Which Do You Enjoy More- Eating Out or Having a Home?

This post may contain affiliate links.

Do you enjoy eating out more than you enjoy your home?

Should it matter?

No, not necessarily. What matters is how much you really enjoy eating out and how much money you spend each month doing it versus putting that money into your house that you enjoy every day. We need both food and housing, but only one holds its value for longer than a few hours.

What do you enjoy and where do you put more of your money?

Let’s compare costs of eating out and cooking at home for an average couple with 2 children.  You’ll see how much of your house you could pay for with those funds.

Dinner out
2/$20 special
2 kids meals = $8 (minimum)
2 alcoholic drinks = $10 (minimum)
tax = $4
tip = $0 – $12  let’s go with 15% and call it $6
Mileage = $2 (driving 5 miles is $2 in mileage, but even 15 miles is $2 or more in gas!)
Total for dinner out = $50   (we’ll forget the fact that it would take nearly $80 of salary to pay for this dinner, just to make our comparison easier)

Dinner at home
I’ve proved it can be done for an average of $5 for a family of 4
Alcoholic drinks for mom and dad after dinner $5
Total for dinner at home = $10

That’s a savings of $40 per dinner out! 

Now let’s see how applying that savings onto the principal balance of your mortgage each month would affect things: (based on $150,000 at 4% with 25 years left to pay)

If you can cut back your eating out by:
once a month, you’d save nearly $8,000 in interest and cut nearly 2 years off your loan.
twice a month, you’d save $14,000 in interest and cut 3.5 years off your loan.
once every week, you’d save nearly $26,000 and cut 7 years off your loan.
twice every week, you’d save nearly $40,000 and cut 10.5 years off your loan.

If you’re saving to buy a home: (based on earning just 2% interest when applied monthly)
and skip eating out once a month, you’d have $2,540 after 5 years and $5,300 after 10 years.
and skip eating out twice a month, you’d have $5,080 after 5 years and $10,600 after 10 years.
and skip eating out once every week, you’d have $11,000 after 5 years and $23,000 after 10 years.
and skip eating out twice every week, you’d have $22,000 after 5 years and $46,000 after 10 years!

Our family usually gets fast food 1-2 times a week, and we keep it within the $5 average budget for dinners.  We eat at a sit down restaurant probably once a month when we pay, and about 6 times per year when our parents treat us. We really enjoy those times out because they are few and far between. They truly are a break from every day life for us and worth the $$. Since we order water and usually the kids eat off our plates, we spend right at $20 for a meal out. It won’t be long before we’ll need to buy 1 kids meal though :-(

I’m not willing to give up eating out, but I am trying to keep it from hurting our bottom line. 

  • I’m using gift cards I earned online to pay for meals
  • I’m searching for specials and coupons before we go out.  I’m hoping for a Seize the Deal for a restaurant we like soon!
  • It’s been about a month since we ate out and I’m hoping we can stretch it another month before we go again.
  • We almost always drink water and skip dessert.  It’s having someone else cook, serve, and clean up the meal that gives us satisfaction, not all the extras.

What do you think?  Could you temporarily cut back on eating out (or other extras) to make a potentially huge difference in your bottom line? 


  1. Bryany says:

    I like that you’ve included alcoholic drinks out and at home LOL :) we have cut back and as you know — we were eating out WAY more than we were even aware of…I’m probably the offender you were talking about spending so much LOL!!! But we are getting better :) in fact, we’ve gotten a lot better — just not when my husband is out of town haha…

  2. nope- not you. Our mortgage on this house is about $650 (insurance and taxes excluded). The mortgage on our house in Arkansas is about $250. I know several families that spend more than the $650 a month, and one that spends more than both our mortgages. From what I know about you, I seriously doubt you spend more than the $650 😉

Speak Your Mind