Convenience Foods—Thrifty or Spendy?

The Lure of Convenience Foods

Israeli Pancake MixEver wonder how you can rack up such a huge credit card debt so fast? Many people tend to use their credit cards at grocery stores, mostly buying convenience foods. Why the lure of these items? Why is it that people would rather spend money on pre-made convenience foods that they could make for themselves for a fraction of the cost? For one reason, these foods make a hectic life a little easier. Many baking mixes, for example, brag on their packaging, “Just add water,” while other mixes, such as stuffing, say, “Ready in 5 minutes.” Is the lure of these foods so great that we would willingly go into debt just to shave off a few extra minutes of cooking time?

The pull of these products is mainly due to advertising. When you see a commercial for a popular pancake mix—you know the one where the mom is shaking up the mix and water in the container—what is that message telling you? That it’s easier to buy their products versus putting an extra three minutes of making it yourself. The truth of the matter is, if you were to buy the ingredients and blend them yourself, you would get a better tasting, cheaper product than you could buy on the shelf—and for pennies.

Healthier and Cheaper Alternatives

Staying on the pancake mix idea, you could blend the dry ingredients, using whatever flour you want, such as whole wheat or grain versus the highly refined flour used in the commercial mixes, and store them in food storage bags until you are ready for it. Then, when you want to make pancakes, you would simply place the desired amount of your homemade mix in a bowl and add in your wet ingredients. It’s pretty much the same process you would go through with the commercially made mixes.

Not only are these homemade mixes cheaper, they can potentially be healthier for you. It really depends on the ingredients you use. Instead of using refined flour and sugar, you can use a whole grain flour and Stevia or Xylitol. Or, save the sweetener for when you actually mix your wet ingredients in, especially if you want to use honey or molasses instead of a dry sweetener.

By making your own mixes, you know exactly what is going in your food versus the commercially prepared mixes. But the best part of making your own mixes is that they come out to cost 10 times less than the store-bought counterparts. Say a box of pancake mix costs $2.79 and you can only get one batch out of the box. That’s an expensive batch of pancakes. Now, let’s say that you can get an entire bag of flour for that much, and you only use 2 cups. This option is much less expensive, saving your credit cards for more pressing emergencies.

There are other homemade convenience foods that you can create, such as cake mixes, pudding mixes, syrups, sweetened condensed milk, and so much more. There are no limits to how many convenience foods you can make at home. The key is to figure out what your favorite convenience food has in it, and start experimenting. Or, you could just search the internet for recipes to get you started. The sky’s the limit!

Control What You Eat…For Less

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When you make your own homemade convenience foods, you are able to control what you are eating, for much less money, and you save how much you are spending on your credit cards. Because if you can create your own mixes, you can begin living within your budget and relying on your credit cards less. While saving on your credit cards, you can also save on your waistline. By creating your own homemade convenience foods, you can put in healthier ingredients, which when used, you can then begin to bring your body’s health into balance. When everything is balanced, you will then begin to lose weight. It’s all part of the process—you start living frugally, and you lose weight in the process! How cool is that?

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