Let's take as a simple example, the morning breakfast meal. A simple egg sandwich on an English Muffin is easy to prepare and inexpensive. It is also easy to compare with a similar meal from a fast-food restaurant:
Egg Sandwich with hash browns made at home:Walmart English Muffins: $2.28 for package of 12 or 19 cents each.WalMart brick of Cheddar/Swiss Cheese: $19.98 per package of 120 or 16.65 cents each.WalMart Eggs, average $1.25 per dozen, or 12 cents each.Hash Brown Pattie, frozen, $2 for package of 10, or 20 cents each.TOTAL COST: 92 cents.Egg McMuffin: $2.79Hash Browns: $1.00Coffee: $1.00Total: $4.79
Egg McMuffin "Meal" : $3.99 (a savings of 80 cents!)
Bear in mind that breakfast is the cheapest meal you can buy in a restaurant, too!
In other words, when you eat at a restaurant, even a "fast food" restaurant (which people claim are a bargain) you are multiplying your food budget by a factor of at least four.