Survive and Thrive Tip #2: Cook
Posted by: AC Johnson ⋅ Sep 29, 2016
Please see the definitions under this blog for some of you who may be confused. I won't assume anymore that this blog is read only by American readers. Thank you for your patience.
My previous blog talked about my preference to cook at home. I mentioned a lot of reasons that works for me. But, this is up to you. It's a free country*.
American businesses have become very savvy with the invention called "eating out". If there is an Olympic race of countries that can generate the most number of sit down and fast food restaurants, USA would win 40 years in a row! I mean we have mastered the art of stuffing people's pie holes**. We are very creative about food and what helps is we are a melting pot of people. We have the whole world's tastes at our finger tips.
According to the US Dept of Agriculture, each American household contribute about 13 percent of its income to the food industry (2013). About 1.5 million people are employed by food manufacturing (2014). That's a lot of people! I can almost guess that most of these people work in fast food or packaged food. American neighborhoods and cities are surrounded by restaurants...everywhere!
My point is if you truly want to save money, it is a challenge to do so because there are temptations everywhere. They seem to call you by your first name, sometimes your last name, too. It takes a lot of discipline and resolve to save. If you truly are serious about it, you will have to do a lot of self-talk and choose to cook at home.
Here's the problem. Let's say you're single and you make $1,000 net a month. If you spend about $450 on an apartment, $300 on a car and $130 on food, there isn't much left for gas, insurance and other expenses. But, if you want to save money, you possibly could live on $100 a month of groceries only if you buy fresh and stay away from packaged food. Making a crock pot meal for instance could only take $5, plus you'll have leftovers for 4 meals. This is better than getting frozen meal packages of $4 or $5 each. Going to a sit down restaurant is an easy $10-$15 a meal. For fast food, that could be $5-$7. Costs may vary by state.
If you are a family of four and you eat out three times a week at a sit down restaurant, you could easily spend $720 a month. If you reduce that to once a week, you would only spend $240. Your monthly savings would total $480!!! That's a lot of money that can be used to pay off debt or save for a rainy day. Buying packaged food and eating out is expensive and they add up.
There is hope for you to save money. Don't think for a second because you have a lot of bills, your life is goin' to hell in a hand basket***. You really can do this. Every time you pass by a restaurant or fast food, just think of it as another spot you would waste your money on. It's good to have a treat once in a while but don't make it a habit.
To conclude, I am not anti-restaurant. I am pro-financial wellness, pro-family, pro-savings and pro-cooking.
*"It's a free country." is an American expression that basically means "Do what you please." Unless you're in a "not so free country", feel free to use this. If you get arrested in the "not so free country" after reading this blog, don't bring up my name.
**Pie hole is an informal term for mouth. It is the hole on the face where the American pie goes in. Depending on where you're from in America and where you work, this may or may not be used as it could denote harsh language. Ask your Kindergarten teacher if you should use the term pie hole. If she/he says no, you better obey.
***Goin' to hell in a hand basket means deteriorating quickly without hope. You are not goin' to hell in a hand basket. I'm pretty sure about that.