Could Takeout Be Cheaper Than Getting Your Next Meal at the Grocery Store? Maybe

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  • As everyday costs rise, grocery prices are getting out of control.
  • Takeout deals could help you make your next meal cheaper.
  • Buying some food at the grocery store and getting some meals to go might be a good budget-friendly solution to avoid costly grocery bills.

Most people think it's cheaper to buy groceries instead of ordering takeout. But is that always true?

Due to inflation, the prices you're paying at the grocery store are likely significantly higher. If you're feeling like you're overpaying for the food in your fridge, you may want to be strategic about what items you buy at the grocery store. Could takeout be a cheaper option? Maybe.

Most people assume that buying groceries and cooking at home is the more affordable choice. In many cases, that is true. Even when food costs are higher, you can get creative to find affordable meal solutions to eat at home. But it may not always be the best option. In some cases, it may be cheaper to order takeout.

If you're craving a meal and don't have most of the ingredients necessary already in your fridge or cupboard, you may need to purchase several items at the grocery store to make it. That could get expensive and put your grocery budget in danger.

Takeout could be cheaper

Should you cook every meal at home? It may be cheaper to order a similar dish at a restaurant in some cases. There are a couple of eateries in my area with affordable, filling dishes. I know the menus well, so I know what meals are worth it and which to avoid.

While I prepare many of my meals at home, I have a couple of go-to meals that I will order for takeout because they're inexpensive. I find it's cheaper to buy the meal already made than to purchase all of the ingredients myself.

You may want to look at restaurant meal costs in your area to see if it's worthwhile to order some meals for takeout. This could help you cut down on your grocery spending, and it could also mean less time cooking and cleaning.

What to consider when comparing food costs

Are you trying to decide if you should make some meals at home or order takeout? When you plan out your meals for the week, there are considerations you can make if you're hoping to avoid overspending.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • What ingredients do you already have on hand?
  • What ingredients will you need to buy?
  • How many servings will you be able to get out of the meal?
  • Will you have leftover ingredients to use for another meal?
  • What is the cost to get the same meal from a restaurant?
  • How many people will the restaurant meal feed?

For a family with big eaters, preparing most of your meals at home may make more sense. But if you live alone or with a partner, it may be cheaper to get some of your meals to go.

Don't ignore local restaurant deals

Some restaurants promote deals to attract customers. Budget-friendly meal deals, family-size meal nights, and buy one get one free promotions are some restaurant deals that may exist in your area.

Another option is to order food at lunchtime. Many restaurants have affordable lunch prices and the meal itself may be a similar size to the same meal that's sold on the expensive dinner menu.

Don't be afraid to give a new-to-you restaurant or eatery a try. You may be able to get an inexpensive meal if you know where to look. Plus, you'll save time by having one less meal to prepare yourself.

Follow a budget to control your spending

Having a budget is key, whether you choose to buy your next meal at the grocery store or a local restaurant. You can ensure that you don't spend more money than you can afford, and your budget can guide your purchase decisions.

If you're a budgeting newbie, budgeting apps can simplify the process.

Meal planning is also an excellent way to keep your spending in check. When you know what meals you'll be making and which you'll be ordering to go, you can easily plan out how much you will spend for the week.

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