11 Feb Reasons To Cook At Home
 [Author-Colleen Salchow] All Rights Reserved
Average Cost of Not Cooking At Home
Why cook at home with so many restaurants? According to recent studies, Americans spend about $3,000 a year eating at restaurants. Even during the shutdowns that occurred across the country in 2020 Americans would still line up in a drive thru and were ordering take out. We enjoy going to restaurants for a wide range of reasons including socializing, trying new foods, and to get out of the house. Restaurants charge more than the cost of the food to cover their other expenses. Unfortunately, the financial reality of 2022 is humbling.
Reality of American Debt
The reality is that Americans are carrying on average $90,460 of debt. According to CNBC, debt varies for age groups:
Baby Boomers- $96,984
Generation X- $135,841
Generation Z- $9,593
That debt impacts your overall net worth. It also impacts your debt-to-income ratio. The lower that percentage is the more likely you are to have access to loans. This is important as the housing market continues to break records and home values increase. Cooking at home requires planning, but it can also help you pay off debt.
Why Not Cook At Home?
Many of my financial coaching clients have justified not cooking at home. Here are just a few reasons.
Don’t Have Time to Grocery Shop
I have spent too much time waiting in line to check out of the grocery store too. There always seems to be only a few of the check out lines open. I don’t handle self-check out well. I overload the bags. Since I am rushing, I smash my produce and bread. Even with a grocery list, I still don’t find what I am looking for. Fortunately, we live in an area where grocery stores offer online ordering and free pick-up with minimum orders. Grocery pick-up has saved me time, which has saved our family money. You can not cook at home unless you have groceries to cook with.
Lack Cooking Equipment
When I graduated from college and moved into my first apartment, my Nana gave me a crockpot. She also gave me a recipe book filled with crockpot recipes. As a young adult, I didn’t know to ask for cooking equipment for Christmas or birthdays. Thankfully, I had family members that remembered what it was like to start their professional careers and live alone. I have found great bake ware and Pyrex dishes at thrift stores. If you have a young adult in your life that has moved into their first place, ask them what they have in the kitchen. That way you can identify what is missing. Cooking at home will require some basic pieces of equipment.
Too Busy To Cook At Home
I like to be active. Regardless of what season of life I’m in, I like to have activity in my daily schedule. With that being stated, I will probably never enjoy making a dinner that requires more than three pans. Even on Thanksgiving, I am more than willing to bring a passing dish or two. Nobody should be left responsible for cooking a multi-course meal. College students and young professionals that have moved away from home will not be natural cooks at first. Cooking requires practice. Grocery shopping requires practice. Meal planning requires practice. When we cook at home we are developing skills with each meal.
Different Types of Recipes to Cook At Home
Look at what is preventing you from cooking at home. Here are some common obstacles.
Time to Cook At Home
Look at your schedule. If you have long periods of time at home during the day, consider a crockpot recipe. These tend to need at least 4 hours to cook, but they also use lower cost ingredients. These recipes also make great leftovers. When you are busy, consider eating leftovers or an easy to prepare meal like salad with soup.
Lack of Equipment to Cook At Home With
Look online for recipes that require a few cooking tools. Search for one-pot or one-pan recipes. These usually require an oven.
Cook At Home for Left-Overs
You can save the leftovers to eat for dinner the next day. If your campus or office has a microwave you could heat up last night’s dinner for lunch.
When Learning To Cook At Home Remember…
Regardless of why you are cooking at home, please give yourself grace. Cooking is like a any other skill that takes practice to develop. If you burn something or add too much salt that’s normal. Look for recipes that call for common ingredients that are easy to find. For beginner cooks, look for chicken recipes since chicken tends to be lower priced than salmon or premium cuts of beef. I wrote another blog about family strategies for budgeting. If you have any questions about learning how to create your own budget you can contact me today.