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Which is cheaper,eating out or preparing food at home?

It depends on a lot of factors. 

The first things to consider are the type and quality of the food that you're getting. If you decide you want a hamburger, you can get one at McDonalds, Burger King, Dairy Queen, Wendys, etc for around $1.00 (plus tax if there's tax in your state). This is much cheaper than you're going to be able to make at home. 

If you want to make a burger at home you will need:

Bun: ($2 divided by 8 = $0.25)

Meat: (1/4 pound of meat at $3/pound = $0.75)

There's your $1.00 as compared to the fast food. That doesn't even include the cost of 

  • cheese
  • condiments
  • tomato
  • lettuce
  • onion
  • pickles

The difference is going to be the quality of the food. If you buy from the grocery store, you have more control over how fresh the food is. You can control how it's prepared and the level of cleanliness in the food-prep area. You can also choose to get organic supplies and grass-fed beef

Even if you suppose that the fast food is cheaper and easier in the short-term, the long-term health consequences of eating fast food are highly detrimental to a person's health and will increase their healthcare costs over time. 

If you consider sit-down restaurants and those that use higher-quality ingredients, the meals might not be as unhealthy, but they tend to be much more expensive. If you compare the cost of eating at a sit-down restaurant to cooking at home, you'll likely be able to make it yourself for less money. 

tl;dr Short-term: fast food is likely cheaper, while sit-down restaurants are likely more expensive. Long-term: eating at home is likely less costly.

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This is a great question and quite honestly a lot of it depends on the kind of food that you eat.

Many processed and boxed foods are actually very cheap.  I can go to the store and buy a boxed of mac and cheese or a frozen pizza for a quite low price.  These things will fill you up, but they probably won't be healthy for you.

The upside is they will be very cheap.

To contrast a pizza and mac and cheese from a restaurant will be much more expensive. 

The thing that really gets you is when you try to eat healthy at home.  Buying fresh fruits and vegetables can be very costly.  Especially if you are trying to stick with mostly organic or all natural items.

 Here is a great example:  Let's say the typical weekly grocery bill for my wife and I is $100 per week.  Based on that number, we have itemized our bill over a several week period.  We were able to find that 60% of our total bill was just fresh fruits and vegetables.  That means $60 of the $100 we spent that week was fresh produce.

If you compare that to eating out at McDonald's five times a week for the two of us, that would be about $50 per week. 

Of course if we went to a more expensive restaurant, then it might be a little more even.   

Like I said, a lot of it just depends on what you eat and where you eat when you go out.

My wife and I prefer to eat out only once a week.  Everything else is food that we prepared ourselves at home.  There are many things that actually just taste better when they are home made. 


This is a great question that many families struggle with often. I am vegan and sometimes it is cheaper for me to eat out. Preparing certain dishes require a variety of different organic ingredients that are sometimes costly.

However, if I eat a simple dish like lentils or vegan chili, it is much cheaper to prepare at home and it will go a lot farther than just one serving that I would purchase at a restaurant.

One of the challenges of eating out is being unable to control the amount of salt and sugar and unhealthy ingredients that are often put in food to make it tasty. Also I worry about germs and E. coli.

So when I get bored with the food that I prepare, I go to an eating establishment that has a reputation for being clean and prepares fresh tasty food. Before I retired and was working nonstop, I would eat out quite a bit because my time was more valuable than the cost of the meal.


Depends where you live.

Here in Canada, cheaper to cool at home.

When I was living in Bali, cheaper to eat out.


Preparing food at home is normally way cheaper than eating out.

Eating out you are paying for a 200% mark up on whatever you are eating plus service charges. restaurants and take away's have over heads that they need to cover. 

The more people you are feeding at home the cheaper it will be. If it is just for yourself sometimes it can be cheaper getting something cheap out. It all depends what you are buying. 

For me to cook steak at home I would most likely save 50 -60  percent against a restaurant meal.


Preparing food at home, hands down, at least if the alternative did not exist to work for the time it takes to shop for the raw materials, prepare the food, and clean up afterwards, and if the money you'd earn would not be more than is embedded in the higher price of food eaten out.


To be honest preparing food at home is way better.

The money

The amount that it is needed to have food out side is comparatively higher than making food in home.


Having food outside saves time rather than in home. While this option is for those people who have less time for making food or they stay busy most of the time.


When it comes to function I do really suggest having food outside is the best idea and yeah it cost much more than home but it makes the situation memorable and worth it.

So basically yes preparing food at home is indeed  cheaper and best.


It really depends; for instance if you don't have all that you need to prepare the food at home, it will be expensive, in this case, eating out will just be the way and also cheaper.

Preparing food at home is better, because you will know how to cook your own food well. This could take time and energy, and it's expensive. But eating out is risky, because you don't know how they prepared the food, but it cheaper, because it will save your time and it's stress free.

Basically, it depends on the individual's decision if he or she wants to eat out or prefers to prepare the food at home, even if it takes time or not.

In opinion, i feel eating out is cheaper than preparing food at home.



From my personal experience i believe that eating out is more expensive than cooking at home...

Lets do the maths...

Well actually a simple chicken dinner will actually cost somewhere in the range of $6 and $8 at home, takeout costs more than $13, and eating out costs more than $15. For a group of four, a home-cooked feast adds up to about $32 or less, notwithstanding when representing sustenance squander; takeout costs a normal of $46.90; and eating out costs more than $50.


It depends, I guess, on a lot of factors. For example what meal are we talking about here exactly? Some meals are very expensive to prepare when you're just the one consuming them, but cheaper in bulk. And since people who cook in restaurants do so with mass consumption in mind, the general cost may be lessened considerably.

But then one must consider again that this doesn't neccesarily mean that because the cost of the food is cheaper for the restaurants, it also follows that it will also be sold cheaply for the customers/consumers. Which again brings us to another ambiguity in the question.

What kind of "out" are we talking about when you say eating out? Restaurants? Take-outs? Food trucks? It's obvious that the answer depends on where exactly you're planning to go, and what you're eating. If you decide to eat at a fancy restaurant you're definitely going to spend a lot more than you will should you decide to eat at some fast foods, at a cheaper restaurant or at a food shop/food truck or whatever.

And even the costs are different when comparing the entities that fall into the same country. I mean for example not all restaurants sell at the same price, even if they're both "fancy" or "not-fancy" or if they're both food trucks or whatever.

And then again considering the question from the angle of the food itself, there may be two scenarios to consider.

The first scenario may include you having "food A" at home and "food !A (not A) outside. That is, the food you're having outside is NOT the food you're having inside at your home. This is then dependent on the exact kind of food it is you're having and can not be answered here on musing.

The second angle--and I think this is what you had in mind-- is if you're asking whether it would be cheaper to eat food A at home or to eat the same food A at a restaurant. The answer to this, then, again depends on what kinds of restaurant, but disregarding all those other variables, personally I've noticed that foods cooked at home are relatively cheaper in the end than food bought at a restaurant.

Not only do we indirectly pay for a lot of things that we might not be aware of due to their not being so surface, but we also pay for the "packaging" and the prestige. It's weird when you really think about it, we're basically saying, "Here, take, this is my exorbitant fee I'm paying for the food you gave me. But it's not so much for the food you gave me but for your restaurant being so beautiful. Have a nice day."

And then when you factor in the transport costs and the stress to get from your house to the restaurant you definitely find it becoming more expensive.

And finally--this may be very subjective and turn out to be me alone; although I've had quite a few of my friends also mention this. There's a sort of satisfaction that one derives from eating at home that can never be gotten from eating at a restaurant.

Of course this might not seem veritable to a cold-fact kind of person, who may claim that after all isn't it the same food? And aren't the foods served in restaurants of higher quality than foods served at home due to the fact that they're cooked by experts qualified professional chefs.

Yes this is true but still it's still true that even if the food may be of higher quality I nonetheless enjoy the food cooked at home a thousand times more. Perhaps it's the satisfaction of being in the comfort of your own home, or just that air of familiarity surrounding you. At any rate it is what it is and I love eating at home more than I do eating outside.

Edit: Looking over the answers already given now I see that a lot of people also agree with my sentiment.

Cheers and have a nice day! And enjoy some home cooked meals XD.


Eating at home without a doubt. If eating out was cheaper I wouldn't even have a refrigerator in my house or a stove. 


When I was living by myself, eating out seemed to be cheaper and more convenient and practical. But when I got married, it is sometimes cheaper to prepare our own meal but sometimes eating out is cheaper , depending on what we want to eat. Now that we have a kid, it is definitely cheaper to just stay at home and prepate homecooked meals for my family.


Good question....

I think it depends what type of food you want to eat and it also depends on where you are in the world. Some locations have cheap restaurants, where others are very expensive.

Where I come from, it is generally cheaper to prepare food and eat at home. But it's always nice to go out and eat every once in a while!


I have a family of four and I can assure you that it is cheaper to eat at home that it is to eat out of the restaurant. It does not matter what kind of restaurant you go to whether it be fast food or a sit-down restaurant there is no way that is cheaper than eating at home.