Well… no. Not at all.
I recently bought a 9.5lb ham for about $10 including tax. I simmered it for 4 hours, making it literally fall-off-the-bone tender. I stripped the meat off the bone, dropped the bone back in the pot, added a little white vinegar, and simmered the result for 2 hours. I pressure-canned 5 quarts of ham stock, and had about a pint leftover. I used the leftover pint to make red beans and rice.
For a total cost of about $12 we have had 4 evening meals and 5 lunches so far. I still have 5 quarts of awesome ham stock to use in soups, red beans and rice, or whatever.
To compare: a recent meal at Arby’s consisting of a small sandwich for the munchkin, a medium sandwich for my wife, a large sandwich for me and a shared large fries cost us $14. A similar meal from one of the hamburger places would cost around $10.
It comes down to a simple phrase – “Good. Fast. Cheap. Choose any two.” A meal of red beans and rice takes hours to cook – but you can toss everything apart from the rice into your slow cooker in the morning and come home after work to an awesome tasting, healthy, and CHEAP dinner – the only preparation you need to do is to cook the rice. Or you can spend $4 to $6 per person on something that only loosely resembles food and leaves you with no leftovers for other meals.
I know what choice I prefer. I will go for cheap and good and cherish my slow cooker!