The Cost Of Food Habits

I wanted to make a post about how changes in food habits can lead to noticeable financial differences.

Table Of Contents

Coffee Habits

The first example is on coffee habits.

Suppose a coffee drinker buys a cup of coffee once a day. Each coffee costs $3.00 each. In terms of costs, this comes to 7 x 3 = $21 a week, $21 x 4 = $84 dollars for every 4 weeks (month) or $3 x 365 = $1095 per year (365 days).

Consider the case where a coffee drinker buys a cup of coffee twice a day. Assuming the cup of coffee costs $3.00 each the costs would be double of the previous case. This comes to $42 a week, $168 for every 4 weeks (month) or $2190 per year (365 days).

Now consider a coffee drinker who buys a cup of coffee twice per week. Each cup of coffee costs $3.00 each. This comes to $3 x 2 = $6.00 per week, $6.00 x 4 = $24  per month (4 weeks) or $6 x 52 = $312 per year.

The coffee drinker who brews his or her own coffee using a coffee machine such as Keurig or a Tassimo would pay a bit initially for the coffee machine but the cost per cup of coffee would be lower than $3.00 a cup. (I would not know the exact costs in this case.)

It is obvious that less coffee consumption leads to less spending. With these hypothetical cases, one can easily notice the difference in costs.

Frequency Of Dining Out

This next couple of cases are about dining out and fast food meals.

Suppose a couple dines out every single weeknight (5 days a week). Each meal costs on average $22 per person (excluding tips) or $44 for both. This cost comes to $44 x 5 = $220 a week or $220 x 52 = $11 440 per year.

Consider a different couple dining out every weekend night (Saturday and Sunday nights). Each meal costs on average $32 per person or $64 for both. This cost comes to $64 x 2 = $128 a week or $128 x 52 = $6656 per year.

A third pair of couples dine out every two weeks on a Saturday night. Each meal costs on average $50 per person or $100 for both. This cost comes to $100 every two weeks or $100 x 26 = $2600 per year.

Fast Food Habits

Sometimes dining out can be a bit of hassle as there are wait times (getting ready, driving to the restaurant, waiting for food). Consider a few of these fast food cases.

Two friends want to take a break from cooking once every two weeks. They also do not want to dine out. They order a large pizza every two weeks. This pizza costs $20 each. This comes to $20 x 26 = $520 per year.

Two co-workers go out for work lunch every single workday (5 days a week). Each lunch costs on average $15 per person. This habit costs the one co-worker $15 x 5 x 52 = $3900 per year.

Suppose the same two co-workers go out for work lunch 3 times a week. Each lunch costs on average $15 per person. This habit costs the one co-worker $15 x 3 x 52 = $2340 per year. (A difference of $1560 from the previous example.)

Blue Apron / Chef’s Plate Examples



What Is Blue Apron/Chef’s Plate?

In the United States there is this subscription based service called Blue Apron where it delivers fresh ingredients and recipes to customers’ doors on a weekly basis. In Canada, we have Chef’s Plate instead of Blue Apron which is pretty much the same thing. (Note that there are competitors similar to Blue Apron and Chef’s Plate.)

These subscriptions are flexible in the sense that the customer can cancel at any time. Subscription plans are for two people or a family/group of four. There are no individual subscription plans.

In these examples I will be referring to Chef’s Plate and Canadian prices.

A 2 person plan at Chef’s Plate with two recipes/meals a week comes to $49.80 weekly. This $49.80 weekly is from 4 servings of $10.95 per serving and the $6.00 delivery. On a yearly basis this $49.80 weekly price comes to $49.80 x 52 = $2 589.60 a year.

A 2 person plan at Chef’s Plate with four meals a week is $87.60 weekly. This is from $10.95 per serving multiplied by 8 servings with free delivery. On a yearly basis this cost would be $87.60 x 52 = $4555.20 per year.

One of the family of four plans is 3 recipes or 12 servings a week at $117.00 weekly. This plan has free delivery and comes to $9.75 a serving. On a yearly basis this comes to $117.00 x 52 = $6084 per year.


The scenarios listed above would not exactly match your current lifestyle. The scenarios were set up to make the math calculations easier. You may choose to dine out every week, then every month and then change back to every week. Spending habits can be random so your own spending calculations would vary.

For those who want to break the habit of dining out too much (as an example), you do not have to transition from dining out five days a week to none at all. You can make gradual changes. An example could be from dining out 5 times a week to 3 times a week to weekend nights.

Buying your own groceries combined with home cooking reduces costs significantly. The slight downside to home cooking is that it takes time, effort and discipline for buying groceries, food preparation and cooking times. Keep in mind the balance between (time) convenience and cost when it comes to choosing between dining out and home cooking.

Those with very tight budgets would find dining out expensive and are limited to home cooking. Even certain people with large incomes do not dine out as much and prefer home cooking.

In terms of pricing it seems that these type of meal kits subscription services such as Blue Apron and Chef’s Plate are more expensive than home cooked meals, pizza, and some fast food items but less expensive than dining out. You still have to take the time to cook the ingredients.

There are cases where you can keep leftovers from dining out. A large pizza for two people can yield leftovers.

The money saved from (expensive) habits could be used for other things such as vacations, savings, investment, retirement, etc.

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