Money grubbing: Why take out food is taking hold of your finances

What if someone told you by cutting out one expenses, you could have a half a million dollars saved in about 30 years or so?

For some, that is the amount of time they have left until they retire, so if one item, one purchase could lead them to that much cash on hand by the time they hit 62 or 65 years of age, then why wouldn’t you give up that one thing?

And if you can’t, you’ll probably assume that this “one thing” is far too precious of an expense to go without if it can generate that kind of money over the course of your career, for example.

Now, what if someone said that one expenses was a steak dinner, or it was a sandwich for lunch and a simple chicken salad for dinner?

Seems almost too good to be true or that proverbial head scratcher you can wrap your mind around. Well, prepare to have your entire mind and financial future flipped on its ear the same way you’d flip that $10 hamburger you just had for lunch.

So spending $20 per day on take out food doesn’t seem that difficult to do when you consider that the average lunch out to eat is around $10 and spending $10 at dinner seems like it would almost be a foregone conclusion, even if you’re hitting the drive thru window (have you seen how much a value meal at a chain fast food place costs theses days?).

But did you know that $20 per day on dining out is going to account for more than $500,000 spent in 30 years? When you put those numbers and time table to it, how can you not get a little nauseous when you think about having that money in hand or in your bank account rather than in and out of your stomach for the last three decades?

Now obviously, you aren’t going to spend $20 per day on take out food, but the truth is some individuals do that on a regular enough basis that you are still going to be spending quite a bit of money (not saving it) as a result of eating out at restaurants consistently. And remember, that $20 price tag would be much higher for a family of four or even two parents who aren’t meal prepping and instead eating lunch on the go or picking up dinner for everyone at least during the work week.

Curbing eating out starts with better grocery store planning and shopping with meal preparation in mind. Doing that is going to not only in the short term cut down your grocery store bill, but also put a cool half a mill in your pocket thanks to not being tempted by the convenience of eating take out food.