Do It Yourself Price Differentials, Part I
As part of my ongoing budget slash-and-burns, I'm always trying to stop purchasing more and more convenience foods. Some items make sense to purchase [too much time to duplicate for the money saved], and some do not.
What's something that makes sense to make at home?
Well, tonight I made my first batch of granola. I usually just eat leftovers for breakfast, but my husband -- and now, my two year old -- like cereal. Cereal is expensive. Granola is often even worse. I needed a small amount for a recipe a few months ago, and a small box of grocery store housebrand was over 3 dollars! I was not happy, and I have been kicking around the idea of making my own. Finally did it tonight.
I made a variation on the Hillbilly Housewife's Brown Sugar Granola. I chose her recipe to start with because her stuff generally turns out pretty tasty, it's always very simple to do, and it's always got an eye on the cost.
Here's what I ended up using:
1 stick butter [After making it, I suspect I could get away with less.]
1 cup brown sugar, mixed with a little white and Sucanat [Audrey mixed the different sugars together for me. Heh.]
1/4 cup water
Small splosh of vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 bag of free sample trail mix with nuts, seeds and raisins
Heat up the first four items in a big pot, let it simmer for a few minutes. Add next three ingredients, stir it up good. Spread it out on some lipped baking sheet and bake at 375 for about 10 minutes, or until golden brown. I stuck it in a hot, but turned off, oven that I had just baked some chicken in. Then you take it out, let it cool and break it into pieces in a container with whatever mix-ins you have around.
Even before it was cooled, Andrew and Audrey were digging in and eating it with some homemade yogurt.
As you can see, it was quick trivial to make, and costs very little. And, I must say, it's very tasty.
Verdict: Definitely worth the time.
UPDATE: I didn't bother trying to do an actual price calculation on this one because it would be pretty hard for me to pinpoint my actual costs. I recall getting the oatmeal when Albertson's had a 3 for the price of 1 sale on big containers of generic oatmeal. The butter has been in my freezer since just before Thanksgiving when all the stores had butter as one of the loss leader items, but I don't recall the actual price. The trail mix happened to be free this time. Everything else was pretty trivial cost. So I don't know exactly how much I saved, but it was definitely a good amount.