Throughout my life, I’ve basically refused to learn to cook.
Like any entitled millennial, I dealt with it by eating out a lot. When I was a chip guy, I went to Subway so often that I’d make eye contact as I was coming in, head to the bathroom, and come out 60 seconds later to a completed sub. Between that, grilling stuff on the barbeque, making pasta, and befriending people who liked to cook, I managed to eat pretty well throughout my 20s.
Yeah, it cost me a lot of money, but I compensated in other ways. Pasta was one of my go-to meals, which is ridiculously cheap if you don’t add any meat. I never did — n0t because I didn’t like it, but because I didn’t know how to brown hamburger without giving myself the diarrhea.
God, I was pathetic.
I always was okay with my eating out because I was always moving ahead when it came to the money. Yeah, I might have spent $500 per month just eating out, but I was cheap enough with everything else that I was still making all sorts of progress. I’m sure that there are many other people who justify it in the same way as I did. Plus, y’know, I’m a millennial, and therefore DESERVED it. Yes, we are a despicable generation.
But now that I’m in my 30s and I want to apparently end up with all of the money, I’ve been forced to drastically cut back my eating out. The lady and I might go once or twice a week now, but that’s about it.
At first I decided that I would just sit around and let her cook, offering to clean up afterwards. That was all fine and good for a few days, before I realized something. She works until 5:30, which means dinner wouldn’t be until 6:30. As a man who wants his dinner NOW, DAMMIT, this wouldn’t do.
So I was forced to learn to cook. And surprisingly (at least to me), it’s really easy. Like, damn easy.
Now before y’all accuse me of being the next Gordon Ramsey, let me say that I’m hardly a master. Honestly, even the worst of housewives would probably scoff at my inability to accurately even identify what a soufflé is, let alone properly bring out the taste in preparing one. But I know the basics, and, if I can handle them, then I’m pretty sure a trained farm animal could. So what’s your excuse?
How much can you save?
The amount of money spent dining out can really add up.
Let’s take old Nelson as an example. He’d spend $10 on lunch five days a week, and $15 for dinner four days a week. That’s $110 per week of delicious, gooey, boner inducing food served by sexy waitresses who at least had to pretend to be nice to single me. Say I also spent $100 per month on groceries.
Compare that to now, where I’m spending about $20 per week on food outside of my house, and about $200 per month for my share of the groceries. Altogether, I’m saving about $270 per month in food, and it takes me approximately two extra hours a week to prepare things and do the dishes afterwards. Since that’s time I would have probably squandered anyway, let’s value it at nothing.
$270 per month in food savings works out to $3,270 per year less I’m spending on food. Let’s use the handy compound interest calculator to see what this money can do if I invest it at a 10% return over the next 50 years.
Well hey, that’s not bad, even if I cherry-picked the duration a bit. Still, I think we could all use an extra $3270 per year.
The secret to easily cooking anything
I feel bad putting that into a headline, since the secret to learn to cook is really easy. I’ll break it down into steps.
1. Crack open Google.
2. Search for “(thing you want to cook)”
3. Click on the first link
4. You know how to read, right?
5. Okay, now this is getting ridiculous
That’s how simple it is. If you limit your searches to things like meatballs, ribs, or fancy new ways to do potatoes (I recommend roasted, but that’s because it’s really easy), you’ll be met with recipes that offer five minute prep times. I can prepare the food, pop it in the oven, and be back to wasting time on the internet in no time.
Other ways to save money on food
If you’re not satisfied with just regular grocery store savings compared to eating out, here are some other things I do to save money on food.
Almost expired meat
One of the advantages to living in a small town is our grocery stores aren’t busy enough that they’re constantly selling out of meat. This leads to discounts of the soon to be expired stuff. You better believe that ends up in my cart, and then in my freezer.
This one is obvious, but still needs to be said. And since 3 of my town’s grocery stores are within a 3 minute drive of each other, shopping around is ridiculously easy. Enjoy your 20 minute drive to hit 3 grocery stores, city suckers.
Shoppers Drug Mart
It obviously doesn’t carry any produce or meat, but Shoppers has some of the best sales in Canada for packaged stuff. Go early on Friday for the best selection of their special 3 day sale stuff.
It’s not around anymore, but man I loved Liquidation World. They had so much cheap food it was unbelievable. I remember loading up on enough $2 frozen pizzas that I could eat for a month.
Any other suggestions on how to save money on food, or how you learned to cook? Comment away, bitches.