If you watch any daytime television or pick up any women’s magazines, you’ll find plenty of advertisements and articles showing you how XYZ product can make your life easier.
Convenience products can make life simpler, but they can have several costs. First, there is the health cost. Many convenience products are laden with preservatives or are so over-processed they’ve lost a lot of their nutritional value.
And then of course, there is a the actual cost of the item. You should always calculate the unit price of what you are buying (total cost divided by the units the product is measured in), to ensure that you’re getting the best deal. And usually, when it comes to convenience items, you end up paying more.
Here are a just a few examples:
- Carrots: You can get two or more pounds of carrots for the same price as one pound of peeled and washed baby carrots. It really doesn’t take that long to peel, wash, and cut up a pile of carrots.
- Pizza: You can make homemade pizza dough for less than $1. Buy pre-made pizza dough, and you’ll end up paying at least $2.50. A quality frozen pizza can cost you $5 or more. It takes a couple of hours to make pizza dough, but the home-baked taste is worth every minute!
- K-Cups. I am amazed at the number of people who have single-cup coffee makers. Mostly, because I don’t believe I have ever seen a coffee drinker only drink just one cup! Even if you manage to get a great price on K-Cups, you’re still paying approximately $50 a pound for the convenience. Get a four-cup coffee maker instead and buy your coffee in bulk. Keep any leftovers of brewed coffee in an air pot or thermos to drink later in the day or learn how to make iced coffee. Even if you’re buying high-end, bagged coffee and adding flavored creamers to it, you’ll still save money over a single-cup coffee maker.
- Cleaning products. Advertisers would love you to believe that their products do the best job at cutting through grime and soap scum, when the truth is that homemade cleaners can do the job just as well for just pennies instead of dollars, and they’re better for the environment, too.
There are so many convenience items that you can easily make at home for a fraction of the cost. But you also have to determine whether the time it takes to make those items is worth spending.
When you’ve had the worst day at work, or you’re not feeling well, the cost of a convenience item can be worth every single penny.
The key to saving money is to determine what it is you value. If you value convenience, then figure the costs into your budget.
But if you learn to enjoy making your own convenience items, you’ll find a way to carve out the time to do it, and you’ll save quite a bit of money.