So I have posted a few things concerning tightwad things and my new tightwad bible so to speak, The Tightwad Gazette. This one is more about how tightwading can be used in the kitchen. Believe it or not, cooking at home is much cheaper than going out or pre-made foods. Here are my most recent examples.
My family loves this pre-made dish from Costco that is $10 a bag. It’s rather tasty but I was looking at it and knew I could make it better. So I looked and saw the dish pretty much chicken, carrots, broccoli, noodles and corn. The seasoning was garlic and butter for sure and the rest I would have to play with. I said in my head. “Oh my gosh! This is so easy to make and I could make it I’m sure for half of what this cost me”. So I did.
I looked at the back of the dish’s bag to get some other clues on seasoning but otherwise went and bought the ingredients at the store. Carrots: $1.75 for 16oz (only used a a quarter of the bag), Broccoli $1.50 (only used half the bag), Chicken: $2 (bought a $16 for a stock up on chicken and only used 3 breasts), Noodles: $1.00, and 1 can of corn: $0.89. The seasonings were all in my cupboard so they were not going to be calculated.
So to make this dish from scratch it costed:
And I think it looks pretty close to the original inspiration of the dish.
So It is a simple as that. In a matter of twenty minutes and some prep work, I saved myself $4.92. Not only that but here is the ingredient list for the pre-made dish:
There are so many preservatives I can’t pronounce them all. It’s a simple chicken dish for heaven’s sake! It should only be 5 ingredients. So not only did I save almost half of the cost but I saved my family from the harmful preservatives and other “ides” that should never be in food. Isn’t that worth the extra ten minutes to make a dish from scratch instead of out of a bag?
Another thing we love in our house in pizza. Who doesn’t? But it’s super expensive out and even self bake is over priced in my opinion. It saves time but that is it.
Our favorite pizza is veggie combination. The cheapest we could find it is for $10 from our local warehouse store. But I thought I could do better. This requires more time but the dough can be made ahead of time and put in the fridge. So here we go.
Pick your recipe but they all consist of flour, oil, yeast, water, and salt. All these things are either in your pantry or very easy to get. We buy our flour in bulk (25 lb. bag for $7.00) so that plays a part in my calculations but most are about $3 for a 5 lb. bag. So to be fair I will use the average cost of a 5 lb. bag of flour.
Next is the sauce. You can buy it for $2-$3 at the store in the little jars or you can buy the big can of plain tomato sauce and season it yourself for less than $1 a serving. This is what we do. We buy a #10 can of tomato sauce from our warehouse store for $3 and get 14 cups or 7 pizzas out of it. We freeze the rest and have it ready to pull out later.
Next is cheese. This is the most expensive part of the pizza no matter where you go. You can buy bulk cheese and shred it or just buy the little bags. I will let you guess what we do but there is no true tightwad way to do this. We get our cheese in bulk (2 lbs. of cheese for $7) and shred it. Each pizza normally takes up 2 cups of cheese. But we will just use the average price for a 2 cup bag of cheese.
And lastly, the toppings. This is to the imagination but for right now we are just making a veggie combo. Green bell pepper: $.69 (half used), onion: $.69 (used half), mushrooms: $2.00 (used half), sweet sausage 5 pack: $3 (used only 2), and olives: $1.00 (only use half the can).
So now let’s break that down.
Bell Pepper: $0.35
That is enough to add on a soda if you absolutely had to. We don’t do soda so that just goes into the food budget 🙂
So I hope I encouraged you to look a little more into making your own food from home instead of buying it from a pre-made store item. You might think you are saving time but in the end you aren’t. I won’t go in to that right now. Maybe another post. But I would love to see your creations. So post the pictures below in the comments and happy cooking! 🙂