04/07/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Want To Save Money? Don't Eat Out

When the economy is falling down all around you, it is only natural to want to protect yourself with some austerity measures. Thoughts of walking that 30 miles to work, using a washboard instead of a washing machine, and sewing clothes out of old curtains may come to mind.

But then you realize that there is a much easier thing you could do to prevent your financial ruin: stop eating out. The average restaurant meal, after all, costs three times as much as one cooked at home, according to the NPD Group, a consumer research firm.

Restaurants have reason to dread this line of thinking, but data shows that, ultimately, convenience and enjoyment can overcome fear and penny pinching.

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