5 Reasons I don't eat out anymore
When I was growing up in Malaysia, eating out was something everyone did, everyday. We thought nothing of it and in fact it was more economical to do so, because most of us were at that age where we did not have our own kitchens and had to live in small spaces with multiple generations of family members so having company at home was impossible. But now that I do have my own kitchen.... the benefits of eating out are so much less compared to the costs.
1. the amount spent on eating out is not commensurate with the benefit and pleasure of eating out.
the fact is that living in Tasmania means that a fish and chip lunch would set you back about $19, add in a [sugary] drink and you're looking at an extra $4. this is something that only involves deep frying, something anyone could do at home with a deep fryer. Such a meal would last about 25 minutes, however that $23 spent on groceries could buy enough ingredients for a hearty, balanced meal to feed 6! that's not even what's usually spent at restaurants, where paying $50-$70 per head is the norm around here, and for food that's so easy to make at home too! For food that i can't make at home, perhaps I'd consider it, but the quality of dining out here is so bad that it's so so so not worth it! We had the worst ever soggy dosa and watery coconut chutney at some place on Collins Street that was so bad we could hardly finish it, as a Non-Indian, even my coconut chutney was 10x better than this bland gloop they dished up! yet we were charged something like $14 each for it. The main reason for everything being expensive here is the high labour costs due to the super high minimum wage.
2. the value of the money spent on a meal out is worth so much more when put into almost anything else
That $23 spent on lunch that lasts only 25 minutes could've bought
-a book, or 20 if bought from an op shop
-4 pairs of pants from an op shop
-15kg of rice
-a pair of shoes
-given to an agency that helps the needy with food, healthcare and water
all of which would've lasted months, if not years of use.
-$23 every week for just 1 year amounts to $1,196 which if put into a mortgage at 3.99% interest could save $3,951 over the life of the loan!
3. most of the eating out occurrences occur because of lack of planning
I get it, sometimes you're out and about and suddenly you're hungry so you grab at the nearest food outlet. Nevermind that it's just some greasy, deep fried patty with 1/44th of a lettuce leaf on it. We pay such a premium on our lack of planning. Is this luxury worth it? Now I try to plan all our meals in advance and if we're going to be out, plan to have food packed before we leave so that we can always have something healthy and nourishing whenever we get hungry. Saves us having to drive around, looking for a parking spot and spend more than necessary on junky food. Yes, you could buy a relatively healthy lunch for $27, but that amount could feed a family in Africa for a month! How could that be worth it?
4. so much healthier and balanced to bring your own food
I don't need to expound on this too much other than to say that you'd know what goes into the food you make yourself.
5. eating at home is so much more intimate and conducive for conversation
Here's something - we all view eating out as a very important way to socialize - but how much conversation can one really have in most restaurants, where the music or noise of people talking are so loud, there's a waitress squeezing around your chair every 10 minutes and the next table is 20cm away from yours? Not to mention if it's a crowded restaurant, how the servers would be hurrying to clear your table as soon as you're finished so they can seat the next group. [Or, in Malaysia, how the waiting patrons would hoover around your table silently but surely pressuring you to choke down the last of your siu mai] How deep can these conversations be? Wouldn't it be so much more intimate if you were at home, at your own dining table, setting your own pace? With nobody to interrupt/eavesdrop?
Of Course, i'm saying this as someone who genuinely enjoys cooking and I enjoy the time spent with loved ones in the kitchen. So I'm not preaching to those who're really time poor and earning a truckload of money. YOU don't need to stop eating out.
But for everyone else, be aware of the huge costs you're paying just for want of a little planning and effort.
I know that in many situations, one would be branded as a "cheap" if they don't want to spend exorbitant amounts on bad meals, but seriously - just as surely as one does not need to waste money, one does not need "friends" who'd base their friendship with you on how much money you're willing to waste.
Most people who eat out a lot can't actually afford it, They;re drowning in debt and have no intention of reducing it because they're just so used to living a lifestyle of someone who CAN afford it.
If you're earning $33,000 a year and have $90,000 credit card debt, no, you can't afford it.
Why is it that we've become to accustomed to debt that the simple principle of spending less than one earns is so alien, so unpalatable and so repulsive that we never dare speak of it, never want to even think of it. While we continue indulging ourselves in things that don't even matter, at a price we cannot even afford. Rather than thinking of what we truly want, we allow marketers to tell us what we should want. And so we keep lusting after illusions on glossy pages or flashy screens and pinterest boards......