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Homemade vs. Store-Bought Cost Comparison

60% more for my PB&J?  I’ll make it myself, thank you very much.


I may be alone on this one, but I used to think that those frozen, pre-made dinners were  cheaper than buying all of the ingredients and making the same meal from scratch.  It makes sense, buy one thing in one package and it should be cheaper; well, it makes sense in my mind at least.  As I’ve become a more savvy shopper, I’ve noticed that these meals are seeming more and more expensive.  This week I went to the store to compare the cost of store-bought, frozen meals and the cost of making the same meals at home on my own time.  I found that, as usual, when someone does the work for you, it’s going to cost you more. 

Making the meal yourself is usually cheaper, but there are some qualifications:

1. Homemade is cheaper per serving, but comes in greater quantities. 

When I was single, I hardly ever made a truly home-cooked meal because I would end up eating the same leftovers for a week.  I don’t care how much you like spaghetti pie, you’ll hate its guts after eating it for 5 days straight. 

2. Spices, marinades, and other cooking staples last FOREVER. 

If you aren’t going to use that bottle of ginger marinade before it goes bad, it may be worth it to just buy the pre-made meal.  While the cost per serving is usually cheaper when you make the meal, you have to use up all of the ingredients to make the numbers add up. 

 3. Store-bought is better (cheaper) than eating out.

After a long day, you may not feel like playing Julia Child or Emeril.  Having some pre-made meals handy can be helpful for avoiding even more expensive trips to restaurants. 


Check out a few of the differences between buying the meal and making it yourself.  I was surprised that you pay more for the labor in a peanut butter and jelly sandwich than for the actual ingredients themselves. 


Article publié pour la première fois le 29/07/2010