5 Times When Eating at Home Isn’t Worth It

(Photo by Mark Lyons/Getty Images for HumanaVitality)

Mark Lyons/Getty Images for HumanaVitality

Countless financial experts tell us that cooking at home is cheaper, and health experts tell us that it is usually healthier. Most restaurants serve very large portions, which also include extras like bread, chips, and appetizers; these extras increase the overall sodium, fat, and calories of the meals. However, while it is usually less healthy to eat at a restaurant, it isn’t true in every situation. Some people add so much butter, salt, and sugar to their meals that certain restaurant food would actually be healthier. Although restaurant food generally has a high markup with certain deals, restaurant food can actually be cheaper than eating at home — not to mention less work. Most people will spend significantly more money if they eat out regularly than they will if they eat at home, but there are occasions when eating out is the best decision. Here are five times when eating at home just isn’t worth it.

1. When eating out is cheaper

Although many people believe that eating at a restaurant is more expensive, this isn’t always true. Particularly if you are able to use coupons or take advantage of special deals, sometimes eating at a restaurant is actually less money. Many restaurants have kids eat free days, and if you carefully choose your adult entrees, this can be a great deal. For example, most Steak ‘n Shake restaurants offer free meals for kids on the weekends, but customers can also usually use coupons in addition to the deals. The restaurant has many meals for $4 or under, so if you purchase two adult meals for $4 and get a free kids meal, you might actually be spending less than you would at home.

This rationale is true of many other restaurants as well. Some restaurants still offer the all-you-can-eat option as well, which can be less expensive than eating at home if you have a very large family, or you personally eat a lot. Lastly, if you want a particular meal but the ingredients are expensive and you would rarely use them for any other meals, you may find that eating at a restaurant (where they make multiples of the meal each day) will be cheaper.