Are you ready for the second installment of What not to buy? Everyone is up for saving money, but the grocery store has more ways than you can imagine to suck the bills out of your wallet. One of their biggest tricks: Preying on your dream of a smaller waistline. Stop the suction.
If we put it to a poll (for once we will not), everyone reading would love to shed a few (or a lot) of pounds. Marketers know this. One of their best tactics is using calorie count against you.
The first time you went on a diet, the absolute first step was putting portion size into check. The infernal calorie count is the subject of hundreds of best selling books, pocket and purse calculators and the basis for the majority of pre-packaged diet systems. In all of the trimming, we still get hungry in between meals. The diet industry answered with a marketer’s dream come true: Snack packs.
These little (questionable) gems are packaged per 100-150 calories, since the optimal snack is never more than 150 calories. How does that translate to your wallet? In a word…
Even when you can find snacks which are not horrific for your salt, sugar or fat intake, packaging them in snack-sized portions translates to as much as 500% the cost of the normal package or 850% of the bulk package. Not good with percentages? Let’s look at it another way.
The snack-pack box of cheese crackers contains six 150-calorie servings. Average cost for the box is $3.50. Cost per serving is $0.58.
The family-sized box of the same cheese crackers will set you back about $3. Does not sound like a lot of savings? Let’s do the math.
Eleven servings are in the family-sized box of crackers. Buying reusable snack bags and packaging the servings yourself means the cost per snack is $0.28. Still not convinced?
Average number of snacks per person: 485 per year
Savings per snack: $0.30
Yearly savings per person: $145 per year
This example is one of the most expensive: If you snack on cookies, your savings is as high as $0.82 per snack. If you only snack on cookies, you would be saving right at $400 per year…per person in your home.
Think pudding cups rock? Making the pudding yourself means a savings of $0.52 per serving or $252 per year.
Mac-n-cheese pack for lunch? Make it by the box and save $0.40 per serving.
Potato chips your vice? A three-ounce bag will set you back a dollar and a quarter. A 1.25 pound bag is only $2.59. Savings per serving: $0.86. At only one bag a day, this means saving $314 per year. What would you do with an extra $300?
Hold the Plastic
Are you with the saving money program? Let’s talk about the other waste…Yes, individual packaging wastes more than just money.
The companies are sporting the overhead of as much as 700 times the packaging to send you individual servings. By dropping the individual packaging you can impact landfill waste, animals who ingest the non-biodegradable wrappers and consume products from recycled packaging.
Bulk packages generally contain between 35 and 70% post consumer recycled content. This means you are saving virgin trees by buying the bulk packages. You are dealing a double green blow for the environment.
Fruits, Nuts & Chocolate
Quiz: Which is more expensive?
A. Trail Mix
B. Godiva Chocolate
C. Chocolate-Coated Macadamia Nuts
The answer is A. Trail Mix. One of the most popular of the healthy snacks is trail mix. Choconuts run about $15 per pound. Godiva will set you back around $22 per pound. Single servings of trail mix (1.5 ounces) will cripple your wallet around $27 per pound.
$27 per pound
Want a better way? Make it yourself.
1 pound dry roasted peanuts
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup chocolate covered candies (or less)
3 ounces almonds
3 ounces your choice dried fruit
Total cost for two pounds of trail mix? $8. You can make it yourself, only put in the things you want and save $23 per pound. No cooking involved. Store it in an air tight glass container for up to three weeks. You will not be adding the mega dose of salt either.
Ever wonder why it is so salty? Companies salt the trail mix so consumers will drink while they munch. The drink fills you up, not the micro-serving of trail mix. Skip the salt in your version.
If you are a snacker, you can save hundreds of dollars per year by investing in snack bags. Start saving money by packaging your own snacks. Spend less. Create less waste.
Are you a snack eater? Do you buy the single serving packets? Would you swap your snacks to bulk sized packages and snack bags to start saving money?
Are you saving money from the beginning of this series?
(c) Ann Marie Dwyer 2012
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