Consider Your Time Cost

I have a secret for you today. 


I don't really like going to the grocery store. 


And a trip to Walmart? 


Um, yeah, I'd rather clean a hundred toilets than take that challenge on.


In fact, shopping is one of those things that I'll do just about anything to get around, which really helps my budget. 


A few years ago a friend of  mine and I were talking about what was for dinner, and I mentioned that I was making some sort of meat, veggies, and had fresh bread in the oven.


She kind of looked at me like I was from another era . . . the thought of a busy mom making fresh bread in 2013 (or whatever year it was), just wasn't normal to her. 


But here's the thing . . . I don't have time not to make fresh bread.


If I look through my pantry and we're out of bread (or whatever convenience food I'm looking for), it's waayyyyy  easier for me to dump the ingredients in my bread machine and mix up a loaf. (It really, really, really helps that I have a bread machine ~ this is similar to the one I use ~ and have had for 15 years.)

My time baking bread? Done in five minutes flat (with a cute helper alongside of me.)


Time to head to the store for a loaf? Easily twenty minutes, most likely $20, and that cute helper alongside of me quickly turns into the oh-my-goodness-I-need-it-all-right-now-please-please-please-please-momma child. 😉


The same is true with eating out.


I hear people say all the time that they don't have time to cook a meal, but honestly, I don't have time not to cook.


Going to a restaurant ~ even a drive thru ~ easily takes thirty minutes to an hour with my busy bunch.


Making sandwiches or spaghetti at home can literally be finished up in twenty minutes flat. And yes, it means I'll have dirty dishes to deal with, but I have fantastic helpers who can help me along with that.



The next time you're considering going to the store for just one convenience item or heading out to eat because you just don't have the time to cook, really really consider the time cost involved. Maybe I'm the only one who feels this way, but it's worth really considering if your time saved really is time saved. 


Am I the only one who does the mental math on this stuff all the time? 🙂 I'd love to hear your thoughts ~ leave a comment to share!



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  1. You are not the only one who feels that way. I would much rather have a home cooked meal than go out to eat. I too have 3 children and it costs a fortune to eat out and usually doesn’t taste near as good. Clean up doesn’t take very long when others pitch in to help.

  2. I was just having a similar debate for dinner tonight. My husband is out of town and I thought the kids and I would order a pizza. Since I do not want to pay a $3 delivery fee, I would have to drive to the pizza place across town since the one closest doesn’t have a drive-thru and I don’t want to mess with the in and out of the car seat with my youngest. So much easier to just pop in a frozen pizza and slice up some fruit. And we stay dry from the rain!

  3. Brandy E. says

    I think it depends on if you’re already home, or already out. Also how many people you have to feed. It is generally only my son and I and we almost always have a BOGO coupon to somewhere. If we’re already out running errands we’ll most likely eat out rather than go home because it saves us time in that case. If we’re home then I’ll cook so we don’t have to leave the house. 🙂

  4. Stephanie says

    Not to mention the cost (both financial and environmental) of driving. My dad’s rule of thumb is that it costs you about $10 each time you start your car (including gas and wear and tear that will result in maintenance costs). When you think about it like that, it makes me want to stay home unless I have a really good reason to go out! I usually like to have at least three errands to accomplish at once if I’m going to leave the house.

  5. Aisha R. says

    I agree with you even though I do not always think like that. I am generally out most of the time so to stop by the store for something is generally pretty easy for me. Eating out is something that tends to grind my gears only because it it so expensive and there is only 3 of us right now so I can’t imagine the cost as we continue to expand out family.

  6. Yup! I don’t not have time to cook dinner.

  7. What recipe do you use to make bread in your bread maker? I have never found one I really like.

  8. I always think of the multitude of reasons I don’t want to go out for food. I’m also like this about trimming my bangs 🙂 It cost $5 every month when I have them done, plus I have to drive 40 minutes round trip to get it done. I invested in some quality trimming shears and thinning shears and sure, it’s not professional, but gets the job done.

  9. We rarely eat out as a family.
    We sometimes grab something fast and cheap at a fast food restaurant like McDonalds.
    My husband loves to cook and prefers that we eat a home cooked meal at home.
    He usually does the cooking and I clean the mess up after dinner.
    Works well for us, especially since we live 20 miles from the nearest town.

    • Thank you for sharing Lesia – eating out is just the biggest waste of money in our family (although we do enjoy it sometimes!) Definitely would help being further from town – I’m working more and more on creative ways to make foods that we love at restaurants to help us save as well. Thanks for sharing!

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