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Cook at home, you lazy bastard

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Every time I do a summer internship, I lose my mind and start eating out every day. Then about halfway through the summer, I realize I have no money saved up, only fond memories of that taco truck down the street.

Cost of eating out:

Lunch: ($8.00/day) = $56.00/week
Dinner: ($12.00/day) = $84.00/week

Lunch: $2,680/year (365 minus 30 days of not eating out)
Dinner: $4,020/year
Total: $6,700.00/year GOOD GOD

After I wept for 3 days, I went to the grocery store and started cooking a little bit for myself. A month later, I ran the analysis and discovered that, for me, cooking is 1/10 the cost of eating out.

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  1. Same as the latte factor as mentioned in automatic millionaire . One of the simplest example of frugal living .

  2. Matt Hartrich - Buffalo, NY Link to this comment

    Surprisingly, very few people seem to figure this out.

  3. Here’s a simple calculus:

    If you can read, you can cook.

    This means that if you invest $20 in a cookbook, you’ll be repaid with delicious meals in addition to the money you save, not to mention the aquisition of extremely useful culinary skills.

  4. I wish I had your discipline…going out to buy tacos is just so much easier.

  5. I’ve been eating lunch out for almost the last 4-5 years that I’ve been working for. For me , the motivation to start cooking is less that it’ll save me some money but more that I’m totally SICK of eating out! Going out and trying out different restaurants and cuisines ( which was so exciting when I couldnt afford them more than twice a month) now seems torturous. I think having more dispensable money has made me lazy and lame. Time to get the pots and pans rolling!

  6. Does anyone have a website of quick lunches that can be put together for a decient price day in and day out?

  7. I appreciate this website and this posting because Ramit is changing the perception of readers. That is a very kind thing to do. It makes people better and wiser. Thank you for the lovely website. I read it everyday and each time I learn…I change…for the better.

  8. Tacos in specific aren’t too bad. They’re like $0.89 each. Two or three for an occasional lunch is cheap, although probably not very healthy.

  9. I’ve been hitting the home kitchen pretty hard lately… to save money and lose some lbs. For lunch I often go with the Lean Cuisine or Marie Calendar frozen meals that go on sale at the local mega mart for less than $2 each. Throw in some yogurt, string cheese, pretzels… for about $3.50 you can have a pretty satisfying lunch with far less calories than some supersized fast food. Find some friends and play some cards at lunch… just as fun as blowing money at Crapplebees.

  10. You don’t even have to invest in a cookbook to learn how to cook. There’s plenty of sites with recipes online, some of them geared towards inexpensive meals or inexperienced cooks. The library is a great place to get cookbooks also. If you really like the cookbook you can buy one.