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Frugal Foods – Ode to Oatmeal

November 20, 2011

The winter holiday season is approaching and if you are like me, you are watching your pay cheque slip away before it has even arrived.  It’s not just the gifts, my family has cut way back on trinkets, but it is also the events of the holidays.  Office parties, open houses, festive dinners and the like lead to extra expenses in clothes, food, wine, and taxi fares.  I try to offset these added costs by lowering my spending on my day-to-day costs.  It is time to cut out the $5.00 lattes, and convenient take out lunches. It’s time for brown bag lunches and tea bags from home.  Everyone knows all this stuff, its basic common sense.  This year we have a new addition to the family and I want to spoil him a little bit, just a little, so I’ve been looking at other household savings.

I’ve started with Breakfast.  We all know it is the ‘most important meal of the day’ and it can also be the cheapest.  I’m going to start with my ‘Ode to Oatmeal’.  I’ve lost half of you right now – you hate oatmeal or you think you hate it, but it might deserve a second chance.

First of all, it is fast.  My recipe for my microwave is 1 min and 20 sec.

1/3 cup oatmeal in a microwave safe bowl

1/3 + 1/6 cup water

Tiniest pinch of salt

Stir. Microwave then add brown sugar and milk to taste.

The cheapest place I’ve found for Oatmeal is Costco.  You may find it cheaper and for that I say, good for you!  Costco sells Quaker Oats at 8.49/ 5 KG – I happened to get it the week there was a $2.00 instant rebate so I spent $6.49/ 5 KG. For 1/3 of a cup of oatmeal (for the above directions) it costs 5 cents by weight.

Brown sugar was 3.79/2 kg that’s 1 penny, yes 1 cent per teaspoon (which is all I add).

Milk (1% – not at Costco because I can’t go through 4 litres) prices fluctuate marginally but average out at 1.90/ 1 litre works out to be about 3 cents per Tablespoon – you may wish to add more.   So following the recipe above the cost of a basic morning bowl of oatmeal is:

Oatmeal           .05

Water              Free

Sugar               .01

Milk                 .03

Our total is 9 cents Canadian – 9 cents!  So let’s do some rough comparisons. Seven days of Oatmeal for breakfast is 0.63 cents – that’s a weeks worth of breakfast.  A loaf of bread, the most basic cheap bread you can find is going to be about $2.00 and that is before butter, jam or any other topping.  The plainest, no-name brand, rice crisp cereal or basic corn flakes is going to cost you at least $2.00/ box plus you will use more milk than 1 Tbsp/ day – there is no comparison in cost – oatmeal is the cheapest breakfast you will find.

It is true that by switching to oatmeal you are only saving a minimum of $1.50/ week. But this is just the beginning.  By taking the time to really think about the cost of our food we can substantially decrease our cost to feed ourselves.

Save your pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Bill permalink
    November 20, 2011 6:13 pm

    i bow to the oatmeal gods. i will never go back to anything else.

  2. November 20, 2011 10:08 pm

    Irony of sweet ironies…since the big chill, not to mention the last minute of gathering my tropicals from the garden before turning into popsicles alas squishy vegetal matter from the most certainly early of winter lashings… I saved dozens of Crassulas! My friends thank me for this!!!!

    I was depleted of Alpen ( my favourite brakfast on the run cereal, added with greek yogurt and fresh fruits) and alas, I discovered a frozen pouch of oatmeal with flax, just waitng for the plucking!

    1.5 c of milk and a pinch of kosher salt, 1/3 c sultanas and bring to a simmer! Bon apetito!

    may cost more than $0.09, perhaps more like $0.35 but I feel sated, full until lunch beckons!

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