Sunday, September 21, 2014

Financial breakdown: Boxed versus homemade brownies

A while back I took part in a discussion on a message board about what you make from scratch when you are trying to be careful with your grocery budget. I said "everything" another poster said that certain things were cheaper to buy processed/boxed then to make from scratch. The example given was that brownies are cheaper from a box then from scratch. Which got me to thinking....what is the exact breakdown of homemade brownies versus boxed brownies?


1/2 cup butter $0.47
1 cup sugar $0.18
2 eggs $0.21
1 tsp vanilla $0.01
1/3cup cocoa $0.18
1/2 cup flour  $0.04
1/4 tsp salt $0.01
1/4 tsp baking powder $0.01

Preheat oven to 350. Melt butter in a saucepan and remove from heat. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Pour into a buttered 8x8 glass pan and bake 25-30min.

Total for 1 pan: $1.11

Boxed Brownies
 Box of mix  $2.28
 1/4cup oil $0.15
 1 egg $0.10

Total for 1 pan: $2.53

So it is roughly $1.42 cheaper to make brownies from scratch. Of course the amount of the boxed brownies could be less if you bought them on sale. Lets face it though when you are craving a brownie you are not going to be waiting for the next sale cycle to start! At least this chocoholic isn't going to!

 This is obviously not an amount that is going to break the bank. However I decided to write a post about it because I think it reflects a deeper issue. I would have still made my homemade brownies even if it had been MORE expensive to make them from scratch. Why? Because I feel that we as a society are too dependent on boxed mixes and premade items. That fact was made perfectly clear to me this last winter. We had a bad ice storm and the roads were terrible. We were all house bound for several days and unable to get to the stores.  I was reading some posts on our local spouses page and was shocked by what I read. People were complaining that they couldn't get to the store to buy this mix or that box for meals. It honestly never occurred to them to make the items from commonly found pantry staples. Out of all the things to be worried about right after a bad storm not being able to make brownies because I couldn't get to the store to buy a box of mix wasn't on my list.

It seems to me that the act of cooking actual food has been lost on our generation. You can now buy just about any completed meal item you can think of either frozen, boxed, or canned.  I am very surprised how many people do not know how to make simple things like soups or bread items. I was speaking to a woman a few months ago about how we make our own pizza dough on pizza night. She was shocked that we would "have the time to go to all that trouble". When I told her it takes me 5min and just pennies to make enough dough for 5 pizzas she was shocked.

I don't know about you but I don't like feeling helpless. Which is just how I feel when I am 100% reliant on someone else for my meals. I have been there. Standing in front of my pantry looking in and saying "I can't make anything for dinner" because we were out of boxed Rice a roni or cans of cream of whatever soup. I like knowing I can make the items I need from staples I buy in bulk once a month. I don't need to run to the store constantly to get that "needed" item.

I hope to teach my children that there is life outside of the box, can, freezer section! What about you all? 

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