Your say: Is eating out cheaper? 183



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Research has found more than half of us believe it costs less to get a take-away meal than to buy groceries and cook at home. The survey, which was conducted by home-delivery company, raises the question: is fresh food too dear?

In response to the survey, Brisbane Times compared the cost of fast-food options to cooking from scratch and found many meals came up lacking. To replicate a Subway six-inch ham sandwich ($5.95) you would need to spend $7.50. For a healthier choice, a large SumoSalad ($11) will cost a massive $6 more if you choose to make it at home using ingredients from the supermarket. For a bowl of teriyaki noodles, expect to pay $1 extra to prepare at home.

When the kids have left home and you’re cooking for just one or two people, does it make sense to buy take-away rather than cook a whole meal? And do you find it’s sometimes cheaper to eat out?

Let’s take a look at the classic Sunday roast. We totted up the cost of shopping at Woolies to make a basic roast dinner and here’s the best we could do:

  • 900-gram beef roast, topside: $13.49*
  • Half a kilo of golden delight potatoes: $1.49
  • Half a kilo of carrots: $1.24
  • Woolworths select frozen baby peas 500g: 1.90
  • Total: $18.12

The price of our roast obviously doesn’t include the cost of oil, seasoning and gravy, or factor in the gas or electricity used, however it does assume leftovers for sandwiches.

Meanwhile, at the Goodna Services Club on the outskirts of Brisbane, you can get a seniors-price roast any day of the week for just $9.90.

Which would you choose?

We’d love to know how you manage your food budget and whether, occasionally, you find it cheaper to eat out or order take-away. And does your local cafe or club offer a great deal? Be sure to share the details!

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. Well on the surface it is cheaper but as a piece of corned meat makes three meals for us you only buy the meat once. So it depends what you are cooking and for how many. Most people buy drinks out as well so I know my cup of coffee is a lot cheaper at home.

  2. No , home cooking is cheaper by heaps , but you have to have the time .

    4 REPLY
  3. Absolutely not. It costs way less to cook at home. If you are a single person then cook larger amounts, divide up and freeze into ready made meals. No nasty additives, you are in control of what goes into your food and it tastes so very much better.

    18 REPLY
    • Well I don’t buy pre cooked food from supermarkets. I buy fresh organic whole foods and make my own bread, pasta, ice cream, mayonnaise, dressings etc etc etc. I rarely shop in supermarkets. Buy veggies from the grocer, meat from the butcher and fresh everything from farmer’s markets so no additives for me or my family.

    • Haha thanks Christa but its actually not hard and so much nicer IF you have the time.When I worked I’d only ever cook on a basic level but when I retired I found the inner domestic goddess as a way of replacing my career I guess.

    • Me too Robyn, love trying different dishes as well and like surprising my partner each day as he is still working. Unfortunately have to find some work now. 🙁 oh well that is life.

    • The grocer gets his vegies from the farms , hence masses of inceticides and other rot. I live in the middle of the saladbowl, and see how quick things grow.Planted one day, harvested the next

    • Robyn this is exactly what I do. Work full time, on my own so do a cook-up at the weekend, freeze portions. So good getting home from work and only having to heat up a home-made speciality.

    • Britt-eva Uborg We are lucky to live in an area where there are lots of farmers markets and our green grocers have plentiful access to organic produce. No insecticides or rot. I am very careful to buy organic as I don’t want the rot of which you speak. I also have a good vegetable garden and masses of fruits that grow in my garden which has been organic for well over 30 years. I know I am one of the lucky ones and I am grateful every day for this.

    • You are all so lucky! I am living in Normanton, NW Queensland and we are already on level one water restrictions, I am trying, in this heat, to grow some of my needs, trying basil, tomatoes, have got rocket coming up. All in pots or polystyrene boxes. Food here is not cheap but we do get a fresh veggie truck once a week from Atherton and that was today. He stays here for a couple of hours then packs up and goes on to Karumba. So it’s so important to not miss this truck, which I nearly did today due to frantic work commitments. So nothing goes to waste, and it’s still far cheaper to cook in than eat out in one of the three pubs. Great choice! So, again, you are all so very lucky!

    • I have cooked in bulk for most of my life, buy in bulk, only buy in the sales etc as far as is humanly possible. People think I am rich now because I have money to spare for a rainy day or a holiday. I have a reliable car which looks almost new as I look after it but they dont believe that it’s 20 years old? I only get the Age Pension now but have never felt richer than I do now. 😉

    • Robyn I am the same. Got sick of all the chemicals. I even make my own deodorant and washing powder shampoo etc I am allergic to them all

    • Me too Doreen! Saves money and better all round. White vinegar and soap nuts are my new passion 🙂

    • OMG!! robyn you should go on Master Chef your what I would call a ‘TRUE HOME COOK”welldone !!!!

    • Why thank you Robyn! My cooking is not fancy enough for Masterchef. Darned tasty but my presentation leaves a lot to be desired 😉

    • Well Robyn Green you are an inspiration – I like to cook from scratch don’t like those flavour bases or satchets so sad that young ones don’t know the basics of how to cook simple stuff like rissoles!!!! Wish I had your passion to make everything and I now wonder if the old adages like “so hard cooking for one” and “now you are retired take it easy” influence people’s thinking and stop inspiration to be better at cooking because we do have more time to experiment try new ideas and start again to love our food xx

    • Thanks Margaret, too kind. I was a starving Uni student so I learnt to use what I had. I am the queen of substitution when it comes to cooking. Yesterday for supper I found some unused roast pumpkin in the fridge, so I boiled and mashed some eggs (I have chickens) added fetta, cinnamon, chives to the egg and pumpkin mix, made pasta and then turned that into pumpkin fetta ravioli with a burnt sage butter sauce (lots of sage going nuts in the veggie patch) Delish with a green salad!

  4. This shopping list for the roast,is enough to make extra meals to freeze,Always cheaper to cook from scratch,you also have control over the can cook really cheap meals using leftovers.

  5. junk food may be cheaper in financial outlay but that is dubious, but the overall cost to health in the long term and the consequences financially are a lot more

  6. Depends. If you take into consideration the cost of electricity/gas plus the time spent in preparation and clean up, it probably does work out cheaper. Mind you, I live in a town where we just don’t have anywhere to buy takeaway like they do in the bigger towns and cities. We only have three little take away shops and they are privately owned. None of the popular franchises. So it’s 90% home cooking here or frozen meals from the supermarket.

  7. What junk that is sold at fast food outlets may cost less also has less nutrition. I would rather prepare meals at home that eat fast foods from most places.

  8. Home cooking is much cheaper and if you just get yourself organised, get into a routine with shopping lists etc,it doesn’t take very long to get a meal together

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