I’d say there’s a difference.
I’ve been told lately that I’m overcomplicating my life. I briefly touched on this in a recent post, but I thought I’d elaborate here.
I’ve said before that I buy very, very few convenience foods. Many have told me that I would simplify my life if I’d cave in and purchase more boxed items. I prefer to think that simple living is more easily achieved when things are created from natural, whole, or simple ingredients. Is it more *convenient* to open up a pack of cookies rather than bake some with stuff you have on hand? Of course it is. Is it complicated to make them from scratch? I dont think so. There’s a certain *simple* pleasure that comes from creating something from ingredients you have at home…and sharing that experience with your children.
Does my lifestyle take more effort? Yes. Is it, at times, inconvenient? Sure. That said, there is a certain simplicity that comes from not having to deal with brands, elevated prices on “crap food”, and not being a slave to unnecessary foods. The fact that its also so gratifying to *create* something also makes any inconvenience worth the effort.
Am I against convenience foods? No. I simply choose to avoid purchasing them whenever possible. If I can do it myself, for a cheaper price, why wouldn’t I? The other side of that coin is, if I CANT make it cheaper, I wont bother trying. I’d rather spend 1.88 on a box of 12 packs of austin cheese cracker sandwiches than try to figure out how to make a similar snack for my children. At rougly $.16 a pack, I cant complain. Nevermind the fact that I dont know how to make cheese crackers (nor do I have a desire to figure it out!)
On occasion, I will purchase a box of eggo waffles. 24 of them are rougly 2.98 at the store. I will purchase them if I know we’ve got a busy week ahead of us, or if, frankly, one of us is really wanting them. I wouldn’t ever buy them if I had a waffle iron, but I’m working on that. I keep hoping I’ll find one second hand.
If I can make a $1.09 box of pancake batter last a week, why wouldnt I take the extra 10 minutes to mix it and put them on my griddle? It seems like a small savings at only about $2.00 a week, but thats how we save money around here…one small bit at a time. The money I save each week on waffles works out to about $104.00 a year. That’s an annual zoo membership and the gas to get there six or seven times.
I also save about $1.00 a week on syrup. I make my own from sugar, water, a couple tbsp of brown sugar, some maple extract and a bit of butter extract as well. One sack of sugar, a sack of brown sugar, and the extracts works out to roughly $8.00. The extracts will last me at LEAST six months, and thats if I make syrup every 2 weeks. The sugar will give me about six or seven bottles of the stuff, and the brown sugar even more. I could easily spend $3.00 every time I go to the store on two bottles of syrup. that’s $6.00 a month on syrup. I spend about $12.00 on supplies every six months. That’s $24.00 saved every six months, or $48.00 a year. That’s enough money for all the fabric I need to make an entire summer wardrobe for BOTH girls combined.
Is it always convenient? No. Complicated? I dont think so.
Here’s my favorite one right now.
I make yogurt. I make 8 cups a week. That’s what, 2 quarts? I use powdered milk, so thats about $2.00 in milk. This makes 2 quarts of yogurt, which usually runs me about $3.00 per quart. I’m paying closer to $1.00 per quart, a $2.00 savings on EACH quart. I go through 2 a week, saving of course four dollars a week, just on yogurt. That’s $208.00 a YEAR. On Yogurt, people! Thats a camping trip, including gas!
Convenient? Not always. Complicated? No way. The crock pot does all the work anyway.
And here, is probably the most amazing one I have. It’s not a food, but it is a necessary item. I (as I have mentioned) started making laundry soap. (I really need to post directions…)…Anyway, it goes something like this:
One box of borax: 2.69
One box of *washing* soda (Not baking soda) 2.19
One bar of laundry soap $.89
The bar will make 3 batches.
Each batch of soap only requires 3/4 cup of both the washing soda and borax. I’m no mathmatic genious, so I’m not going to try and figure that out…but thats about 30 cents for the soap, and lets just say we get 12 batches out of the borax and washing soda. That’s $.18 for the washing soda and about $.25 for the borax. So thats roughly $.70 for right around 2 gallons of soap. This will do at least 32 loads of laundry,(if you use more than recommended) which will last me right around 3 weeks.
I pay about 12.99 every three weeks for laundry soap. that sounds high for someone as frugal as myself, but I did buy tide. I am picky, picky, picky about my soap, so I assure you, the homemade soap actually works.
Ok, so thats a difference of 12.29. I’m saving 12.29 every three weeks! Thats almost 209.00 a year on soap. :O
Convenient? Not always. Complicated? Who cares. That’s 209.00 a year…on soap!