Sticker Shock

Vince hasn’t been home for lunch this week so on Monday, I thought I’d run to Hardee’s and get a greasy burger.  For some reason, I wanted one of their hamburgers.  Got one of the portabella burgers in the meal deal with fries and a drink and it was almost $7.  Can you believe that?  At a fast food joint?  How do families afford to go out to eat anywhere if it costs $7 just for a fast food meal?  I should get out more often I guess.

I decided I’m fix something for myself at home the rest of the week.  Yesterday I wanted a pizza.  I have no idea how much it costs to buy pizza out.  Vince bought one a couple of weeks ago but I didn’t even ask how much it was.

For those of you who don’t make homemade pizza, what are you waiting for?  There was olive oil dough from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes in the fridge so I grabbed a hunk of that and made myself a little pizza.  I figure a pizza about this size costs me $3 – $4 to make, including turkey pepperoni, Canadian bacon, sauce and cheese.  And, there’s enough pizza there for two lunches when I’m the only one eating.  A lot better and a lot less expensive than the burger and fries.

If I hadn’t already been starving when I started making it, I would have taken time to add black olives and onions.  And, if I had any fresh basil, I would have added that.  But, even without those things, it was yummy and it was not $7!


  1. 1

    Evelyn says

    Most nice restaurants are actually cheaper to eat lunch at than the fast food joints. Especially chains with worker’s lunch specials. Also, my son loves a pizza chain that has a lunch time buffet. So – when we go out to eat, we go for lunch and go somewhere that has a special and it really IS cheaper than fast food. Your pizza looks good. I like to make pizza. In the summer we even grill it on the grill – yum! Cheers! Evelyn

    • 1.1


      I’d have to drive 70 miles to get to a nice restaurant but I know what you mean. When Chad was little, there were a couple of good chain type restaurants that had nights when kids ate free. We went there some. If I lived where we had decent restaurants, I probably would eat out more . . if I could stop wondering if the cooks washed their hands! 🙁

  2. 2


    Amen Judy, amen! People wonder why they’re broke? I passed the local Taco Bell the other day and the billboard read, “Try the Drive Thru Diet”. Eep!

    At what point will Americans learn to cook from scratch again?

    I have pizza dough in a bucket (same, love the Art in 5 Olive Oil dough for this) in my fridge all the time, it’s perfect when I don’t feel like going all out for dinner… or even lunch!

    • 2.1


      What I find funny is that for so long I thought it was impossible to make a pizza at home. I guess I just thought it was some magic something they did at the pizza restaurants and then I finally did it and it’s the easiest thing in the world. Same with making tamales . . yes, it’s time consuming but I end up with about 10 meals in the freezer every time I do it. Every time someone says one of my recipes looks hard, my first thought is . . there’s always an easy way out and until people put forth the effort to make things from scratch, they’ll never know what they’re missing. I’m glad I learned to do it and only wish I’d learned sooner.

  3. 3


    Judy, although I have always made pizza, for some reason I just can’t cook a decent hamburger. But all the fast food chains offer a $1 menu, so when I need a burger fix I can get satisfied on one dollar! pretty thrifty…

  4. 4

    June Piper-Brandon says

    It is crazy!! Our local chinese restaurant has lunch specials, I usually get chicken and peanuts with rice – it’s $5. And my local and favorite Mexican restaurant has lunch specials too – I love the speedy Gonzales with a taco, burrito and rice for $4.95. Both are much healthier than the burger joints and tons cheaper too. I had frozen Tony’s pizza yesterday when I was at home, they were on sale for $1 and I added some extra cheese – not as good as home made but faster and it was pretty good. With the economy the way it is I don’t know how people can afford to eat out as much as they used to.

  5. 5


    Yup, there is nothing cheap about fast food…..and when you make it at home it tastes so much better. There are some things I refuse to eat when I’m out and fast food is one of them. The pizza looks wonderful and yes there is a trick to getting pizza good at home.

    PS….Don’t get me started on the cost of movies and snacks at the theater.

  6. 6


    We went to a meeting the other night held in a pizza parlor. Club paid for several large pizzas. As DH and I are eating, my mind is doing the math–$25 to $30 each pizza–and thinking what a frivolous waste. Hubby’s comment to me–yours is so much better than this.

    Thanks Judy and CJ for converting us to homemade. 😉
    What am I taking to sewing club today for lunch–scrambled farm fresh egg on homemade bread. 🙂 🙂

  7. 7


    When my mother and I were on the road last week, we stopped at a McD’s at a rest area for drinks. A small coffee and a small soda added up to $4.12!!! That’s how they make up for the dollar menu.

  8. 8

    Connie says

    I agree, fast food is ridiculously pricey and it’s well known that it’s not good for us. Why don’t people learn to cook. It’s not difficult, actually quite fun, and the food is so much better. And don’t get me started on the cost difference:) Even when my husband and I go out to a restaurant we usually come away feeling disappointed, because the service was poor, food wasn’t all that great and was so expensive. My husband usually tells me my homemade is so much better.

  9. 9


    For my family of four it is nearly $30 for fast food, unless we eat the McD’s dollar menu – ours has $1 drinks any size most of the time (except during monopoly) – then it is still $18. One gets super tired of having McD’s all the time though.

  10. 10


    One of my goals this year was to pack my lunch each day in order to save some money. I’ve had the same $3 in my wallet for almost two weeks now! An added bonus is that I’m eating healthier as well!

    Leaves more money for the quilting addiction!

  11. 11

    Julie H. says

    It costs me $8.30 to eat at my fav mexican fast-food restaurant. That’s for a chicken taco, a bean burrito, a small potato and a medium Dr. Pepper. Even my favorite 6″ sandwich (chicken-bacon ranch) at Subway with baked chips and a medium Pepper is $7.53. It’s $7.96 for fast-food chinese. In perspective, that’s almost a yard of fabric at full price. Or at least a few FQ’s.

    Don’t get me started on what we spend to take our kids and grandkids to pizza on Sundays after church. You’re right. Homemade is better but, when in “town” 30 miles from home, you gotta do what ya gotta do.

  12. 12

    shannon says

    Tell me about it! We are a family of six who rarely eats out together and if we do, it’s from the $1 menu. It doesn’t help that I have two pre-teens now that eat like adults.

    The one thing we do order in is pizza. We have a connection and get pretty good carry-out deals.

  13. 13


    I went to purchase books for my two children in college (yes two) and stopped at a Sonic just to get a drink for my son. Large drink — $2.05

    I couldn’t believe it. He told me I really needed to get out more. If I eat out, I usually have water, so I had no idea.

  14. 14

    Sibyl says

    Judy you are so right. I was with my son today, we were on the other side of town. I was starved so we whipped into Wendys. for the 2 of us for a plain ole burger, fries, and drinks was 13.00. Geeez I was thinking what I could have made at home to be that expensive, we could have a really nice meal for dinner and still not cost $13.00 and would have fed all 4 of us. Of course I do shop sales, discounts and such. But you are so right about cooking at home being so much less expensive and better tasting. We have found out that it seems most places all taste the same more or less.

  15. 15

    Kathy C says

    I always make my own pizza. I make the dough in the bread machine, just don’t forget to set it to “dough” or you will have Italian Bread.
    I also have a pizza stone for the oven. You can’t believe the difference it makes in crisping up the crust. I have one I use in the regular oven and one I use on the outside grill in the summer. I cook the pizza on a regular pan and then slide it onto the stone for a minute or so to crisp it up.
    Having grown up in NJ, I like just tomatoes, garlic and cheese on my pizza, although my husband occasionally will ask for black olives, or artichoke hearts, or sausage, if he’s in a ‘fancy’ mood.
    My local supermarket also sells pizza dough pre-made in a package thats good in a pinch, but you have to let it rise to get a good crust. And Trader Joe’s sells dough too, although I haven’t tried it.
    I don’t think we ever order pizza out unless it is back East.

    • 15.1


      I cook my pizza the entire time on the stone and about halfway through, I switch from bake to convection and that really crisps the edges. I didn’t on the pizza shown above because I was starving and really didn’t let it cook even long enough.

      Like CJ, I almost always have olive oil bread dough in the fridge and can have a pizza on the table in less than 30 minutes, start to finish when using convection. It takes about 40 minutes total if I’m just baking.

      Yep, not much reason to buy pizza when it tastes so good made at home.

  16. 16

    peggy says

    I am often wondering how families do it. If you factor in, for a movie and popcorn, after the fast food meal for a family of four (or more), it’s a lot of money. Can you even imagine taking that same family someplace like Disneyland? Yikes!

  17. 17

    carol c says

    from one who eats out every day, one can get a large pizza with 4 toppings for 10.89 at nite, dont know how much their lunch buffet is, at the mexican food place we go, we buy fajitas for one for 6.99 and it is usually enough for 2 people and we split it. now if we go to Carl’s for a burger you are going to pay 7.00 for a burger, plus fries and a drink, but you can order the burger low carb-no bun and it is 3.68 ,they use ice burg lettuce in place of a bun. I like it. He does not. or we go to our closest restaurant a block away, and can eat for 13.00, and I get a pork steak grilled and eat it for 2 meals, it is small but can be sliced in half. Never go to McD’s for anything but a carry out salad due to my diabetis, and never go to a Sonic. once a month or so might have a
    KFC Original. But that hasnt happened in a while either. If I made that pizza at home Judy, it would be gone so fast!