I was browsing my RSS feed today, and came across this article in the New York Times, which talks about how people are cooking more as the economy is getting crappier. I have to say that we've been doing this all year--though, not just to save money*.
Roughly one year ago, I moved into my own apartment. We suddenly found ourselves not wanting to go out to eat as much (an expensive trip to Spain helped) because we liked the kitchen. Lance and I go back and forth playing with recipes, with flavors, with new ingredients, and we LOVE it.
This summer, we invested in the freezer and have been putting up fruits and vegetables from our local farmers' market. We spent about $40 each week we went, but we bought so many vegetables that we have plenty for the winter. And we recently found out that there is a group of farmers who have a "winter market," so we've invested in that. We rarely buy produce from the grocery store (except for what we consider staples, like onions).
All of this contributes to us having a healthier diet and being pretty happy. We love to cook. Love it. We occasionally eat out not because we don't have anything to eat but because we want to enjoy the flavors of our favorite eateries (like Petra Cafe, for example). We have people over and share our delicious meals. When we go to visit places, we bring food with us to prepare--or raid their pantries and freezers and whip something up. Many of my Christmas gifts will be homemade treats.
I think for me the reason to cook at home is not just to save money (which it certainly does), but to be able to create. When I whipped up a quick dinner the other night (pasta and vegetables with a light cheesy sauce), and I didn't consult a recipe (just my gut and what was on hand), I realized that I just created something delicious without fuss or bother. It was easy and satisfying.
*Saving money is one perk to cooking at home. I can then use the money for other things, like clothes.