UNITED STATES—Many of us venture out to the restaurant on a weekly basis, some a bit more than others. It raises a very important question of rather we’re spending way too much time dining out instead of actual cooking. I have no fuss with eating out at least 1-2 times a week.

However, I think when you get into the mode where you’re eating out 3 or more times a week, that is not the best sign. Why? First it’s not healthy. Second, it takes a bite out of your wallet because the fast-food experience and dining out experience can be quite costly depending on where you eat.

I just had a conversation with a pal who noted they dined at a well-known seafood establishment over the weekend and it was an experience that carved out nearly 5-6 hours of the day. Hmm, not sure I want to spend that long wait for grub or an ‘experience.’ Hence, the fact that I highlighted the term experience. Most of the time when you dine out, you’re not really paying for the food; you’re paying for the experience that you receive.

I’m a fan of dining out every so often, but it’s not something that delivers glee for me to do each and every day. I don’t have the patience to wait for food and depending on the place that you visit waits can go anywhere from 30 minutes to 2-3 hours. By the time you finally get seated, you’re ready to take a nap.

I totally understand this is an industry where patience is virtue. Food has to be ordered, waiters or waitresses are juggling multiple tables, and it’s not an easy task, so I tip off my hat to those who endure unspeakable behavior at times.

If you’re hitting the fast-food establishment, the amount of calories, fat, sodium and cholesterol that you pack on for one meal could be equivalent to what you should only have in 1 day. So imagine if you ate fast-food for breakfast, lunch and dinner? Yeah, you’re not doing your body any favors, so pump the brakes people.

When it comes to dining out, so many people get the perception that because it’s not ‘fast-food’ it’s slightly better, which isn’t always the case. Don’t assume things, be certain about them. Remember portion size is one of the big draws to eating out; every American wants to feel that they got their money’s worth when they indulge in eating out.

A lot of times that isn’t always the case, but then there are those situations, where we get plenty and so much more. America its ok to have leftovers! I can’t believe how many people I know who seem to be troubled by the notion of having leftovers. Just because you don’t eat all of it, doesn’t mean to just toss out what hasn’t been eaten.

We waste so much food as it is, and there are third-world countries where people are dying each day because of food insecurity and hunger. If we really saw how wasteful we were, we might take a close look at our actions. I always tell people, only order what you know you’re going to eat and forget the rest. Of course the dining out experience peaks during the weekend (Fridays-Sundays), so if you plan to head out, pack your patience.

Take a moment to just think how much money you will save or you can place in your bank account if you cut just 1 day a week from dining out. Also think about the amount of family bonding time you can have at home with cooking a meal, how those funds can be spent at the supermarket and the calories, fat, sugar, cholesterol and sodium cutting you will do when you prepare your own meal instead of putting that job in the hands of others. $40 a week for 52 weeks is a total of $2,080. Now imagine what you can do with that money?