You know you're getting older when on a single trip to the grocery store, you can't wait to get home and complain to your spouse about the price of a loaf of bread. It's 350% more expensive than it was when I first moved out of my parent's house and started grocery shopping on my own now many years ago.

But even in just the last few years, things have just gotten so darn expensive food-wise, let alone the last 25.

I remember being able to go to the store with $50 and stock up for a week or more back in my 20s. Meals, snacks, drinks, extra treats and more could be had for cheap "back in my day."

Nowadays, forget it. Bread is $3+ unless you want the cheapest-tasting bread you've ever eaten. Eggs? We all know about the cost of "eggflation" in the last few years. A 12-pack of soda is like $8-something. Remember when you could get two 12-packs for $6? Those days are gone! Chicken is $10+. Lean ground beef is $8-$10.

A family of four with a "moderate" grocery budget in America, on average, spends over $1,400 a month on groceries alone. That doesn't include other household items that may be needed like diapers, formula, paper and cleaning products, etc. Just food. Add in the other essentials and you're easily north of $2,000 per month.

There have been times I go to the grocery store with the sole purpose of shopping for JUST what I need to cook dinner that night. Let's say some chicken, potatoes, fresh veggies to make a salad, milk, and butter for the potatoes, some marinade and maybe some sauce for the chicken, plus some fresh corn on the cob. You're easily walking out having spent $50-60 or more for that one meal, with no drinks, no dessert, and having to cook it yourself.

Unsplash, Maria Lin Kim
Unsplash, Maria Lin Kim

Contrast that with the handful of times, you might go out to dinner somewhere. Maybe you don't go to the poshest restaurant in town, but you're not going for fast food burgers either. Can you get it done for less than $60? Probably, if you don't indulge your craving to have any beers or cocktails or lava cakes, and the like. And, you don't have to do the work to cook it yourself!

Granted, you can eat healthier if you cook it yourself at home, more often than not. You can also get seconds without raising any eyebrows or having to spend any more of your hard-earned cash.

But you certainly can feed a family of four for much cheaper - drinks included - going the fast food route.

So what's the verdict? In your experience is dining out cheaper than good old-fashioned grocery shopping? For the next month, add up what you spend on groceries for just meal items and compare it to what you spend on restaurants. I bet the results surprise you.

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