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Could takeout be cheaper than getting your next meal at the grocery store? Maybe

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Most people think that it is cheaper to buy groceries instead of ordering takeout. But is that always true?

Key points

  • As daily costs rise, grocery prices spiral out of control.
  • Takeaway deals could help make your next meal cheaper.
  • Buying some food at the grocery store and getting some takeout can be a good inexpensive solution to avoid expensive grocery bills.

Due to inflation, the prices you’re paying at the grocery store are likely to be significantly higher. If you feel like you’re overpaying for the food in your fridge, you may want to be strategic about the items you buy at the grocery store. Could takeout be a cheaper option? Maybe.

Most people assume that grocery shopping and cooking at home is the most affordable option. In many cases, that is true. Even when food costs are higher, you can get creative in finding affordable meal solutions to eat at home. But it may not always be the best option. In some cases, it may be cheaper to order takeout.

If you have a craving for a meal and you don’t have most of the necessary ingredients in your refrigerator or pantry, you may need to buy several items at the grocery store to prepare it. That could be expensive and put your grocery budget in jeopardy.

Takeaway could be cheaper

Should you cook all meals at home? In some cases, it may be cheaper to order a similar dish at a restaurant. There are a couple of restaurants in my area with affordable and hearty dishes. I know the menus well, so I know which foods are worth it and which ones to avoid.

While I prepare a lot of my meals at home, I have a couple of grab-and-go meals that I’ll order to go because they’re cheap. I find that it is cheaper to buy the food already made than to buy all the ingredients myself.

You may want to look at meal costs at restaurants in your area to see if ordering some takeout is worth it. This could help you cut down on your grocery expenses and could also mean less time cooking and cleaning.

What to consider when comparing food costs

Trying to decide if you should make some meals at home or order takeout? When planning your meals for the week, there are considerations you can make if you hope to avoid overspending.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • What ingredients do you already have on hand?
  • What ingredients will you need to buy?
  • How many servings will he be able to get out of the food?
  • Will you have ingredients left over to use for another meal?
  • What is the cost of getting the same food from a restaurant?
  • How many people will the food from the restaurant feed?

For a family with large dining rooms, preparing most of your meals at home may make more sense. But if you live alone or with a partner, it may be cheaper to bring some of your meals.

Don’t ignore local restaurant deals

Some restaurants promote deals to attract customers. Cheap dining deals, family dining nights, and buy one get one free promotions are some of the restaurant deals that may exist in your area.

Another option is to order food at lunchtime. Many restaurants have affordable prices for lunch and the meal itself can be similar in size to the same meal sold on the expensive dinner menu.

Don’t be afraid to try a new restaurant for yourself. You may be able to get a cheap meal if you know where to look. Plus, you’ll save time by having one less meal to prepare.

Follow a budget to control your expenses

Having a budget is key, whether you choose to buy your next meal at the supermarket or at a local restaurant. You can make sure you’re not spending more money than you can afford, and your budget can guide your purchasing decisions.

If you’re new to budgeting, budgeting apps can simplify the process.

Meal planning is also a great way to control your spending. When you know which meals you’ll prepare and which ones you’ll order to go, you can easily plan how much you’ll spend for the week.

If you choose to order takeout, consider using a rewards credit card to earn rewards on your spending. Check out our list of the best dining and restaurant credit cards for inspiration.

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