Cross It Off The List

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.

Portion Control

Balance the portions.

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

Can you afford these?

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.

Tons of garbage at the end of the day.

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.

Bottom Line

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
Re-Blogging of this or any other post on Momma’s Money Matters
is expressly forbidden.
Copyright and Privacy Policy available
in The Office. 
Previous Post
Next Post
Leave a comment


  1. I’d not say I’m a snicker, but I occasionally enjoy a snack. One of my favs is mini. Bell peppers. De-seed, cut ( I do rings) and eat. I do them all and put in fridge so they’re ready. Hubs chops them up and adds to burgers ( and. Many other things) to add flavor and veggie content (hidden:).

    One problem not addressed here is those who don’t buy and package certain items because they will eat it all. Take chips for example ( I know-bad choice). I can eat just a handful or less of any chip out there, except Lays. So I don’t let them in the house at all. If I get a craving, I buy the small bag to keep the portion down. Of course, if you buy packages of individual portions, you can wind up eating more than one, right MJ?? Lol. Good post. Angie
    Angela Young recently posted..Pride and the CrossMy Profile

    • Red

       /  May 25, 2012

      I think the concept of discipline may well be the subject of a series. 😉

  2. I was delighted when I realized that my kid would rather skip the snacks all together and play if she has to wait to play until after the snack.
    Laurie recently posted..Changes in Hope of SimplicityMy Profile

    • Except for nutritional reasons, I never make mine snack or make fun things dependent on eating. It creates really unhealthy habits.

  1. It is merely a suggestion. | Momma's Money Matters

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.