Archive for April 2016
I am married with six children. I don't know about you, but one of my biggest monthly expenses is always groceries. Groceries for eight people is a HUGE expense, believe me. But, if you are smart and budget well, you can keep this cost down to a more comfortable level. One way to reduce your grocery bill is by knowing what you can make from scratch to save, well... some scratch!
A nice french fry slicer makes life so much more delicious.
There are tons of things that you can make at home from scratch to reduce your grocery spending. The key is to figure out how much something costs per unit. Then find out how much that same thing would cost per unit after all ingredients you would be using if you make it yourself. This will tell you how much money you can save per individual unit.
For example, say you want to have some delicious pancakes. Where I live it's about $2.50 for a box of pancakes. These are the cheapest you will find them around here and they are not even full sized pancakes. They are the miniature sized pancakes. They come three to a package, and there are eight packages inside one box. That's 24 miniature pancakes for $2.50.
Now, let's do some pancake math! The recipe I use is quite basic. It calls for about two cups of flour, some butter, one egg, a little baking powder. Nothing fancy, but the pancakes always come out great. What I am going to do is figure out exactly how much it costs me to make one batch of this recipe.
For the sake of this not turning in to an all out lesson on basic division, I did the math before hand, and I will just post the results .
2 cups of flour = $ .32
1 Egg = $ .16
1 cup of milk = $ .19
1 tsp. B. Powder = Less than a penny!
This puts our total at about $ .88. One thing that I should point out, is that I make pancakes about three to four times the size of the miniature pancakes that we're talking about here, and my recipe makes twice as many as what comes in the box of miniatures. So it would take about two boxes, coming out to $5.00 to make the same amount as I make at home for less than $1.00. Unbelievable.
Now that we know how to calculate if something is worth putting in the little extra work to make, let's take a look at 9 things that you can make at home to reduce your grocery spending.
We will get this one out of the way first as we have already talked about pancakes enough for one post. Pancakes are easy and quick to make, and like everything else on this list, it can be frozen to save it for when you need it. It doesn't have to be consumed right away. We like to spend about a few hours every week just making stuff like this and filling our deep freezer so that we always have a month or so of food stockpiled.
Waffles are about the same price range as pancakes both in the store, and ingredient wise. So, yes, it is very worth it to make your own waffles and throw them in to your freezer for whenever you need them. Besides the savings, homemade just tastes better. Even after they have been frozen for a few months they still taste astronomically better than store bought waffles.
3. French Toast
French toast is very easy to make, and it's probably one of the cheaper things on this list to make at home, but one of the more expensive to buy at the store. A carton of eggs is about $1.89 where I live, and this one carton will make probably close to two whole loaves of bread worth of french toast. Just as the others, this can also be preserved in the freezer for a few months.
Bread is a big one. The price of bread where I live seems like it's going up just about every day of the week. I used to be able to get it for right around a dollar at the local walmart and now it seems like I can't touch it for less than two dollars. That's why now, I fire up the bread machine and I can make a loaf of bread for right around 50 cents. It's fresher, it's softer, and it tastes way better. Bread can also be frozen, and homemade bread seems to thaw out and keep it's composure a lot better than store bread does. Oh, and don't forget to throw an extra loaf in to make french toast with for even bigger savings.
If you don't have a bread machine, you should definitely get one. This is the one that I use, and I absolutely love it.
5. Anything with a potato
I know that sounds vague, but really, anything that you buy that is made from potatoes can easily be duplicated at home for drastically cheaper. Buy a french fry cutter and cut your own potatoes. Shred your own hash browns. Make potato skins from fresh potatoes and throw them in the freezer for later. The list is really limitless. The ultimate savings in this is if you grow your own potatoes.
6. Pasta Galore
If you don't have a pasta machine, you should definitely get one. My pasta machine has dies for just about every kind of noodle you could ever need. It also makes bread sticks and pretzels. The cost to make the noodles is roughly the same, but you get much more for the same amount of money, and you're not ingesting a ton of preservatives, which makes it worth it all by it's self. Pasta can be frozen for about 4 months as well. One more thing, pasta can be made by hand, but the machine kinda autopilots the process for the most part. It's a time saver more than anything.
7. Jellies and Jams
Nothing beats fresh jelly and jam. Nothing. This one does require a little extra start up if you don't already have the materials and supplies for canning. You will need ball jars and a few other things. Again, with these the real savings comes in to play if you grow your own fruit. No need to freeze these either as the canning will preserve the jellies for a very long time.
Again, these sauces are best kept with canning. These though, can be frozen if you want to do this but don't have the necessary equipment for canning them. Any sauce you can think of, you can make at home. The internet is a window that looks in to the entire world all at once, and it is full of recipes for anything you could possibly ever need to make. Once more, growing your own tomatoes and such maximizes your savings potential.
9. The Almighty Tortilla
Making tortillas is not hard at all. There is a little bit of an additional start up cost, as you will need a tortilla press to make things easier. I don't know about you, but we eat a lot of Mexican food, so tortillas can get quite expensive.
This concludes our list of things that you can make at home to reduce your grocery spending, but I do have a few more tips for you before you go.
When it comes to freezing these items, it's a safe bet to find a chart that shows how long they will all keep after being frozen. I will be publishing one shortly.
Also, if you do any of the canning ideas on here, make sure you find a good recipe and stick to it. It also never hurts to have a little help from someone who is experienced doing this if it's your first time. Canning can be a little dangerous if you don't know what your doing, and the food won't keep if you don't have a good, accurate recipe and stick to it closely.
That's all for now. Until next time, have a good one and be safe.