Monday, September 18, 2006

Grocery Tip #15: Homemade vs. Premade

The running theme of the grocery tips has been: preplanning saves money. Just planning a menu each week (tip #4) and making list (tip #3) will provide a huge savings in your overall grocery bill.

Another big saver is to make homemade and stay away from prepackaged, prefab, prepared, premade foods. Anything that has already been cooked or put together for you is going to cost up to double, sometimes more, than the homemade version. And it doesn't really save you that much time.

For example, a four pack of Hunts pudding, already made for you, runs about $1.69. A box of Royal powdered pudding costs $0.69. Add to that 2 cups of milk, about $0.33, and you end up with a savings of $0.67. If it takes just 2 minutes to whisk together the pudding mix and the milk, then you are earning $20 an hour! (And I didn't even figure in the fact that you get more pudding making it yourself!) You can go even one step further and make it completely homemade with cornstarch!

Now, how in the world did I come up with $20 an hour. Well, if you believe that your job as SAHM is to save money, then the money that you save by your time and effort is money earned by you. If you save $0.67 in two minutes, that is $0.335 per minute. There are 60 minutes in an hour, so take 0.335 times 60. The answer is $20.10! Wouldn't you love to tell your husband that you are earning twenty dollars an hour by being a stay-at-home-mom!!!!!

Try this exercise yourself. Next time you are at the grocery store, price those premade mashed potatoes and compare to a bag of raw potatoes, a stick of butter, and a cup of milk. Take the difference, divide in the time that it takes to prepare the meal yourself (cooking time doesn't count as the oven is doing the work!), and see how much money you're earning for your household.

And don't forget eating homemade is much healthier, so you're saving on medical bills too!

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