Do your budget a favor and eat at home

Americans are eating out more than ever, and it doesn't just show in their waistlines. It shows in their pocketbooks. While everyone's complaining about the price of gas, the increased cost of staples like milk and eggs, and the rising interest rate on that credit card balance they've been carrying... they still seem to be dining out in record numbers.

Have you ever sat down and calculated the cost of eating out versus eating at home? I think we all realize there's a big difference, but I wonder how many people appreciate exactly how much.

As I was making myself a pot of chili today, I was reflecting on the cost and was inspired by how much money I was saving by cooking at home. If I went to my favorite chili place for lunch, I'd spend about $8 on chili and toppings (not including a drink) for that one meal.