Mar 28 2010

Can a $9 bag of flour be frugal?


As I’m attempting to make and bake more things from scratch, I knew I needed to at least try to make some baked goods. I am a much better cook than I am baker, and I’ve gotta say, I’m still intimidated by baking bread!

I’ve made several loaves in a bread machine before, but the loaves seem too small to be worth the trouble.

I got my hands on a simple-looking bread recipe, so I thought I ought to get some practice.

On the recommendation of this blogger, I bought a 5-lb. sack of organic white whole wheat flour from King Arthur. This flour is supposed to be lighter than some varieties of whole wheat flour. I chose organic because I wanted to be certain this was a natural wheat, and not one made from genetically modified seeds or seeds from the evil Monsanto corporation.

This sack of flour set me back about $9. Yikes! I’ve seen the cheapie bleached all-purpose flour at $2/sack — maybe even less with coupons.

I wondered if this flour would truly be worth the cost. I would be able to make my own baked goods using organic flour and that was bound to be cheaper than pre-made organic goods, right? And maybe cheaper than some conventional products, depending on my other ingredients.

With this flour, I made chocolate chip cookies, apple-banana-oat cookies, pancakes, a small loaf of bread, two large loaves of bread, and I will also make tortillas. That will probably be the last of the bag.

If I bought prepackaged versions, I’d probably spend at least $25. Of course, the baked goods I made required more than flour — but the other ingredients weren’t all that pricey.

So perhaps I saved $5-10 for doing  these things myself. I suppose that’s worth it.

I need more practice making bread and tortillas and other foods like that. If I continue to enjoy it, I may consider getting a grain grinder and grinding wheat berries to make flour for additional savings. I don’t know where I can find those in bulk around here so it may not be a feasible option.

What do you think? Should I keep on buying that spendy flour? Or are there other alternatives I should consider?

Mar 23 2010

It’s not how much $ you make, it’s what you do with it


Trent had an interesting post today about wealth. In it, he showed two (fictitious, I’m guessing) scenarios involving two 25-year-olds. One earned $100k and lived large, and another earned $35k, lived modestly and put money in savings.

To make his point, both scenarios were to the extreme.

But still, I think the post raises an interesting point on income and expenses in general.

If you have a large salary, but also have a lot of debt, your money may not go very far. You’re paying a portion of your income to debt repayment and interest.

Contrast that to someone who has a lower salary, but also is debt-free. That family might have more disposable income than the family with a lot of debt.

More disposable income means more to fund retirement, more to save, more to enjoy, and more to give. Oh, and more breathing room!

Hey! I'm Kacie, wife and mother of 3. I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

I hope I can inspire and encourage you to improve your situation. See disclosure.

I'm adopting a much slower-paced posting schedule, and treating this as a hobby blog now.

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