Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Cost of Convenience

It is amazing how convenient things are to us on an everyday basis.  We are totally used to it, and in most instances have come to expect it.
We can see a gas station on about every corner in town, find grocery stores or convenience stores every few blocks, and fast food is every where.
We can walk into a grocery and buy just about anything our hearts desire.
It has become a way of life.

What would happen if that all came to an end?
The people in the south, Texas and Louisiana have lost it all.  Their homes are gone, their businesses are gone, their jobs are gone, and the basic essentials of a comfortable life are gone.  Never was it expected - but it happened and continues to grow.

We have all heard that gasoline prices are expected to increase - and they will.  The refineries were at a point to change over from gasoline refining to heating oil.  That can be expected to go up. 
Lot's of people in TX are cattle ranchers.  I can't help but wonder how much cattle has died and not been saved to higher ground.  That means beef will go up. 
Feed reserves for animals were most likely destroyed by water.  More will be needed from else where for animals to survive.
Lot's of crops we all buy, are grown in these areas - we will pay more for those.
If you plan on remodeling or building - it is suggested you buy materials NOW - because every available piece of building material will be needed in coming months and probably years in that area.
Infrastructure is bound to be destroyed - so travel and shipping will be altered.
Houston harbor is one of the largest in the world for chemical deliveries for things we all buy and use every day.
The list goes on and on.  It is amazing how an event in one area can affect people all over the country and maybe the world.
I can not imagine the horror those poor people are going through and how they will manage.  We all need to pray that God caresses them and gets them through.

I have a feeling that financially and materialistically this will be the costliest storm ever.  Katrina had tremendous loss of life - which so far this storm hasn't - but there are so many more metropolitan areas destroyed this time.  Things will never be the same.

    Everything we have can be gone in an instant.  You can't take it with you any way.

On a daily basis  we  LOVE convenience, but we sure do  pay the price for it - and most people don't even think about it.  When you have spent your life being frugal, it just makes one shutter!  At least it does me.

I stopped by the farm market last week to look around - WOW was I surprised at the prices.  Quarts of canned peaches and cherries were 8.95.  Kraut and applesauce was 6.95 a quart.  Salsa and dilly beans were 6.95 a pint.
Jams and jellies were 5.95 a half pint.
Good gracious - we have all canned a fortune!
I was stunned at the cost of fresh picked local produce as well.  My garden  has produced a lot of dollars!

At the grocery I got to looking around and was astounded at some things people buy and the prices they pay EVERY DAY!
Eight pieces of fried chicken at the deli is going for 7.99 - 8.99.  I can buy whole chickens just about every day for $5 (or less) and cut them into 8 pieces and fry myself.

6 hard boiled eggs at WM sell for 3.99 - I can make a dozen for less than $1 every day.

Three  6" mini pizza crusts with 3 little packets of sauce (nothing else) was 4.49!  I can make a 16"-18" pizza at home with a multitude of toppings for far less than that.

Hummus runs about 4.99 for a 10 oz. container and 6.99 for a bigger 17 oz. size.  I can make my own with garbanzo beans (and any flavorings I want) for maybe .69 for a 15 oz. can of beans.

Guacamole is very expensive at the deli - averaging 7.99 - 8.99 a pound.  It can be made for pennies when you watch for a sale on avocado.

A 1 lb. or less bag on dried Amish noodles run approximately 4.99.  I can make several meals worth of noodles with a dozen eggs and less than 5 lbs. of flour - which is approx. less than $3 total here.

A huge pot of soup or stew can be made a home with items on hand for next to nothing and provide many servings or meals.  It you think about how many cans of soup it would take to equal yours - the dollar value is tremendous.

Tuna salad and egg salad at the deli runs about 5.99/lb. here.  I can sure make a lot of each for less than a third that amount.

Fast food - those burgers and fries can be tasty, but think about how many burgers and homemade fries you could make for the same amount of money.  You could feed a lot of people for the amount we spend to feed two.
I love the idea of folks making up freezer meals for this very reason.  You always have something on hand at home.

Stopping for a Starbuck's coffee is 3.99 - 4.99 a cup from what I hear. (I don't drink it - so I don't know), but I can buy a whole can of coffee for G for 4.99/5.99 on sale.  That gives dozens and dozens of cups, and I can fancy them up all I want.

Isn't it amazing?  I know lots of people buy these things, and that is fine, I am not trying to judge - it just isn't for me.  My mindset just won't let me go there.  When we do get dinner from the diner or Chinese, I feel guilty for days for spending that kind of money of something that could be made here for pennies on the dollar.  I guess that is just my frugal upbringing coming through!
I love my gift card dinners that I can get for FREE!  There is nothing like getting a gift card in my opinion - it lets us indulge on things we probably wouldn't otherwise.

Those of us who garden, can, freeze, barter, glean, etc. are so far ahead of the game.  We know how yummy all that food is and will be in the future, and we know exactly what is in our food.  That is huge in my opinion!
I know everyone doesn't have that opportunity - but if you do - it is the way to go.

We ALL have items we purchase for convenience - that is a given.  I know I do.
The next time you grab for something - just stop and think how much you could save by doing it yourself.  It may be a bit less convenient - but it sure can save.

CAN WE splurge on those convenient items?  Most of us probably can.
Just because we can do something - doesn't necessarily mean we have to or that we should!


  1. I agree "from scratch" is cheaper. I didn't get any peaches frozen but hoping we can find the energy to do our lumpy applesauce! Tastes so good! Nancy

    1. Sounds so good Nancy. Good luck getting that done.

  2. I didn't think about the flooding affecting us so much! I'm thinking I better make the effort to buy the ground beef I saw on sale, sooner rather than later!
    Agreed, most of the time scratch made is cheaper depending on ingredients.

    1. Debbie, I didn't even scratch the surface of the long arm affect. Think about how many vehicles have been destroyed and will need replacing. I would think that would take stock from far and wide. It will also create more work in that industry.
      I think we will all feel some impact. Stock up while you can cheaply.
      Take care.

  3. I am also amazed at what people buy as I really don't buy convenience foods. Now I will go get fast food once in a while, but I know I am wasting money when I do. My home made chicken and noodle soup is demanded and begged for on many occasions. How hard is it to make noodles? I won't even go to a farmers market as I think they are too expensive. I grow it and eat it.

    1. Good logic and thinking. It saves so much money. Nothing like a good pot of homemade chicken and noodle soup!
      Got to love our home grown!

  4. The farmers market here can be expensive too. I did buy a big bag of beets to can there for $18.00. At first I thought it was too much to pay but I figured out that each can of pickled beets was under .80. So I was fine whew! I remember we used to go to the deli often when we were younger. Oh at the money we spent there! If I could go back now.

    1. Vickie, we used to buy a lot at the deli too. Man oh man is that stuff expensive. It is amazing the KNOWLEDGE we gain as we get older!!

      I guess if we take inconsideration that someone worked land, weeded, and picked the produce then shipped it - it is all cheap. I would just rather walk out back and pick.
      You are correct - if you bought the beets by the can it would have been a lot more expensive and you still wouldn't know what all was in them.

  5. We are 1,379 miles from Houston (thank you G**gl* maps), but already two days ago, gas jumped $.15. I always keep my tank at least half full or better. Even though I was nearly full, I topped it off on my way home from church Sunday. Glad I did.

    I think we need to redefine convenience food as inconvenient food. It costs more, it doesn't taste as good as homemade, it has unhealthy preservatives, it produces more trash and it can even take more time if you factor in driving to get it, waiting in line, earning money to pay for it...

    1. Cheri not sure how far away we are - I'm in Indiana - so far - and gas has gone up here as well. They expect it to be at it highest price in over 2 years for a while. On top of that it is Labor Day weekend!

      LOVE IT - inconvenient food!!!!! You are 100% correct in your definition!

      Folks never take into consideration everything. How long do they have to work to pay for that 'luxury' item? It is crazy.
      Thanks for the new way of defining it.

  6. Cheryl, convenience and pre made food is always more expensive. I am only about 50% of the way there on making better selections. For instance, we will get two pizzas for $12 and get two meals out of them. It is better pizza than what I can make at home. So we do that one and about break even.

    When we eat out at a fancy restaurant it is almost always for seafood, something we cannot seem to do at home very well because of the non availability of it in landlocked central PA. If we do go out, we try to use coupons. Last night we didn't and the meal was a shocking $90 for two including tip and soda pop to drink. OUCH !!!! But then we also had a hearty second meal from the doggie bag, so maybe that helped, but OUCH !!! We so totally bought into the adverts for that one.

    When I buy lunch I can either spend $12 and go to the local quick place, or get a bigger lunch by walking a 1/2 mile and spend $6. Most of the time I try to bring my lunch.

    So it is choices, and I need to make better ones if I am ever going to truly be good about being frugal!

    Keeping a budget would help and I haven't for six months, hence the lapse in spending choices. Maybe you could run a couple blogs on how you use a budget to keep things in check?

    1. Ellen you absolutely correct about it mainly being about choices. We all make different ones, and what is great to one person is horrible for another.

      $90 WOW - I agree! That is almost what I spent on groceries for the month of August! Sometimes an experience is worth spending the extra money - but it would have to be a great experience for me!

      I will think on doing a blog about budgeting. We don't really budget - never have - per se. We know what we have, and just stay within that. We have never been big spenders. A splurge now and then - but we all deserve one once in a while.

      I hope you get back on track for what you are wanting to accomplish. Just acknowledging the fact is a huge start!
      It seems easier to stay on budget in the winter (other than gift buying overload). Less things to do!
      Have a great day.

  7. We are off to overnight in a motel as Bluey has a specialists appointment 300km south of us, first thing tomorrow morning. We are taking all our own food, tea and coffee with us.
    We have a young couple and their toddler, friends of our daughter, staying with us. They went to a restaurant on their journey here. Their meal, steak and chips, and bubbies pasta, plus 2 beers cost $96!!!!
    Id best go and get the last of the packing done.

    1. Jane hope all is fine with Bluey.
      You are very smart to take your own food and drink with you. You can't get more convenient than that.

      Restaurants are so stinking expensive any more - especially something that is nice.
      Fast food can be costly as well. To get 2 'nice' burgers and sides and drinks can easily cost $20. That is just crazy.
      I don't really understand how people with kids can afford it.
      Safe travels.

  8. As a wife and mother of a large family, homemade meals are our norm, since the few times we do go out to eat, we're normally unimpressed with what is served and how much we paid!

    Fast food is also a "treat" to us, since the cost of meals have gone up so much.

    We're in a generation that is all about wants first and needs later, then when the later comes, they are maxing out the credit cards and payday loans to make it to their next spending spree. So sad...

    Thank you for the wonderful tips and recipes you share! May you have a wonderful day~

    1. Mama -having a big family was definitely God's gift to you - but also a great teaching experience.
      You are so correct - most time the food you buy at a restaurant is not nearly as good as anticipated and ever so costly.
      I have come to love all my home made meals.

      There are a couple generations of people who are having to learn the hard way about wants and needs. So many people are going to be affected by this hurricane in ways they never imagined - how will they pay their debts? Odds are they won't - and we will all suffer in the long run.

      Thank you for visiting and your kind words.

  9. Hi my friend. One of the local gas stations had a sign out a few days ago saying that they did not have gas because all the gas that was supposed to be coming up here to them was diverted to the areas that had been hit by the hurricane to help people there. We are clear up here in Washington State but yes, it has already been affecting us too. Friends in Texas have had severe damage to their homes and will not even know the full extent of it in some cases because they have not been able to get to their homes yet, they have just seen pictures taken by others.

    Yesterday I was telling my husband that I wanted to stock up on basics like flour, sugar and such now because I can't shake this feeling that this is going to be an expensive Fall and Winter with prices climbing rapidly for heating, food, fuel, etc.. I have felt this way for months now, even before the hurricane hit and have been trying to slowly stock up on things when I see a good sale. My hubby wanted to give away a lot of things from our pantry and I hesitated and told him to please just wait...I felt our family and friends were going to need to "shop" out of it soon. Last night I got a phone call that confirmed why I was feeling this way and I am so glad that we will be able to help out someone we love who is going to be going through some very lean times for months to come.