Can you survive on cereal, salads, and frozen dinners? Well sadly, that’s about the extent of my cooking skills and I certainly can’t! Okay, I’m exaggerating a little as I also know how to make spaghetti and steamed veggies, but that’s really about all I’m good at. Well, that and burning things, making gross looking casseroles, and finding things in the fridge that have grown legs. (I happily went out to eat at a lovely restaurant to enjoy the delicious seafood hotpot you see in the picture. There’s no way I could make something like that!)

After spending about 3-4 hours at a time trying to read, prep, and cook a few fancy meals in the past and not even being that happy with the results, I decided to no longer spend my life cooking. It’s just not something that comes naturally to me and with my crazy schedule I’m really not interested in trying to get better right now. I’d much rather scarf down a bowl of Spaghetti O’s and then get to work on a blog post or watching a movie versus wasting half of my evening running around in the kitchen.

Conventional wisdom says that eating in saves you a lot of time and money. But that just doesn’t work for me, especially because I’m a crappy cook! Plus there are so many fabulous restaurants and take out spots in SF that have good portion sizes. Prices are fair and delivery is usually free too, which I’m so thankful for.

Perhaps I’m the oddball here who hates to cook, but I can’t imagine I’m the only one who prefers eating out and take-out vs cooking at home. Here’s why I think ditching the kitchen can actually save you some money and increase the quality of your life and your family’s. It works well for me!

The World Of Specialization

Henry Ford invented specialization when he first decided to build his Model T Ford. Every factory worker had a specific role they did well to create the ultimate motor vehicle. If one person or several people decided to build the entire car from scratch, it would take too long and probably fall apart after a short while.

Chefs are specialists in the cuisine you seek. It is highly likely they know how to cook way better than you, especially if you go up the ratings scale. For me personally, I have no doubt that every working chef out there is better than me! That is unless they’ve landed on Kitchen Nightmares. Come on, you donkay’!! as Gordon Ramsey loves to shout.

Most couples and families have one person who takes on the majority, if not all, of the cooking duties. But that doesn’t mean they’re any good at it (sorry mom). Since everyone else in the family gets to kick back and free load, chances are they’re also fibbing about how the food tastes at least some of the time.

I know I snuck many portions of my mom’s cooking to our dog hiding under the table over the years. I’d be polite and always say thanks for the food, but I was secretly dreaming of Chinese food, fajitas, or Red Lobster instead. If the primary cook in your house is bad like my mom and I, everyone eats better and is happier when the cooking is done by the pros.

Your Time Is Worth More Than You Think

Let’s say you earn a healthy $80,000 a year, which equates to roughly $40 an hour if you work 40 hours a week. That meal you spent two hours prepping and cooking doesn’t just cost the price of the food items. The meal’s cost also needs to include the $80 in forgone salary time you gave up by not working harder to get a raise and promotion. (Click to learn how to ask for a raise in 10 easy steps)

You might be rolling your eyes because you don’t agree that time after work counts as salary time. But I think it is valuable time, especially for part time bloggers like myself who use our evenings and weekends outside of our day jobs to side hustle. Plus I’ve earned all of my promotions by working extra hours and getting ahead of my competition. For me, spending more of my time working and less of it preparing meals has helped me earn a lot more money over time.

–> So you see it’s not just about the cost of preparing a meal yourself vs the cost of a meal made at a restaurant. The cost of the time that you give up comes into play too. For me, spending a few extra dollars on delivery and having extra hours to work on and earn more money on my side business works out much better financially.

If you ask any entrepreneur who works around the clock what their time is worth, it could be worth hundreds of dollars an hour because they are banking their entire future on their entrepreneurial endeavors! When you’re busting your chops you have to really cherish your time, and also avoid these 40 excuses entrepreneurs in order to succeed (take the quiz and see how you’re doing!).

Saving Relationships And Sanity

After a long 10-hour day, the last thing I want to think about is going home to cook. I’m sure a lot of you feel the same way. If you have people at home depending on you, it can be a big burden trying to juggle your career, your family, and being in charge of getting food on the table.

In fact, if that is what’s expected of you, you’ll probably build up resentment over time and risk a blow up if someone criticizes your overcooked peas. Let’s say you have the luxury of not working. It’s still not easy being a homemaker if you have the most important responsibility of keeping the house in order and the family fed and happy. Your family’s expectations of you can actually go up as a result of you being a stay at home spouse/parent and that’s a lot of pressure!

Plus when you are preparing meals, you don’t really have time to sit down, relax and communicate with your loved ones. You’re most likely always worried about how the food tastes, whether the veggies are getting cold, hoping that you didn’t overcook anything, and feeling frustrated when your kids refuse to eat. I feel stressed just thinking about it! All that worrying and pressure can cut into your family time and leave you feeling unappreciated.

So if you’re the main cook in your household, don’t forget to give yourself a night off on a regular basis because you deserve it. And if you’re lucky enough not to have primary cooking duties, treat your spouse to delivery or dinner out once in a while and let them kick their feet up for a change.

This frees up time for you to communicate with each other more and feel more relaxed at meals. I would lose my sanity if it wasn’t for eating out and ordering delivery. So now you know why I believe ditching the kitchen saves money, relationships, and sanity. How about you?!

One of the best tools I’ve used to help reach financial independence is Personal Capital. They provide great free financial tools for everybody to track their net worth! They allow you to also manage your cash flow and check for pesky investment fees.

Updated 2/16/2015