Preparing meals at home remains the least expensive way to eat. The budgeting resource Cheapism.com compared the costs of a classic chicken dinner, accounting for variables such as tip, food waste and family size, made at home and at a restaurant. The comparison determined that a home-cooked meal costs as much as 60 percent less than a dinner out. A simple chicken dinner for one costs between $6 and $8 at home, takeout costs more than $13 and dining out costs more than $15. The rates of savings are similar when accounting for paying for a family of four.