food

"I spent one week eating out, then one week eating at home. Here's how much I saved."

Nerada
Thanks to our brand partner, Nerada

I moved out of home a few years ago now, and there’s one thing I struggle with more than anything else.

I can’t cook. No. No.  

As in… I really can’t cook.

And worse than that, I don’t care.

I genuinely have less than zero interest in learning how to make a number of disparate ingredients into something edible. I’d much rather come home, order Thai, and sit in front of the heater asking my dog how his day was (“yeah good thanks, did a big sniff etc.”).

I’m often told that I would save an enormous amount of money if I learned to cook, and started bringing my lunch to work. But I’m not entirely convinced.

My two housemates are vegetarians (which I ideologically believe in, it’s just that most days I eat meat) and therefore I’m usually left to my own devices when it comes to the whole putting food in my pie-hole thing.

So I decided to stage an experiment. For one week I ate entirely from home, making fancy foods like toast, pasta (variety isn’t my strong point) and even a stir fry (it tasted like… mistake).

Then for week two, I ate only takeout, buying breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday for five days.

Here’s how it went.

WEEK ONE

Monday:

Breakfast: Vegemite on toast

Drinks: Nerada black tea

Snack: Two mandarins (free in the office kitchen)

Lunch: Chicken salad with lettuce, beetroot, feta, carrot, onion, tomato and balsamic vinaigrette

Dinner: Gnocchi with pasta sauce

Tuesday: 

Breakfast: Avocado on toast (traded in for a house – totally worth it)

Drinks: Nerada black tea

Lunch: Crunchy brown roll with avocado, chicken, tomato, carrot, cucumber and mayonnaise

Dinner: Gnocchi with pasta sauce… again. Because I made too much last night

Wednesday: 

Breakfast: An apple (taken from office kitchen)

Drinks: Nerada black tea

Life saver. Image: Getty.
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Lunch: Vegetarian bread roll with avocado, tomato, beetroot, carrot, cucumber and mayonnaise

Dinner: Soft tacos with mince meat, cheese, sour cream, onion, lettuce, tomato, avocado

Thursday: 

Breakfast: Vegemite on toast

Drinks: Nerada black tea

Lunch: Mexican left overs

Dinner: Lasagne, it was frozen so all I had to do was chuck it in the oven. Genius.  This is a breakthrough.

Friday: 

Breakfast: Vegemite toast

Drinks: Nerada black tea

Lunch: Left over lasagne (felt depressing).

Dinner: Stir fry with broccoli, mushrooms, capsicum and stir fry marinade with brown rice. I think this was definitely missing some ingredients but I did my best.

MEXICAN. Image: Supplied.
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In total, my spending on food and drinks this week came to $116.45.

Some of the food I made was a disaster, to say the least. But the biggest surprise came with swapping out my coffee for tea. An entire bag of Nerada tea bags (there are 40 in a pack) costs $5... that's only 50 cents more than my daily coffee.

On top of an enormous saving, (my weekly coffee intake costs at least $22.50), Nerada is Aussie grown, pesticide free and always fresh. I saved the environment five coffee cups as well, which just generally made me feel like a better human.

WEEK TWO

Monday: 

Breakfast: Vegemite toast from cafe across the road $4

Drinks: Coffee with soy milk $4.50

Lunch: Chicken and haloumi salad $10

Dinner: Pad see yew with tofu $13.90

Tuesday:

Breakfast: Avocado toast from cafe across the road $4

Drinks: Coffee with soy milk $4.50

The killer... Image: Supplied.
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Lunch: Chicken salad, avocado, onion, feta, cucumber, capsicum, balsamic, with a bread roll $10.90

Dinner: Nando's classic chicken wrap $7.95

Wednesday: 

Breakfast: Avocado toast from cafe across the road $4

Drinks: Coffee with soy milk $4.50

Lunch: Chicken wrap, lettuce, tomato, mayo $9

Dinner: Dumplings $18

Thursday:

Breakfast: Vegemite toast from cafe across the road $4

Drinks: Coffee with soy milk $4.50

Lunch: Chicken and salad roll, lettuce, tomato, onion, beetroot, avocado and mayo $9

Dinner: Penne arrabiata $14

Friday: 

Breakfast: Vegemite toast from cafe across the road $4

Drinks: Coffee with soy milk $4.50

Lunch: Chicken and haloumi salad $10

Dinner: Malaysian stir fry $15

In total, I spent $160.25.

That's $43.80 more than I spent the week before.

If I multiply that by the 52 weeks of the year, I'd save $2227 - enough to fly me to Europe. And that's only including week days.

I am literally eating myself out of a holiday.

And, if I just swapped out buying my daily coffee for a cup of tea, I'd save no less than $1135. MORE THAN ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS. This is an absolute game changer.

It doesn't mean that I'll never eat takeaway again, but I will definitely be aware, every time I chew away at my Thai, or sip on my large coffee, that I am one step further from my dream holiday.

How much do you spend on food each week? Share with us in the comments section.

This content was created with thanks to our brand partner Nerada. 

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