Creating value added food at home.

Now that I have cut the cord on my cable bill, I have appx 60 dollars extra to spend a month.  Most months I will use this money to pay off student loans but I am also keeping my eyes peeled for opportunities to cut more costs.  Creating value added food like bread or pasta at home is one of the areas I feel like I can save some costs.

I know what you are thinking.  You can buy pasta or bread for a dollar a box at the local store.  That is true if you want to get what you pay for but if providing wholesome real food is your goal you will pay much more than a dollar.

Providing wholesome real food is not only important for the nutrition of my family but making value added food at home helps with another goal that I have of simplifying things.  I would rather spend time making homemade bread or pasta then trying to find other things to do like going to the mall or spending money to have fun.

Making your own food at home is not only fun but it can save you money especially over time.  Lets take a trip back to our accounting classes.  Does everybody remember fixed costs and variable costs?

For those of you that don't, fixed costs are things purchased once and variable costs are things purchased each time something is produced.  In the case of making pasta, the pasta machine cost is a fixed cost and the wheat and eggs are variable costs.

Most people know that a fixed cost can be spread out over time so a 60 dollar pasta machine that lasts for 20 years is not a lot of money when you figure out your per unit cost.  Even if you make two batches of pasta a year, your fixed costs would only be 1.50 per batch.

If you made 26 batches a year (my goal/ one batch every 2 weeks) for 20 years, your fixed cost per unit would be appx 12 cents.  Throw in some maintenance of the unit for fun and you are up to say 14 cents.  

Now lets look at variable costs.  The recipe that I use for making wheat pasta calls for one pound of wheat and 6 eggs.  I can purchase 12 organic cage free eggs right now for 2 dollars so 6 eggs would be 1 dollar.  I buy my wheat flour in bulk from an amish store for 50 cents a pound.

My total cost for making 100 percent wheat pasta with organic cage free eggs is 1.64.  1.50 in variable costs and 14 cents for fixed costs.  I can buy the comparable product in the store for appx 3 dollars.  My savings compared to purchasing from the store is appx 1.36.  Multiply that by 26 and I saved appx 35 dollars.

35 dollars doesn't seem like a lot of money to go through the hassle of creating your own pasta but if you can do the same thing with items like baking bread and making your own tortilla shells your money saved per year could be closer to 150 dollars.  Not bad for a fun hobby your family can enjoy!

If saving 150 dollars while having fun and providing good wholesome food didn't win you over, I have one more thing to make you want to start making your own food at home.  By creating food at home, you are minimizing your risk for inflation down the road.

How does that work?  Think of the pasta example.  Lets say 10 years from now food prices have doubled from what they are now.  That same box of pasta you bought today for 3 dollars is now 6.  The cage free eggs would be 4 dollars or 2 dollars for 6.  The wheat flour would be 1 dollar a pound.

It seems to me that core products like flour and eggs do not spike up as much as value added things like pasta but lets say they do for the sake of the argument.  How does the comparison look now?  My home produced pasta would be 3.14 (3 dollars variable and 14 cents fixed) and the store bought pasta would be 6 dollars.

10 years from now I will basically be paying the same thing for my wheat pasta as you are now purchasing it.  Not bad eh?  Add in veggies from my garden as well as perennial fruit from the fruit bushes and trees that I am planting and my cost of living increases will be minimal.

Since I can better control my cost of living increases, I can now use my raises at work to contribute more to my 401k instead of actually using them to buy more expensive stuff.

Hopefully this article will open your eyes to the fact that doing something like making your own pasta or bread is worth it.  A lot of times I have said to myself that it is only a few bucks here or there but a few bucks can mean a lot when looking at the big picture.

If you are interested in learning new techniques to simplify your life and reduce your expenses, please follow my blog by clicking the "follow me" square in the upper right hand corner of this blog.

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