Saving Money on the Grocery Bill?

Dollars and Cents


Spring Break is here, and things are a little chaotic around our house.  Not as bad as Winter Break, but still busy.  Between the boys, Travis’s new work schedule, and a pain in my neck that is making sitting at the computer hard, I haven’t really been able to enjoy being on here.  I also decided to switch my OS this weekend, and in my infinite wisdom told Travis “No, I don’t want to save all my fonts.  The list is getting a little bloated, and this way I’ll be forced to pick only the ones I want.”  which meant when I sat down earlier to play around with a couple of printables I’m working on, I didn’t ANY of the fonts I usually use.  🙁  That will teach me.

Aside from working on the printables and continuing on with my spring cleaning (see more on that here) I’ve been busy working on finding the answers to a couple of questions that have been on my mind a lot lately;

Can you really save money by making it yourself?

And if so, how much are you really saving?

When it comes to things around the house, like storage containers, or pretty pencil holders, I know that making it yourself can sometimes save a ton of money.  But what about items that you normally buy at the grocery store?

Since the beginning of the year, we’ve only bought one loaf of bread from the store.  We’ve been baking our own at home, and loving the results.  Mainly we started doing it because we can control what goes into it, and Travis likes to bake bread.  (yes, I am definitely one very lucky woman!)  We also noticed that even with just plain white bread, the homemade stuff is more filling, meaning we didn’t use it up as fast.  Lately though, another thought keeps creeping in… are we saving money doing it this way?  Honestly I don’t think I could go back to buying bread now, but still, you hear people talk about how it’s more cost-effective to make it yourself, so I decided to try to figure out if that was really true, and to see if we really are saving money on the grocery bill.

The first thing I did was check on the price of the cheapest bread at our grocery store.  It’s about $1.67 per loaf.  And since we usually buy the bread made by the store (normally we find it cheaper and fresher) that’s my comparison price.  That part was rather easy, the next part gets complicated, but I’ll keep it as simple as I can.

To figure out how much we were spending, per loaf, to make it at home I had to do the following:

  • figure out how many cups, teaspoons, etc.. were in each bag or container of ingredients
  • figure out how much each bag or container of ingredients cost
  • figure how much each measurement cost of each ingredient
  • figure out the cost of each ingredient in the recipe
  • add it all together and divide by 2 because our recipe makes 2 loaves

Yeah, that’s alot of figuring, especially for someone who really doesn’t like math…. it wasn’t really what I would call a ‘fun’ project, but it was eye-opening.

To find out how many cups of flour were in a 10kg bag, I looked it up on Google.  Found so many different answers that I opted to calculate it for myself.  Thankfully I was able to find it online because I didn’t have the original bag here at home.


I used the nutritional label to help me figure out that there 120 grams per cup of flour.    To find out how many cups in a bag, I divided 10, 000 by 120 to get  83 1/3 cups.    Then, I double checked my receipt for the price, rounded up to $14.00 (for the 10 kg bag) divided that by the number of cups and came up with 17 cents per cup!  Time consuming?  A little.  Boring?  Oh yeah!  Worth it?  I think so.

I followed the same procedure for all the ingredients, and then figured out the cost the ingredients.  Like so….

I fell OFF my chair when I saw that total.  Seriously, I figured if we were saving it wasn’t going to be much at all, and when I first saw the total, I was like “yeah I thought so, we’re only saving 25 cents!”  Then I remembered that our recipe makes 2 loaves, and we go through one a week.  (The ones we make are about the same size as the ones we used to buy, but our homemade ones are a little heavier, and taste better!)  That dropped the price to 71 cents a loaf.  That’s a huge savings!  That’s almost a whole dollar saved each week.  That’s almost $50 in a year.  That’s almost the cost of a meal out for us!

This got me thinking, if I’m saving this much on bread, how much am I saving on other items that I’m making?

  • Liam doesn’t like instant oatmeal, but he loooooves the stuff I make.  He likes it with a bit of brown sugar and cinnamon.  I’m spending about 10 cents a bowl, compared to around 38 cents per bowl of the instant oatmeal.
  • I don’t know how much this saves us, but we pop our own popcorn on the stove top, and it works out to be 60 cents per pot, which is roughly the same amount as two if not three bags of microwave popcorn.  (I use my stock pot lol)  And from one pot full I can get 12 sandwich bag sized snacks for the kids to take to school with some left over. That’s 5 cents a snack!

I’m working on a system to help make figuring it out a little easier, because now that the thought is there, I can’t seem to help myself.   I love the idea that making it myself is also saving money.  I prefer to make as much from scratch as I can, mainly because I can control what goes in, but if I’m also saving money, it’s a total win win.   So, now I know, and I couldn’t be more thrilled with the results.  I’m definitely going to me incorporating more of these things into our meal planning process.

I would love to hear what your thoughts are on this?  Do you make things from scratch?  Are you finding that you’re saving money or does that matter?  Any advice or tips for other ways to save?

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