Eating in Vs Eating Out – What’s the Cost?

One of the ways through which people try to save money is by making the decision to drive down to the grocery store to stock up on some fresh ingredients so that they can cook up a storm as opposed to driving to a restaurant or a take-away joint to eat out. So many different dynamics come into play with regards to either decision though and as much as every indication is indeed that cooking from scratch generally works out cheaper than eating out, there are some areas in which these associated costs overlap. It all comes down to the finest details — the small parameters involved which sway the costs in favour of one dining choice over the other, and vice versa.

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Some research conducted by home furniture and supplies outlet, Oldrids & Downton, breaks all the elements down very well, bringing to light those precise points at which the parameters swing the cost of dining out versus eating in one way or the other.

The starting point of the research lists some of the most popular dishes which people cite as their favourites, with the top ten including:

• Roast dinner

• Steak and chips

• Scones with jam and clotted cream

• Apple crumble

• Chocolate brownie

• Lasagne

• Pizza

• Spaghetti Bolognese

• Strawberry cheesecake

• Steak and ale pie

Next, the cost to make these favourites was calculated by tallying up the cost of each of the ingredients from a leading UK supermarket which enjoys nearly 30% market share:

• Dish / Cost of Ingredients

• Roast dinner / £15.54

• Steak and chips / £8.57

• Scones with jam and clotted cream / £9.23

• Apple crumble / £10.53

• Chocolate brownie / £10.34

• Lasagne / £25.38

• Pizza / £8.97

• Spaghetti Bolognese / £19.29

• Strawberry cheesecake / £9.93

• Steak and ale pie / £27.35

Finally, the cost of the ingredients to make these dishes was compared with the cost of dining at the top restaurants and food outlets in five of the biggest UK cities (by population) — restaurants and food outlets which serve these dishes. Results were as follows:

• City / Dining Cost Range

• London / £3-£80

• Birmingham / £2-£150

• Manchester / £2-£40

• Glasgow / £2-£90

• Newcastle /£2-£70

Now these numbers may not look too bad, but a range of £2-£150 is quite substantial and as much as you can get one of these meals for as low as £2 eating out, chances are you’ll pay more for bigger portions and you’ll have to drive or commute quite far to get to the restaurant or outlet serving that meal.

Make no mistake about it — it’s definitely cheaper to eat in versus eating out, but you have to take into account all the factors which contribute to the total costs, such as the cost of the power you use in the case of eating in and the mentioned cost of fuel or commuting, in the case of eating out.

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Becky, Steve or the other two useless ones (shhh they won't read this) form part of the Openstories team, a collaborative travel blog that we use to dump our ideas, plans and experiences onto the worldwide web. We're honored that you're hear reading this, and we'd love to hear from you. Thanks for dropping by!