Ditching Convenience

10 June 2009

photo by MontanaRaven

Convenience foods, they were my best friend back in the early days of my marriage. It started with my complete inability to cook, then just got worse when I was sentenced to months of bed rest with pregnancy complications. Confined to my bed, juice boxes, tiny boxes of raisins, and ever bar under the sun became my best friends. Any meals I actually cooked involved a helper, something boxed, or came out of a bag.

I vividly remember my grandparents coming to visit when Tristen was born. My sweet grandmother who made everything from scratch thought my Tuna Helper was the bomb! She was completely amazed that a box could help you make a yummy tuna casserole. At the time I thought she was just being polite, I so sucked at cooking back then. And this was coming from the woman who never used a convenience food of any type in her life! But when my wonderful Nanny was moved into a nursing home, we found boxes of every variety of Tuna Helper in her cupboards. Guess she really did like it!

Anyway, these foods are convenient, but most times are not cost effective, especially when you are paying full price.. I will say that with coupons you can often pick mixes, helpers, pastas, and well pretty much any type of quick food you can imagine for mere pennies if not for free. We would have them occasionally, hen I got them for a little of nothing. That is one thing the kids loved when I started couponing, suddenly mom was bringing home the expensive treats she always says no to. They had no idea that I had slashed our grocery bill and got these treats for a steal!

Since moving to Podunk, unless I go out of town to shop, I don't get great deals any more. This has forced me to better economize. Our ever present sodas have been replaced with tea. Juice boxes have morphed into juice made from frozen concentrate . We make our own peanut butter and crackers instead of buying them in packages. Lunch box snack cakes have been given up for homemade cookies. And the great part is that we really don't miss the "convenience" all that much. Today we baked the world's simplest peanut butter cookies to do in DH's lunch box and to serve as afternoon snacks. Spending quality time with my kids is a joy, one that a box of Ding Dongs can never replace.

So, I urge you to think about where you can cut cost by ditching convenience. Baking your own snacks, changing the way you do beverages, soups from scratch rather than cans, taking two minutes to cube some cheese instead of buying it already done, these are all things we've started doing. It make take just a touch of time, but it saves us real money. Think about what your family eats and I am sure you will find ways to save some cash.


Raj said...

My mom does it every time. She makes pickles, deserts and other good stuff at home to save money.

Anonymous said...

my mom's a housewife too, she cooks it all with delight and even the tiniest of her effort is to learn the new ways of cooking TAKING IN CONSIDERATION THAT ITS EATABLE ! lol, i hope you have a good time now ~