s current position in life so I understand why that might be unnerving for some.

    2. You’re right about the dichotomy. Not sure why some folks can’t see the other side.

      Blue Apron is good.. but the prep still does take a lot of time. But it is a good balance.

      We miss Munchery. All freshly prepped and just have to heat. Subscription service, rotating meals.

  93. This is the dumbest article ever written.

    Number 5 is the biggest bullshit ever written. Countless studies are written about how the reason why restaurants taste so good is because they use more butter and salt than you’d ever use at home

    You want to spend all that money justify it yourself, don’t look to an article for this crap.

    Yes, I’m overweight and will probably have to work for the rest of my life. But I’m saving money and enjoying not going out with friends and family.

    1. Matthew Fry

      Buying back your time from a chore you don’t enjoy is enough justification – for those wealthy enough to afford to do so.

  94. Ryan Lesson

    Another great article Sam. I actually cook close to 100% of my meals in a week. I’m by no means a professional chef. I have become very efficient at cooking large quantities of food in a timely manner. The one thing that is glossed over is your health. I don’t put a time or budget on being healthy. Since all these restaurants add unhealthy oils and sugars to their food, your only bet to get real healthy food is to cook it yourself.

    The benefits of being extremely healthy far outweigh any costs of trying to attain it. Yes, you will have more time if you’re not cooking but is that quality time? Are you in a good mood after a hard day of work? Can you match your children’s energy? If you are this healthy then you are always the best version of yourself!

    1. Agreed Ryan! I don’t know what’s gotten into Sam with this article. It seems unlike him. Almost feels like an April Fool’s Day post.

  95. Ahh the good old food budget. My wife and I have been doing monthly budgets ever since we graduated college (~15 years of budgeting). This has been the hardest budget reduce.

    Our current monthly budget is $1,500 for groceries and restaurants for a family of 4. We eat out once or twice a week, I eat out for lunch during the weekdays (3 or so times a week and pack lunch the other days) and the rest of meals are cooked. We mostly buy organic food and all that stuff. We also “usually” cook in mass for the week on the weekend though. It’s more efficient that way. You can have the crock pot going, while you cook something in the oven and the stove at the same time. The both of us are usually in the kitchen bumping into each other.

    Not sure I agree with your obesity argument though. I’ll need to look it up but Americans likely eat out a lot more than the rest of the world. Europe might be ahead of us though. So, there’s probably a positive correlation between eating out and obesity. My guess (no data behind this) would have been that home cook food is healthier than restaurant food. At least for us, we use only a handful of ingredients. Whereas, a restaurant likely throws stuff in there to make it taste better (Got to get those customers).

  96. I’ve never been a good cook and only enjoy cooking once every 3-6 months on average when I have the energy, am craving something in particular that I know how to make and have extra time. Some people find cooking relaxing and fun and that’s awesome. But I dread it lol. It takes too much out of me after a long day and never tastes that great ha.

    I really enjoyed getting Munchery deliveries when they were in business. Their Thanksgiving meal delivery was my favorite lol because that truly saved hours of cooking. The food was fresh, ready to heat (not frozen), and there were a lot of healthy choices. But alas they closed down.

    Fortunately SF has a lot of healthy delivery options from places that source local and organic ingredients and even raw foods and cold pressed juices. Now I’m craving an acai bowl. May just go order one now!

  97. I usually can agree with most points in your article, but saying that cooking your own food is not a good way to save money is silly. I do not cook and neither does my wife, but I am not going to pretend that it is not because of laziness and the fact we can afford not to have to cook our own meals that we can get away with it.

    I think the point is that if you are making 350k a year and barely making it in a HCOL area, does saving 500-1k a month on food make it worth it? Probably not for the reasons you stated in your article. But for the family of four living on 60k a year, that is a huge proportional cost savings.

    Lets not lose track of the fact that eating out every day is not financially feasible for the poor and low middle class.

  98. Way off base on this one. An increase in obesity has been tracking with the rise in food consumption outside of the household, prevalence of processed foods, and increase in caloric density of those processed foods. Eating cheaply, healthily and simply at home is one of the best ways to reduce cost over time and your waistline as well. I can appreciate the goal of the article but don’t see how your supporting arguments align with your conclusion.

  99. Your comment is applicable to someone who makes a lot of money and able to use that time to do so.
    1. You live in the bay area and makes less than 100K per year, your time outside of work really isn’t that valuable. (I understand if this is applicable to you) On the other hand, the restaurants that prepares your food takes a big margin in labor w cost of living being so high here

    2. You have kids. Kids like to “free play”, a lot of times by themselves. They really do not need to cling onto you 24/7 (unless they are infant or toddler)

    3. Your kids attention span is limited. Let’s say if you do not cook you want to use that time instead to teach them something. Young children can not hold out their attention more than 1/2 hour at once.

    4. Family of 4 – in high cost area you are spending at least 100 per day on outside food. And you have to spend time commuting to the restaurant, wait for a table, wait for the dishes to come out. True, you don’t need to do dishes or grocery shop or cook, but what about all that overhead? So you can get delivery, true, but kids can still make a mess of your house when you are eating in and you need to clean up as well. Eating at less expensive restaurants? Oh they are full of oil and salt and sugar

    5. For people with young kids – what is your time worth outside of work? Unless you have a grand parent or a nanny or spouse looking after the kids while you do your side hustle. Do you think your kids will allow you to focus hours at a time? They may play by themselves for 15 minutes but something is always needed from the kids, may it be diaper change, a glass of milk, cleaning up the mess they make, soothing a crying kid that fell down .. etc.

    6. If you plan and organize well, cooking a meal really doesn’t cost that much time. I do food prep on the weekend (usually 1/2 day including grocery shopping). Each weekday’s cooking time is less than 1/2 hour. Most dishes are taken care of by the dishwasher. Compare that to the overhead you spend waiting in a restaurant

    The answer to “Freeing up your time” I believe, is to have a full time house keeper. People in Asia countries like HK can do labor arbitrage for cheap – that free up a lot of time for the parents to do more meaningful stuff – not here in the U.S. To have someone do chores for you cost a fortune

  100. I agree 100%. My desire to cook after work since having kids has dropped significantly, especially when it is so easy now to get healthy fresh food delivered and avoid the cleanup. Fresh meal delivery scanned into a smart oven is also awesome.

      1. My wife and I never had kids. We had my sister and our nephew for 5 or 6 days, we were all off and at the end I just wanted to crawl into a hole and sleep for a week. I’m a low energy person… but instead of a side hustle I’ve been soaking up overtime at $36 an hour.

        I live in the midwest and we gross just over 100k, but when we were first here trying to make it on $14 an hour one income grocery shopping was our outing and cooking was our hobby. We got to be good home cooks. I get incredibly frustrated at restaurants that make food worse than we do, and I include time to cook it in that math… but there are a lot of restaurants we’re not going back to.

        1. Hi Karl,

          Thanks for being honest! I crawl into my bed every night exhausted as well! My day usually starts between 5am – 6am and doesn’t end until 11pm – midnight. But at least I get a 30 – 60 minute nap after lunch. Preschool has been a Godsend after 30 months of being a SAHD.

          If you make better food than at restaurants, congrats and feel blessed!


  101. “Why do most Americans recommend preparing food at home when most Americans are overweight and not financially fit?”

    Most Americans recommend preparing food at home because actually preparing fresh meals at home is the healthiest and typically the least expensive choice–nearly everyone would agree. There is no real debate here.

    The fact that most Americans are overweight is due to processed food that is not prepared at home and/or all the prepackaged “food” that is purchased and said-to-be “prepared” at home.

    And it depends on your definition of financially fit, but most Americans barely earn enough to get by, let alone reach a level that a select few would label as “financially fit.” The phrase “financial fitness” probably isn’t even the vocabulary of “most” Americans. A relatively common term for those in the personal finance world isn’t so frequently used when you step outside the bubble.

    I like a lot of your articles, but this one seems a little tone-deaf. And Intro to Psychology and Sociology courses would help you answer nearly any question that starts with “why do most [humans] do…” anything question.

  102. The reason to cook yourself is not to save $ but to save your family’s health (which probably saves you money in the long run). I’m sure we’re not saving money with the organic ingredients we buy, making our own bread and farmers market shopping but I know what goes into our food. We go out probably once per week. I spend about $1200 per month on groceries and maybe an additional $300 at Costco for a family of 5. Happy that we can afford to do so and would rather cut back in other areas than lower our food budget. I am a SAHM so my husband can just arrive home for our family dinner and have time with the kids, but even when I worked part time we cooked at home. Totally worth it. And kids get excited about our Sunday dessert night and homemade pizza on Friday nights with a movie. My husband is a fabulous cook so he cooks weekends and I cook during the week (and I am pretty decent as well).

  103. Good take. If you have the drive to succeed and do more then your time is not worth cooking. By kicking butt in my job I may be able to make an extra $15000 which would make up for the eating out. Personally coming is my wife’s favorite thing to do so I don’t adhere to this.

  104. Agree with most of this but probably #5 is not really a big factor in rising obesity. The biggest factor is “cheap” calories from fast food and processed food. With takeout/eating out, you do have to be careful to moderate calorie intake because restaurants are the ones who slather fat and sugar in your food to make it taste better. But if you’re eating the right dishes/places, should be no issue.

  105. Good point about 70%+ of Americans who are overweight and will die from heart disease and the majority of Americans having less than $100,000 in retirement savings, yet they all disapprove of your food budget!

    That is so funny! Listening to the typical American about food and budget advice has to be the dumbest thing. You know the people most mad at your suggestion of not cooking are also probably the least wealthy Americans. “I get mad when I spend more than $10 a day on food.” What does she make? Less than $50K a year?

    My wealthiest friends have a home chef that prepares the most delicious and healthy meals.

    Amazing what a scarcity mindset people have.

    1. Agree.

      Maybe people should stop wasting their mental capacity with ways to save a few bucks on food, and use all that time/energy to get creative and make some money!

  106. Luckily, I enjoy cooking and I’m a great cook and I’m a SAHD.
    I think it’s good for my wife to spend time with the kid when she gets home. I can spend time cooking and stay out of the way. I already spend a ton of time with him so she should too.
    Lastly, I seriously doubt obesity is due to cooking at home.

  107. I eat out every single day and spend under $100/week. Usually $45/week on food and beverage. I eat very good. These numbers in this article are ridiculous. Oh and by the way, the less calories you eat, the less weight you’ll gain.

    1. Christophhh

      I travel a lot for work so I’m very curious how you eat out every day for $45/week. That is $6.50/day and $2/meal for three meals. Even if we used the cheapest fast food that is awful for your health I still don’t see how it’s possible. Can you elaborate?

      I’m single and average $800+/month for food and just eat healthy food with minimal alcohol. I do eat out a lot, but I invest 30%+ of my income, so it’s worth it to me.

      1. I eat on the company card most days that’s how. Thing is, for the first 4 months of the year I worked at a different firm and bought all my own food myself. I never spent more than $55/week. I would eat 1 meal a day frequently and was frugal with my choices. I had a coupon app where I’d find great deals for $4-$8. I’d also find free meals by being involved in various organizations in the community.

    2. You eat out every day on $100 a week, which means you spend $14.28 a day. That’s not too far away from my $17 a day budget where people are complaining that the budget is ridiculous.

      You did see the intro discussing $1,500 in food for three, and $2,000 in food for four right?

  108. Why is everyone missing the main point in this article- you can get amazing real healthy food at restaurants now- delivered to your door.

    Ever heard of True Food Kitchen? All major cities have great restaurants, with high quality food cooked in all the “modern dietary restriction” ways.

    I may be the exception, but the best thing I have done is just start eating once a day. Only dinner. It is amazing how mentally freeing/productive it is to not have to make decisions about food throughout the day, I don’t even think about it.

    This saves a ton of money too, while freeing up your time. And you look great, which is a benefit to some people who care about that stuff.

    1. Yeah and how much money do you make. I’m on disability, spending that much money is more than I actually have. This was truly an article written from privilege. And is disgusting.

      It’s easier for me to cook my own food and go to the grocery store than press a button and have it delivered.

    2. This idea is deeply flawed. If you live in a metro area you have tons of places to go but depending on the suburbia or area you may live the options are severely limited. We can only get fast food and pizza delivered where we live. If you live in a big city that would be completely different.

      Also most Americans aren’t fat because they eat at home most americans are fat because they eat fast food and other unhealthy stuff and consume alot of refined sugars,etc. Eating out for my family is an act of convenience. We find we eat healthier when we eat at home.

      Its about what you eat not where you eat.

    3. Bryan Spitzer

      The main point isn’t that you can get amazing food delivered to your door. That’s great and all. The main point he’s making is the claim that getting amazing food delivered to you instead of preparing it yourself is somehow a wise financial decision. That’s just absurd.

  109. Why cooking your own food is awesome, IMO. YMMV.

    1. I truly enjoy and love cooking. It’s creative and relaxing. It’s absolutely worthwhile time for us.
    2. My young kids like most of what we prepare.
    3. It’s much healthier for them and us. I know exactly what goes in the foods.
    4. They see that dad and mom being self sufficient and crafting something from beginning to end, and they want to join in to help.
    5. Yes, we sure are able to save on the meals by cooking vs eating out all the time.
    6. I am in control of our dietary destiny.
    7. Eating out can be a bit chaotic with a 5 and 1.5 year old. (We eat out 2-3x/month)
    8. We just love and enjoy the family meal times.

  110. As usual, your mileage may vary. In many parts, assuming doordash or similar operates there, your options are limited to fast food and/or heavy traditional american food. Eating at home does not automatically translate to overweight and oversized. Its within your control about the food you cook and the quality of the ingredients your using. Low income people who are struggling to get by are more likely to buy low quality foods to eat/cook given the convenience and lower costs; of which there is an abundance in the grocery store. As more and more people fall into lower income categories the obesity rates will rise in tandem, and habits passed down to children. These unhealthy foods also tend to be addicting and sap energy, which also applies pressure to ensure the unhealthy convenience cycle continues.

    I agree about your comments on time value, if you are a high earner your time is likely more valuable then the money saved. However, that assumes if you werent cooking you would otherwise be actively working and making money. This logic can be applied to many things to justify hiring out, but working all the time is not realistic or healthy. While cooking can be a chore, it might be more preferable then another hour at the grind stone.

  111. I read your blog because you think from a finance perspective but for this post I have to say home cooked food is just better for you all round and is worth the time. It’s a life skill and builds confidence, it’s fun and it tastes better. You never lose the ability to tighten your belt if you need to, transfer life skills to your child and ensure no artificial colours/ preservatives are in the food. Recent article in Scientific American theorised processed foods are the cause of weight gain. I don’t know about you but when I move away from whole foods, I gain weight. Ultimately health will always trump money.

  112. Commercialy cooked food is not prepared with your health and well being the primary concern. Clealry, resturant food is cooked for a profit, cutting corners and using inferior ingredients whenever possible. Overtime, eating out will cause health problems. Stuff you might throw away at home because it might taste or smell shady is often mixed with with new batches in resturants simply because they cook to make a profit, not to ensure that you get the freshest and healthiest ingredients. Especially with children, I would rather prep their meals myself. Also cooking for your family creates many memories as your children/ spouse may remeber you by a specific meal you were especially good in preparing. How many students ask for a home cooked meal first thing when they are visiting during vacations? There is a human aspect to this that is being ignored.

  113. I’m not so sure about this one. We spend roughly 30 minutes maybe every other night preparing to eat and cleaning up afterward. Other nights its leftovers or something cooked over the weekend. I still believe many people would spend more eating out. The reason is I don’t think people would use the saved time working on side hustles to offset the added cost. People with kids generally cook more at home (at least the people I know) because you can make one or two items in bulk. Also, you can plate your food to control portion size, and use ingredients on sale at the grocery store which is what we have started to do over the past month. Finally, we use an air fryer whenever we want that fried taste. It’s a lot healthier than deep-fried foods ofcourse.

  114. A couple comments, but in essence, we are probably near the 50/50 split for eating in/out.

    1. Eating at home is absolutely a good and sure way to make healthy meals. It is simple to skip the sugar, go light on the salt, minimize fat and control the portion in nearly every meal we cook. In restaurants? Not so much. (I can almost guarantee that any Italian-based meal someone makes at home is “healthier” than going to Olive Garden.)

    2. The time/money is the big one, but unless I am actually missing out on work pay, I never like using that dollar rate to justify anything. For me its easier to to calculate in value of time. 24 hours a day less 12 hours of work, 7 hours of sleep leaves me with 5 hours of time to spend. Spending 30% of my time cooking and cleaning? Rarely worth it. So this pushes us to go out.

    3. The last big factors for us: kids in restaurants. Strapping our second son in a high chair for an hour in a restaurant is sometimes like taking on the hulk for an hour. At home, in his high chair for 20 minutes while we actually eat? Rarely an issue. So depending on his mood, sometimes we end up staying in more than we like just so we don’t have to fight the hulk.

    For context, we are a family of four (6 yr old and 18 mo old), eat in probably 50%, spend an average $810/mo combined on groceries and restaurants, and we are both in the normal category for weight.

    (So obviously the $2,000+/month spending on food/groceries is fairly shocking to us.)

      1. We shop for the week, every Sunday. My wife prepares breakfast and lunches for herself and my sons M-F, I skip breakfast and my lunches are paid for at work, so we have a slight advantage there. For dinner, we generally eat in 3-4 times, meals consist of tacos, spaghetti, grilled chicken and veggies, fresh fish and veggies, etc. We try to balance out the healthy and not so healthy meals and we repeat fairly often, we change it up by going out.

        The biggest savings I think comes from reduced portion sizes, near zero waste, no red meat, no soda, no alcohol and minimal processed stuff. The boys snack on cheese, nuts, carrots, apples, bananas, strawberries 80% of the time and the other 20% they snack on the more typical kid stuff, fig bars, veggie straws, etc., but the least bad versions we can find.

        And for going out, we tend to share a lot of meals as a family. We can go to our favorite Mexican restaurant, like we just did on Sunday, order two adult meals, split between the 4 of us and sometimes still bring food home all for $36 or we hit up our goto places where kids eat free with adult entree purchase.

        In 2018, we averaged $80.71 at restaurants per week. And we average about $88.36/week on groceries. (I track both categories independently, and have for 12 years since we married.)

        We manage our food consumption quite well, but we worked really hard to manage it tightly when we were young and first married and the mindset has stuck.

        1. Jeff

          good for you and your family! My wife and I are pretty much on your same budget right now (and have been for umpteen years). It really isn’t that difficult, so long as the cook COOKS and is not simply mixing Hamburger Helper with Ground who-knows-what, and glopping it onto the plate in heart-attack portions.

          Recently early-retired and no longer sweating putting into a 401K and other investments, we will soon be uping the budget and buying neighbor ranch’s hormone/antibiotic-free beef and start treating ourselves. I’ve been a follower of several financial Blogs and a FIRE fanatic, so let me tell you now, that working, saving, investing along with budgeting when younger will lead to a great life where working, saving, investing and budgeting is no longer necessary. That most valuable commodity, time, can be spent doing any frickin’ thing you want (including cooking, if that’s your thing). And it’s fabulous! I work harder now, doing entirely different things than when worrying about $$…and I’m doing what I want, not what I have to…

          I suppose if my dream life was living in an 800 sq/ft loft, 600 feet above the street overlooking traffic and taking Uber to a bistro for gnoshes, I’d be miserable right now. I’m not.

  115. If you choose not to cook your own dinners that’s fine. That’s a legitimate lifestyle choice.

    But maybe, learn to cook before you give up cooking. It should not take an hour to put a meal on the table. You can prep your meals on Sunday to save even more time. Once you get the hang of it, you can have dinner on the table in less time then having a meal delivered.

    In my opinion, people are overweight because the inexpensive foods like pasta and fast food cause insulin to spike which makes us store energy as fat. Healthy fats, which we have been told to limit, will fill you up. We have been given bad information on nutrition. Avoid sugar. Avoid processed foods. Eat out less.

    1. AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Control what spikes your insulin and you can control NUMEROUS chronic and debilatating illness which plague americans! Hear disease, cancer and diabetes just to mention a few.

      Losing weight is hormonal, period!


      Everything we’ve been taught about nutrition is wrong! From the food pyriamid to saturated fat, and as a result Americans are battling diabetes, heart disease, and obesity at record levels!

      It’s a crime against humanity! The nutritional guidelines, of low fat have made us worse off. The government has steered us in the wrong direction thanks to Ancel Keys and Gov. McGovern.

      Carbs, starches, sugar and seed oils like vegetable and canola oils are killing us slowly. These things are highly inflammatory and cause chronic inflammation.

      Heart disease is caused by those things I mentioned above, not by dietary Fat! The food industry and big pharma has a vested interest in keeping us in the dark, by echoing the same bullshit through their paid off scientist and doctors, “eat less and move more, and limit fat”.

      To burn fat that’s stored on your body, you need to lower insulin. Period. If you do not, you will never lose weight. This is why people who are obese or oven overweight, get hungry when they shouldn’t.

      They have all this fat, which is nothing more than stored energy, that they can not access for energy, because in the prescence of insulin, your body will not burn fat. Because if insulin is present, it’s there because glucose is present.

      Insulin’s job is to lower the glucose levels in your blood and push the glucose into cells for energy. But many people are insulin resistant which causes cells to reject the glucose causing the insulin to create and store more fat, thru denovolipogenisis.

      We should be eating real food which DOES NOT spike insulin. And we should not be grazing all day, on snacks. We should either be feasting or fasting like our ancestors.

      You eat a meal that satiates you and then you stop. Eat again when you are hungry. You eating window should eventually get to 8 hours and less.

      Foods which allow you to eat like this are high in fat like avocados, ribeye and sardines. They satiate you and leave you with zero hunger. When you are satiated, you will naturally eat less and fast longer. Fasting has tremendous benefits!

      Calorie restriction and all calories are equal is not true.

      Here are some people that have have been persecuted for telling the truth and standing up against the food industry, the dieticians and big pharma.

      -Dr Gary Fettke
      -Professor Tim Noakes
      -Dr. Jason Fung
      -Gary Taubes
      -Nina Teicholz
      -Ivor Cummins
      -David Feldman

      It doesn’t matter where you eat if you’re not eating the right foods. Eat like our ancestors did, a diet high in fat, low in carbs, fast regularly, and get the proper sleep and reduce/eliminate the stress.

      The health benefits will be tremendous. You can reverse diabetes and heart disease this way. Your body will begin to actually burn its own fat, adipose tissue.

      You can achieve all this by avoiding carbs, starches and sugars.

  116. It is an interesting take that obesity stats would track with ingredients home cooks use. I think it is more likely that obesity comes with the increase in eating out we’ve seen and restaurant portion size.

    Personally, eating at home is marginally less expensive because of the luxury groceries I buy, but I like the greater degree of control over what I am making. Investing in yourself (cooking skills) has incredible returns. When I’m optimizing for mental bandwidth, that is when it is takeout time.

  117. Angila Mahan

    We spend about $200 a week on food. For a family of 6 that’s pretty good considering we eat VERY well and I cook 3 to 4 times a week. Nowadays there are so many ways to save time and money by cooking at home. Not to mention how unhealthy and grossly expensive it is to get a good meal delivered. I don’t want to feed my family a boatload of chemicals by ordering out. I’d rather teach my children the life skill of cooking and educate them on what’s healthy.

  118. I think you get WAAAAY more chemicals in your food by eating out which makes it vastly more unhealthy than cooking. PLUS you don’t have to cook every day. 3 or 4 times a week is sufficient for my family of 6. Make extra, have leftovers, cook on Friday & Sunday so you only have to cook once or twice during the week, involve the kids & spouse when you can, use a grocery shopping app to eliminate time in the store (and impulse buys). There are so many ways to keep this life skill (cooking) going while passing it to our children.

  119. I was going to be one of those complainers until I read this: why cooking your own food more than 50% of the time to save money is a suboptimal financial decision.

    It is true that spending time cooking after a long day of work is not the most optimal way to spend your time, unless it’s how you rewind. But cooking at home, especially for a large family, could save tons a year. Not to mention it’s much healthier.

    Contrary to what you believe, I think that obesity is on the rise because people don’t cook enough at home anymore since fast food is so ubiquitous.

  120. I agree with this article once one has deserved an income that justifies the time spent over the money saved.

    My position right now is not as forgiving as I am one year into opening my RE Brokerage and have been focused on growing as fast possible with zero debt which in turn means owner gets paid less. The fact that I can make decently balanced meals to last me a whole day at $5 makes it hard for me to grasp having to spend $30 a day just so my food tastes a little better. Isn’t food solely for energy at the end of the day?

    $5/Day consists of 4 cups of white rice, lb of 85% beef or white chicken, lettuce, tomato, kale. I fast for convenience so I split these into two meals (also its easier to eat the same thing twice a day rather than 3x). I spend 3 hrs at most on Sunday prepping 14 meals for the week. Pressure cooker and rice cooker are my saviors.

    So I see it as:
    Plan A: $150 (3hrs Prep) + $35 (14 Meals) = $185/wk
    Plan B: $30 (3 Meals) x 7 Days = $210/wk

    The difference is $100 month which seems like a worthy ROI and that is assuming that I make $100,000 year ($50/hr). $30 is the least I could spend ordering non-junk food since I am very active and need around 2800 calories when I don’t exercise.

    Am I missing something?

    I am single no kids so those moments you glorified are currently absent.

    By the way first time poster but love this site. Thank you for all the value you’ve provided.

  121. I do have an issue with your reason #1 (your time is valuable).

    Calculating how much you make an hour from work and then using that to determine if a chore is worth doing will make you have an excuse not to do anything.

    This logic applies if you actually use that time saved to earn money (and not to some non earning leisure activity instead like watching TV). Of course if you really do use that your your saved a day to do something income earning like writing a blog post than yes #1 makes sense but I feel the majority of people would not come home from work and then do an equivalent earning activity in lieu of cooking.

    1. I think you are not quite understanding. People who earn a high salary often have very high pressure jobs and they greatly value their time outside of work as it is critical for resting and recharging and “feeling human” by connecting with their family. What these people do NOT lack is money. Therefore, they can place a value or a opportunity cost on any free time wasted. If your job is 9-5 and you make a median wage, you probably are not going to be in this category and you should spend time cooking. But if you work a stressful, demanding, long-hours job, you probably don’t want to spend time cooking (unless it’s something you love and get joy and family connectivity time from).

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