Is it cheaper to eat in or go out?

(NewsNation) — Rising inflation may be flipping traditional wisdom on its head, as it’s becoming cheaper to dine out than cook at home — at least some of the time.

Rising inflation led many Americans to book a reservation for their Thanksgiving feasts rather than face the cost of cooking the meal. But the decision to save money by eating out isn’t just for holidays.

Easing inflation hasn’t dropped the price of groceries for common staples like eggs, butter and flour. Experts have shared advice on how to stretch grocery budgets, while internet users have traded tips for cheap meals.

But while grocery prices have gone up around 11 percent over the past year, restaurant prices haven’t increased as much.

Still, restaurants are struggling to attract customers, with foot traffic down, leading some to offer more deals to get people in the door.

Of course, where you eat depends on how cheap it will be. Fancy steakhouses won’t be less expensive than cooking at home, but fast food and smaller, independent restaurants could save you some cash. Fast food and casual restaurants have been doing their best to lure customers in with value menus offering a meal for less than $10.

It’s also difficult to make direct comparisons because grocery costs vary across the country and the number of people you feed (and if you want leftovers) makes a big difference when comparing costs.

But just because a meal out might be cheaper now doesn’t mean that will last. As inflation eases, some grocery prices could drop and restaurants facing rising costs for labor may be forced to raise prices and pass those costs onto diners.

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