I like to believe that a man or a woman should be even to feed oneself by cooking a proper meal. Thankfully, we live in a world that we do not need to engage in farming or raise/hunt animals -- there are people who do it for us better and cheaper -- but it wouldn't hurt to actually know farming, raising cattle, and hunting. After all, we need to eat well in order to live and food is something we need at least three times a day.
Why is food more expensive outside the home?
It's not the ingredients, folks! These businesses use the cheapest ingredients they can find; it's the labor. By cooking your food, they are adding value, and since labor is far more expensive in America than stuff, you will pay a lot more. That is why, even when my wife and I have a gourmet meal at home with champagne or French/Spanish/California and using grass-fed/organic meats/vegetables/cheese/butter and so forth, we have done the Math and we find that it is about 20% the cost of going out. And in most cases, the comparison is hard to do since restaurants rarely serve organic/grass-fed proteins/vegetables/cheeses/butter.
Why not cook at home?
So, we do enjoy eating out once in a while, particularly food that we cannot cook at home, e.g. sushi. Also, for special occasions, when we are just ready to be spoiled by someone else doing the work for us. And finally, there are days that we are just lazy to cook or have been out all day and there is no time to cook at home. What we don't do is to just mindlessly keep eating out or order takeouts (actually, if you can go pick it up yourself, it is cheaper than eating in the restaurants because you can have your own alcohol and you are not tipping as much).
That is why we almost never buy coffee outside the house because it is so expensive. A cup of coffee can easily cost $2-4 at Starbucks (my wife and I share a large cup rather than order our own individual cups in case we are outside and need coffee) while brewing shade-grown, fair trade, organic coffee that I buy in bulk comes out to be about 50 cents.
How does this impact wealth creation?
You might be saying that these are small luxuries that you enjoy and they will never make you rich. Wrong. Actually, these small habits can add up to thousands of dollars of savings over a year. As I have been discussing, habits like having just one car, maxing out the use of a cell phone, and avoiding subscriptions of any kind have added up to massive savings for us over the decades, and our million dollar net worth is proof of that.
Look, for people like us who have not inherited any money and must save every dollar that we can invest, the only way to find that money is to NOT spend it on something.