There is no question that, for most families, there is a lot of outright money savings in home-cooked meals. It is often debated, however, if there is too much time wasted when cooking at home. Is it wise to cook at home when the time spent cooking can be used for self and career development? This is an even bigger question for people who are not on a fixed salary and can spend the time cooking to work for money instead.

To settle things once and for all, ABC News did a little experiment with Bradley Herron of The Genuine Hospitality Group. The result is not a surprise: the duo that was tasked to cook at home spent less time AND money compared to the pair that was assigned to get fast food. It is unlikely that they factored in the time it takes to plan the grocery list, pick up ingredients, and clean up. Planning the week’s meal, though, is something that we can learn to do quicker as time passes, and surely we don’t need a trip to the grocery store for each meal we cook. Besides, the potential time savings doesn’t stop there.

Preparing ingredients, cooking time, and also cleaning up – there is so much overhead when cooking that we can reduce if we cook for more than one meal at a time. A For Dummies article recommends a batch of three meals for chili. Three sounds like a good number before anyone gets tired of eating the same food over and over again. Cooking in batches can help save time, especially for the more tedious and time-consuming dishes that involve marination or so many ingredients.

Of course, storage should also be done properly so the food does not spoil, and take note that we can stretch our leftovers only so far. Here’s something from USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service regarding basics for handling leftovers.

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