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Cooking vs. Takeout: How Much Do You Save by Making Meals at Home?



Listen, I get it. The decision to order takeout is rarely rooted in economics. It’s more about convenience, not having to do the dishes, familiarity, a sense of comfort or fulfilling a distinct craving. If you’re someone, however, who defaults to ordering takeout, and especially delivery, more often than you think you should — it’s me, hi — you might already be feeling the impact of all that food on your bank account. Making meals at home is typically a more financially sound option over dining out or getting delivery. This is not news. But it prompts some questions: What if you were to learn how to make your takeout favorites at home? Would being able to make yourself a spicy chicken sandwich or pad Thai actually encourage you to cook more?

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We previously did the math to find out how much you’ll save buying groceries from Costco or Trader Joe’s (spoiler: it’s a lot). We did even more tabulations to see if meal kits were still more expensive than buying all the groceries yourself (spoiler: just barely).

For this exercise, I considered eight relatively easy-to-execute dishes that represent some of America’s favorite takeout dishes, then tallied the grocery and delivery receipts for the respective bottom lines, and more importantly, the difference between them. So now the big question is: How much can you actually save by making your takeout favorites at home? 

The most popular takeout items

Hands grabbing slices of pizza

We used the most popular takeout items to see how much you can trim off your monthly food bill by making them at home. 

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Googling “most popular takeout in the US” will yield any number of sites that claim to have calculated such stats, so I consulted several of them and then focused on those items or cuisines that appeared over and over again. “Chicken” mysteriously tops the list of the most popular takeout in America, without much context as to what form the chicken might take. I think it’s fair to assume that a lot of takeout chicken is fried, though, whether on a sandwich, as wings, whole chicken pieces or even fingers. If you can relate to the impulse of frequently ordering (probably fried) chicken, and especially if even reading that sentence made you reflexively pull up Seamless on your phone, I have one strong piece of money-saving advice for you already: Invest now in an air fryer. (Seriously, with small options as low as $50 you will save yourself beaucoup dollars in the long run.)

Other takeout favorites that I tackled here include pizza, burritos, burgers, fried rice, pad Thai and macaroni and cheese.

Takeout vs. making it at home

Spicy chicken sandwich Chicken tenders w/ fries Deluxe cheeseburger combo Pepperoni pizza Chicken burrito Chicken fried rice Chicken pad Thai Macaroni and cheese
Serving size 1 sandwich 1 order 1 order 1 large pizza 1 burrito 1 quart 1 order 2 cups
Takeout $4.99 $10.99 $13.69 $15.49 $14.25 $11.75 $11.50 $13.29
Delivery $11.32 $18.86 $23.79 $24.25 $24.40 $16.88 $19.45 $24.98
DIY version $2.78 $2.60 $4.63 $9.90 $4.10 $7.57 $6.47 $5.73
Savings versus takeout $2.21 $8.39 $9.06 $5.59 $10.15 $4.18 $5.03 $7.56
Savings versus delivery $8.54 $16.26 $19.16 $14.35 $20.30 $9.31 $12.98 $19.25

Takeout vs. making it at home: How I calculated

Utilizing comparable recipes to takeout favorites that can be easily found online, I sourced grocery store prices via conventional stores in my area (Astoria, Queens) to tabulate the costs to purchase the items needed to make those recipes, going for the path of least resistance wherever possible (i.e. prepared pizza dough and pizza sauce instead of concocting them both from scratch). 

I scaled the costs according to the amount that is actually needed of any given item for each recipe. If you’re starting with an empty refrigerator and pantry, you will have to spend more upfront, that’s true, but over time if you become savvy at fakeout takeout, you’ll be starting with many things you already have in stock at home. Whenever possible, since the theme is cost savings, I used generic brands over store brands.


Takeout/delivery prices for comparison were sourced via Seamless or Uber Eats. I defaulted to fast food or fast-casual chain menus to compare prices, which is outlined more specifically below under “dish by dish.” You can imagine even larger savings, then, if you’re typically ordering from local restaurants or bars that are not chains. Tax and tip were also factored into the bottom line, since that’s the reality of delivery, amiright? (I have been known to spend $20 on a slice of carrot cake once all the fees are accounted for just for the convenience of having it brought to me.)

Several notes about these metrics: In many cases, the delivery cost was inflated due to a number of factors, usually a delivery fee charged by the restaurant on top of the tip you’d add for the driver. This is why I also noted the cost of the item alone, should you actually be carrying it out from the store yourself, and not sitting on your couch waiting for it to be delivered to you. (It’s me again, hi.

uber eats driver

Delivery sure is convenient, but those bills add up quickly. 

Horacio Villalobos/Corbis via Getty Images

Also, since I was looking at the cost of just that one item, any delivery fee charged by the restaurant would usually be amortized over multiple items, presuming you’d ordered more than just one thing, and in some cases, the delivery fee is waived if you spend more than a certain amount of money. If the reality of your life, however, like mine, is that you’re far too willing to ignore those kinds of costs in order to fulfill a craving or make your life easier, and you’re just in it for that one spicy chicken sandwich, for example, then my numbers reflect the real-world cost of having just that one item delivered to satisfy your whim.


Dish by dish: Where are the biggest savings?

Spicy chicken sandwich 

Working with “chicken” as a guide, I went with what may be becoming America’s favorite sandwich and compared the cost of a Popeye’s Spicy Chicken Sandwich with the home-cooked version. If you’re typically grabbing it at the drive-through, while the savings here are still close to 50% if you were to make it at home, that only amounts to about $2. While every little bit counts in today’s economy, I’m willing to concede that it might not be worth it. If you’re getting it delivered, however? That one little sandwich more than doubles in price. Even given the price of gas, I’d probably get in the car and go get it myself.

  • Cost for takeout: $4.99
  • Cost for delivery: $11.32
  • Cost to make at home: $2.78

Chicken fingers with fries 

Again I went with Popeye’s here, but you can assume even greater savings if you’re ordering a basket of chicken fingers and fries from your local sports bar. I opted here for frozen chicken tenders and frozen fries as the DIY version, partly because I believe in the almighty power of the air fryer, and also because I’m not insane. Who in the real world is cutting potatoes from scratch and deep-frying chicken at home in order to save a buck or two? You’re looking at about $8 in savings if you were to have picked up your meal rather than make it at home, or about $16 for delivery.

  • Cost for takeout: $10.99
  • Cost for delivery: $11.32
  • Cost to make at home: $2.78
popeyes chicken sandwich

If you want fried chicken on the regular, and on the cheap, you should pony up for an air fryer as soon as possible.

Getty Images/Tribune News Service

Deluxe cheeseburger combo 

I based the figures here on McDonald’s Quarter Pounder with cheese combo, which includes fries and a soft drink. Second only to throwing some frozen tenders and fries in the air fryer (or oven, if you’re not yet a convert), griddling a burger patty doesn’t really require much effort. And for your minimal effort, you can stand to save almost $20 if you resist the urge to have it delivered. Pro-tip: I freeze hamburger meat in 4-ounce portions in freezer bags, already smashed into a patty, which takes very little time to thaw. Also a bonus here? Your fries will probably still be hot and crispy having not sweated it out in the bag during the delivery ride.

  • Cost for takeout: $13.69
  • Cost for delivery: $23.79
  • Cost to make at home: $4.63
Pepperoni pizza pie

Making pizza at home requires a little more skill than some recipes but the savings are enormous.

Say Cheese/Getty Images

Pepperoni pizza 

In keeping with the path of least resistance, my figures here were based on a Papa John’s large pepperoni pizza, versus making one yourself with grocery store pizza dough, premade sauce, already-shredded mozzarella and pepperoni rounds. Every one of those elements, though, can be even less expensive if you’re committed to really going for it from scratch. (Look up a pizza dough recipe that utilizes beer for one of the best cooking hacks ever.) Even with the quick version though, you can save between $10 and $15 by fulfilling your pizza craving at home.

  • Cost for takeout: $15.49
  • Cost for delivery: $24.25
  • Cost to make at home: $9.90

Chicken fried rice 

There’s something to be said for the economics of ordering from your local Chinese restaurant, especially depending on how many meals you can make out of a quart of fried rice. (If the answer is one, no judgment.) Then again, there’s something to be said for how easy fried rice is to make, especially since you can customize it with whatever meat and veggies you have on hand. The only really necessary ingredients are rice, eggs, and soy sauce. The savings are more modest here, but still not insignificant, and you can keep about $10 in your pocket for 10 minutes of your time at the stove. (In addition to my love of air fryers, if you’ve got a good rice cooker thing going, this is also going to come in handy here.)

  • Cost for takeout: $11.75
  • Cost for delivery: $16.88
  • Cost to make at home: $7.57
  • chipotle burrito

    A Chipotle burrito is a thing of beauty but not so difficult to replicate at home. 


Chicken burrito 

There are savings to be had here if you’re willing to make yourself a pollo burrito at home, yes, but I must concede that there are certain X factors that may make Chipotle burritos worth their weight, one of those factors being the sheer weight of fillings the staff seem committed to giving you. Also, I don’t even know if you can find a Chipotle-size tortilla in a conventional grocery store. (They are literally a foot wide.) The other X factor for me is the variety; you’ve got to get a lot of ingredients lined up to really approximate the Chipotle experience. That being said, a modest, doubtlessly better-for-you burrito made at home can save up to $20 over getting a Chipotle burrito delivered.

  • Cost for takeout: $14.25
  • Cost for delivery: $24.40
  • Cost to make at home: $4.10

Chicken pad Thai 

Admittedly, pad Thai is going to involve some more specialty ingredients than you might already have on hand, like flat rice noodles and fish sauce. Having cooked pad Thai in a culinary education setting, however, I appreciate how this recipe utilizes several pantry-staple workarounds that circumvent the need for even more specialty ingredients such as tamarind paste or palm sugar. It’s a little more involved than fried rice, but there are certain bragging or self-congratulating rights that come along with making pad Thai from scratch, in addition to the nearly $13 in savings.

  • Cost for takeout: $11.50
  • Cost for delivery: $19.45
  • Cost to make at home: $6.47
mac and cheese topped with breadcrumbs

Mac and cheese made at home is a huge money-saver.

Jane Rubtsova/Getty

Macaroni and cheese 

Panera is one of the most oft-copycatted fast-casual chains when it comes to their recipes, and mac and cheese top the list. We’ve previously brought you ways to fancy up your boxed macaroni and cheese, but if you want a truly decadent experience, a copycat version of Panera’s will set you back just over $5 in groceries, amounting to a savings of between $8 and $20 over if you were to pick some up or have it delivered.

  • Cost for takeout: $13.29
  • Cost for delivery: $24.98
  • Cost to make at home: $5.73

Bottom line: Takeout and delivery are freakin’ expensive

By my calculations, on average, cooking your takeout staples at home amounted to about a 50% savings over ordering those same items as carryout, and a shocking 75% savings if you’re routinely getting them delivered. (Delivery fees and driver tips are no joke, y’all.) Let’s say, conservatively, that you ordered each of those eight items once over the course of a month — that’s getting takeout or delivery about twice a week — the overall savings compared to carryout was just over $50, and the overall savings versus delivery was… wait for it… $120. In one month. Now parse that figure out over the course of 12 months if you are in fact someone prone to getting delivery more than once a week — that’s $1,440 in savings over the course of the year. Imagine what that might get you. (Certainly, an air fryer must be in order, yes?)

More kitchen and delivery recommendations

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Smartphone scams are dead – Android Authority




Robert Triggs/Android Authority

Ten years ago, the 2013 Samsung Galaxy S4 was a technological marvel. Android phones had only been around for a few years at that point, and it seemed like the Galaxy S4 could do a lot despite its small size. As consumers, we were delighted. So much so, that to this day the Galaxy S4 remains the best-selling Android phone of all time, with over 80 million units sold.

However, that was ten years ago – an eternity in the tech world. Things have changed dramatically since then. The smartphone tricks we saw in the Galaxy S4 — like the Smart Scroll, which let you scroll the contents of your screen by moving your head up or down — would be completely ridiculous to see in a 2023 phone.

Today, smartphones are ubiquitous gadgets, not technical marvels. Consumers are using their phones more than ever before, yes, but that has faded the shine. Modern smartphone buyers don’t want gimmicks. They want a phone that fixes the basics and hides in the background.


In 2023, if a smartphone manufacturer thinks that some cool new trick will be the backbone that sells its phones, it will be in a world of disappointment. Not only will consumers care, but investing in research and development for this trick could do more harm than good.

What are the tricks of the smartphone?

Google Pixel 4 XL Long Range 2 review

Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

The term “gimmick” can be used broadly. In general, when it comes to smartphones, we think of gimmicks as features that are only applicable to very specific situations, appeal to a limited subset of users, or offer no real value (or some combination thereof).

One of history’s most egregious examples of smartphone scams was the Soli radar system in the Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL. Soli was a set of front-facing radar sensors that could track your hand movements. They let you do things like pause the music simply by waving your hand near the screen. While Soli performed as advertised, consumers simply didn’t care, and the Pixel 4 series was the biggest failure in Pixel history.

If your star phone feature only appeals to a few people, it’s probably a gimmick.


A more recent example came with the OnePlus 10 Pro last year. This phone was equipped with an ultra-high resolution camera with a field of view of 150 degrees. This was essentially a fish-eye lens, creating highly distorted images that looked unreal. Although software trickery helped fix images in post-processing, critics and consumers alike saw no need for such a bizarre lens. OnePlus eliminated the lens on this year’s OnePlus 10T and OnePlus 11.

Here are some other smartphone tricks we’ve seen:

  • foreign matter: OnePlus recently announced the Jupiter Rock Edition of the OnePlus 11. It has a back that is basically made of rock. Who asked for this?
  • Macro lenses: While a great telephoto lens can be an interesting addition to a solid lens collection, most of the time that’s not the case. Often, OEMs will throw in cheap 2MP macro lenses to make a phone look more premium than it is. In other words, the thought process is that more lenses = better cameras, which consumers are no longer fooled by.
  • Super fast charging: While it’s crazy to see 240W charging speeds on a smartphone (that’s fast enough to charge from empty to full in about ten minutes), who really needs that? These speeds are also said to be detrimental to the health of the battery, thus shortening the life of your phone.
  • Cooling systems: Lenovo Legion Duel 2 – a gaming phone – had a cooling fan built into it. While this is practical for a phone designed for gamers, it also made the phone unwieldy, prevented an IP rating, and made wireless charging impossible. It solved one problem at the expense of basic smartphone features. Likewise, OnePlus’ latest concept phone has a liquid cooling system that didn’t even work.

These gimmicks don’t help sell phones because they don’t give us what we really want: a great overall experience.

But what about phones in specific niches, like rugged phones? Is the rugged phone a gimmick? I’d argue it isn’t, but they also don’t sell in the numbers we’d see with something like the Galaxy S series. These phones exist for specific purposes for a specific consumer, so they get a special pass.

The current smartphone successes are all the evidence you need

Google Pixel 7 Pro camera housing

Robert Triggs/Android Authority

We know why smartphone manufacturers invest in these kinds of tricks. They obviously think they’ll help sell the phones or, at the very least, help their products stand out from the crowd. This is an odd strategy because the most successful phones tend to be relatively gimmick-free.


Here in the US, the iPhone is by far the most popular smartphone. For the first time ever, Apple has more than 50% of the market in the US, leaving the other half to Android OEMs (mostly Samsung). The iPhone doesn’t have a lot of tricks. One could argue that Dynamic Island is a gimmick, but it’s one that consumers seem to enjoy, so it doesn’t really count.

Unsurprisingly, the most successful phones are also some of the most gimmick-free.

In second place, Samsung’s Galaxy S series also stands out as being gimmick-free. The Galaxy S23 Ultra’s S Pen may be a bit gimmicky for some. However, it’s also incredibly popular and a calling card for a premium Galaxy experience, so we’ll be happy to let this feature slip. Despite this, the Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Plus are pretty boring with how functional and no-nonsense they are. And guess what? The Galaxy S23 line is selling better than the Galaxy S22 line.

Of course, we can’t forget about Google’s pixel font. The Google Pixel 7 Pro doesn’t have any weird tricks up its sleeve, and was voted the best Android phone of 2022 by both Android Authority And our readers. It’s interesting that when Google gave up the tricks, it ended up selling more phones than ever before.

Obviously, phones can reach consumers without gimmicks. However, Dynamic Island and the S Pen show that there is still room for fun and doing things differently.


However, phones can still be fun

None Phone Number 1 graphic on the back

Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

We’ve already discussed plenty of examples of stupid smartphone tricks that get in the way of a good experience. However, some tricks work.

Take Nothing Phone 1, for example. The lights on the back of the device — officially known as The Glyph — appear to be a ridiculous gimmick. Once you use the phone, you will realize that it is actually an Android smartphone with a strange light show added. In other words, The Glyph can be ignored, and you’ll still get a great Android experience with a very fair cost-to-value ratio.

I’m not against the trick. There is plenty of room for fun features.

This is a great example of how doing tricks properly can be beneficial. Nothing crammed into The Glyph comes at the expense of wireless charging, a premium feel, or a decent camera system. Use the trick as a light garnish on top of a satisfying meal. It’s a beautiful detail that highlights an already well-done dish.


Google’s Magic Eraser is another example of a gimmick that works. With the Pixel’s camera experience already being one of the best (if not the best) phone camera experiences available, the Magic Eraser feature exists as a useful tool for people looking to fix otherwise great photos. It was not Need Magic Eraser, but it’s practical and fun when you want it to be.

That’s all to say that smartphones don’t need to be boring. There’s plenty of room for fun gimmicks, cool aesthetics, and thought-provoking twists. But gimmicks can’t be the phone’s selling point. They must be side players.

OEMs will need to shift focus — or dump

Lenovo Legion Duel 2 1

Luke Pollack / Android Authority

Remember Lenovo Legion Duel 2, the phone with an integrated cooling system? Unfortunately, this trick didn’t work out very well for Lenovo. Recently, the company confirmed this Android Authority He shut down the Legion’s smartphone arm.

We’ve also mentioned OnePlus several times in this article. This company is not doing well either. There is a rumor that it could pull out along with sister brand OPPO from the European market either this year or in 2024. OnePlus has lost all carrier partnerships in the US, and its latest flagship — the OnePlus 11 — hasn’t gotten strong reviews. Again, tricks don’t seem to have helped here.


What do you think of smartphone scams?

146 votes

This all supports my central argument: scams don’t sell phones. We’ve settled on wanting phones that excel at the essentials: battery life, camera, screen, usability, performance, and so on. I could also argue that design is just as important here, though it’s more subjective than something like battery life. What doesn’t matter are the extra lenses, radar systems, cooling fans, rock-solid backboards, and all the other tricks we’ve seen.

Companies that are stuck in 2013 and think cool gimmicks will sell a lot of phones will need to wake up from that dream sooner rather than later. Apple and Samsung eat your lunch and do so without relying on gimmicks. Make your phones awesome at a competitive price and we’ll buy it. Simply.

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All of my favorite games this year are old




I also installed the original version Final Fantasy, the game that debuted when I was three years old, on Sony’s most advanced console yet, I came to a realization: everything I played this year was outdated. Between remakes, new releases, and vintage collections, there’s been a flood of nostalgia. I personally welcomed it.

These kinds of releases aren’t new, of course. What was different during the early months was the huge amount of classic releases. Two of the biggest movies so far this year – dead space And Resident Evil 4 – is a remake of titles from more than a decade ago. Both are slick, slick updates that don’t look out of place among recent big-budget releases, but part of what makes them so attractive is how straightforward they are. There are no open worlds filled with endless quests or live service items to keep you coming back. And most of these design decisions date back to their ages, as these games were made at a completely different time with very different expectations. In my review of Resident Evil 4 A remake, I called it “a video game like this,” and I meant that as a compliment.

Advance Wars 1 + 2: Re-Boot Camp.
Image: Nintendo

But they can also be a lot of work, frequently setting in to be all-consuming experiences that keep you hooked and never let go. Oh I love Fortnite Like everyone else, but that’s not all I want from my video games. Whether it is as complicated as RE4 Or simply put a scene from the opera Final Fantasy VI On my PS5, these games have returned a simplicity and focus I often find missing from their modern contemporaries. vampire And Final Fantasy They are very different experiences, but they give me the same feeling of a whole solo journey that I’m supposed to play through from start to finish. Same goes for the other old games I’ve been playing.


Playing—and in many cases, replaying—these games was an exercise in reminding myself of what could be so great about a medium. The largest modern versions tend to imitate each other to the point where they are almost indistinguishable from one another. That’s what makes a lot of indie releases so exciting, and likewise, what keeps me coming back for all these new releases of old games — so it’s good to me that this trend shows no sign of stopping.

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NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell leaves Comcast due to ‘improper conduct’




NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell will leave Comcast, effective immediately. The telecom giant made the surprising announcement in a brief press release Released on Sunday. After an investigation prompted by a complaint of improper conduct, Comcast says it has reached a “joint” decision with Shell that he should resign from his position.

“Today is my last day as CEO of NBCUniversal. I had an inappropriate relationship with a woman in the company, which I deeply regret,” Shell said in a joint statement. “I am really sorry that I left my colleagues at Comcast and NBCUniversal, they are the most talented people in this field and the opportunity to work with them over the past 19 years has been a privilege.”

Comcast has not named a successor to Shell. in a note obtained diverseComcast CEO Brian Roberts and President Mike Kavanagh told employees they were “disappointed” to share the news. “We built this company on a culture of integrity. Nothing is more important than how we treat each other. You must count on your leaders to create a safe and respectful workplace,” they wrote. “When our principles and policies are violated, we will always move quickly to take appropriate action, as we have done here.”


Shell joined Comcast in 2004. He became CEO of NBCUniversal in 2020. That same year, he oversaw the launch of Peacock. Shell leaves NBCUniversal without making the streaming service profitable. At the beginning of the year, Comcast told investors that it had done so Added five million paid subscribers During the last three months of 2022. However, over the same period, the company lost nearly $1 billion while operating the service.

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