It’s a Spicy Price to Pay for Convenience Foods!

With  most families having both parents working outside the home in Canada convenience in the kitchen seems to be the way to go. Take-out Pizza is on the menu at least once a week and that’s the day parents can simply chill out and get some backlogged house work done or spend time with the family.

Is spending over $1000 a year on pizza worth it and at what cost?

What other conveniences foods or items do we want in our Kitchen? 

*Prepared Food or Spice Packets 

Since trying to lower our overall budgeting costs we wanted to find ways to keep the budget with-in reach. Let’s look at Spices and those prepared packets we all buy.

How many of you have bags and bottles of spices thrown in a drawer or a cupboard?

That’s right I’m talking to you.. I know you are shaking your head saying yes I’m guilty! That’s ok we used to be as well.

I’m betting most of your spices are outdated or stale because you don’t use them often enough. The price of convenience reels you in and the spices fade into non-existence.

Reasons why people don’t use spices and opt for Packets

  • They are not organized in a cupboard or drawer

Last year Mrs.CBB and I found we had so many spices but struggled to keep them organized in the cupboard. Our favourite cook, Chef Michael Smith on the Food Network Canada gave us an idea! Spices in Mason Jars! Now we only wish we had the same pantry as him!

  • Convenience of packaged spices made for a meal is quick
Some of the common convenience packages are for Chili, Meatloaf, Beef Stew, SloppyJoes, and Sheppard’s pie. You can buy these for $1.29 a pack or more sometimes cheaper if they are on sale $0.99.  Use one of these packs once a week for a year at regular price and it will cost you just over $67.00.
Below we will look at a simple recipe and what you will need to make it taste flavourful without the spice packets! These recipes are for the crock pot however whether you make it them on the stove, in the oven or the slow cooker a simple spice stash is all you need!
Here is an easy Taco Seasoning Mix you can make at home for a fraction of the price of the packages and it’s SO easy! Make this in big batches and store in an air tight container and it’s ready when you are!
Crock Pot (Slow Cooker) Chili with Beans and Corn-requires only salt,chili powder,pepper,cumin,cayenne pepper,oregano and coriander. Why do you need a packet?
Ingredients
2 medium onions, finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine
1 green bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely sliced
6 Roma tomatoes, chopped
30 ounces kidney beans, canned, rinsed and drained
6 ounces tomato paste
8 ounces frozen corn kernels
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1 1/2 cups non-fat chicken or vegetable broth
Other reasons people opt for Spice Packets
 
  • You don’t own the correct spices or any spices

You don’t need to have a chef’s cupboard of spices but you do need to have the one’s you will  need most often. Researching your favourite recipes and noting the spices you would commonly use is important to saving money.

* Growing Herbs in Canada is so easy and inexpensive. If you are an avid gardener you can easily grow spices and dry them for off-season use. If you end up with too much basil for example you can process it and freeze it in a cupcake pan or ice cube trays then put them in freezer bags.

* You may also find purchasing spices on-line from Silk Road Spices or other sites a cheaper alternative!

*Take advantage of any coupons to your local bulk store and purchase your most used spices from the bulk store

Organization is Important- When they look pretty your mind tells you to use them!

  • Your spices are not correctly labelled- We labelled our Jars with labels that we purchased at the grocery store or you can order custom spice labels. 

There you have it Canada! Save yourself some money in the budget, get organized in the Kitchen. With a little homework you can make your time in the kitchen more efficient and easy on the budget!

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Photo Credits :Copyright (c) <a href=’http://www.123rf.com’>123RF Stock Photos</a>

 

Mr. CBB
I’m from the UK and now a recent permanent resident in Canada. I bought my first house at the age of 21 after University then my second at the age of 24. I’ve always been fascinated with personal finance, savings, learning to make money and watch it grow while combating debts along the way. Canadian Budget Binder is a place where I get to share my experiences with personal finance and learn about yours along the way. I hope you stick around and check me out on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest where I am active on all social media sites. Cheers, Mr.CBB
Mr. CBB
Mr. CBB

Comments

  1. Great post! Love your labels. And, yeah, I should get more organized with my spices as well. I like to make things from scratch, so you won’t find a lot of pre-mixed stuff in my pantry.
    Please let me add something in regard to the cost at which convenience food come. It is not just money, it is our health, too! Most ready-to-use packages (for sauces, gravies, puddings, pie fillings, etc.) have ingredients most of us have trouble to pronounce, less know what it actually is. There are so many modified things and additives in it – especially colour like yellow # 5 (E 102 in Europe) or also called tartrazine – which is banned or at least not used anymore in other countries. How come, for example, that Dr. Oetker vanilla pudding powder bought in Canada has tartrazine in it, whereas the German product uses beta carotene as a colour? A lot of those spice packages contain glutamate, which is another highly controversial ingredient. Preparing your meals from scratch is not only cheaper but MUCH healthier!

  2. I got on the spice bandwagon years ago but you hit a point that I did not get right away which is figure out how to use up your spices I have a HUGE collection so I have to assess often which spices to use and when. I love the recipes you shared the only thing I do a little different is that I don’t pre-make spices I just add as I cook but thats because I love to cook and I love to change things up for convenience sake it is so much smarter to prepare ahead and that way when you are tired its all done for you! I do a little bit of this but that being said now that taco season is here I am going to try your taco mix recipe! I always enjoy your posts as we are so likeminded! You should link this up at “The Ole’ Saturday Homesteading Trading Post”! Thanks as always for a great post!

    • Hi,
      Glad you liked the post. I thought spices were one way we decided to organize when we looked at our budget and how much money we were spending. In the process we learned about organization, expiry dates on spices and how we didn’t need to buy packages any more. How do I link to your site? Sorry I’m new to all of this. Cheers. Mr.CBB

      • Mr. CBB -you have a great blog and a big following but I think our readers would love to see what you are doing to link up all you have to do is on todays post where it says click here to link up to the Ole’ Saturday Homesteading Trading Post and you have to put your link in and what you want to title your link, and then your name and email but that is private and does not appear to everyone…I always sign KarenLynn@Lil’Suburban Homestead! I hope you link up!

  3. My first semester at college I spent $200 on pizza! It is hard to see how things really add up. I wish banks would have some sort of program on their electronic sites to show how much of your money you are spending on crap! Love chili by the way!

    • Mrs.CBB says she did the same thing. She even mentions and points out the joint everytime we visit the city where she went to school. I think she drools a bit whilst thinking about it.
      Simply the students NEED a budget. I have had the opportunity to speak to quite a few students who are now mindful of their expenses. I see many taking advantage of the SPC card here in Canada. You can also be sure to see the students at the grocery store on student discount day. If more students invested in their finances the blow after school wouldn’t be as bad as it could be. Cheers and thanks for your comment.. we love chili too! Mr.CBB

      • I agree. Especially for students having a budget is important. Sadly enough, a lot of young people never learn how to live within their means, mainly because their parents don’t teach them. Many parents don’t even know how to do that themselves. Instead, so many people max out their credit cards and struggle to even make the minimum payments. We have to teach our children to be patient and wait until we HAVE the money (= saved enough) to buy the newest games and gadgets etc. In the past I got funny looks when I mentioned that we ALWAYS pay off the whole amount on our credit card (of course on time), and even funnier ones, when they hear that hubby and I have only one card each from the same account.
        Keep promoting budgeting. I hope a lot of young people read your blog!

        • Thanks for you comment. I really hope that by reaching my hand out to not only adults and families but to Students will assist them in learning what might not have been taught at home. My wife and I were smart students and hope to share all the advice we can with the young students of today.

          My wife’s younger sister “NOW” understands what she was trying to tell her for the past 8 years about saving for emergencies, retirement and using a budget. Sadly some young people think they are invincible and don’t accept failure until it hits them in the face. There is no reason why the young can’t embrace a budget and saving while they are young. Before they know it they will be out on their own and a boat load of debt to follow them.

          The smart students who listen and keep an open mind and are not only present but forward thinkers will forge ahead. I hope to reach out to each and every one and show them how we as young adults were able to reach our goals and continue to. No one says you have to have a million dollars in the bank to live a stress free life. All you need to do is stay away from debt and ahead of the game!

          Cheers,
          Mr.CBB

  4. Zayba Ramoutar says:

    I come from an East Indian background so spices in jars were pretty much part of learning how to cook. My mom helped me organize my spices. The dollar store was great for jars. I really like the tall sugar jars (the ones with the flip spout). As I got older, I discovered i loved to cook other ethnic foods, so I have a ton of spices associated with many different cultures and I use all of them! I love experimenting with different spice combos. I even started my own herb garden! I’m a big fan of spices!!!!!

  5. Wingsze Blake says:

    i stopped buying curry paste after making this thai yellow curry myself. you only need 2 spices, coconut milk, some meat and vegs, then you’re ready for a yellow curry!
    here’s the link of the recipe and a picture of it. https://www.facebook.com/groups/2445182234/permalink/10150836003292235/

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