Cooking From Scratch – Is It Worth It?

Is cooking from scratch really a good way to save money on the food budget?

With rising food prices, a tough economy and limited household incomes, we all want to save money anywhere we can. The monthly food budget is one of the biggest line items on a family or personal budget after mortgage and utilities. We shops the sales, use coupons and look for bargains in order to stretch the food budget as far as it will go. But could cooking from scratch be a simple, affordable answer to saving money?

Cooking from scratch was something I had never really thought of trying. My first thoughts were would it actually save money, and is it worth the time investment, effort and clean up?

My initial interest in learning how to cook from scratch was not for saving money on our food budget. It was because I didn’t know how, and it was something I wanted to accomplish on my perfect simple living wish list.

Fast forward a few years, and I am happy to share with you that I have been cooking from scratch for a while now making fresh foods as well as stocking my freezer with plan ahead meals, breads, side dishes and desserts. And in the past few years, what I have learned about cooking from scratch is:

  • It’s super easy 
  • Is not time consuming like I originally thought
  • Tastes better than store bought
  • is healthier for you and your family
  • saves money on our food budget
  • It is actually lots of fun!

As if all of the benefits I have learned wasn’t motivating and inspiring enough, cooking from scratch has helped me lose weight.

What does cooking from scratch mean?

This is an interesting question in that it means something different depending on who you ask. For me, it is taking baking supplies like flour, sugar, yeast and salt and creating something from those items like home made breads, desserts and meals.

For me, cooking from scratch is:

  • Making home made mashed potatoes vs. a box of instant potato flakes
  • Home made yeast rolls, breads, crusts, etc. instead of store bought, pre-made and processed
  • Making homemade taco seasoning instead of buying a packet

Some may argue that cooking from scratch would include making every single thing you consume from scratch like pasta and jam. For now, I will stick to upgrades like whole grain pasta and all natural strawberry preserves with no high fructose corn syrup.

Keep in mind, my time is valuable so there are certain convenience food items that are not worth my time to make from scratch that I would much rather buy at the grocery store instead. At the end of the day, it’s about what works for you.

Remember, this is about simple revisions, or easy changes to make ones life easier, better, more fulfilling, not more difficult!

Cooking From Scratch – A New Series 

Each week, I will create a made from scratch version of common house hold foods that our family enjoys. I will compare the following factors to determine if each cooking from scratch creation meets the following criteria:

  • taste and quality
  • level of difficulty
  • cost breakdown
  • time and effort

Keep in mind, I am always looking for ways to save money but it has to be worth my time and effort. So, are you ready to get started? Check back weekly for new posts under the Cooking From Scratch section of the blog.

If you have tried any of these tasty and delicious recipes out, please comment at the bottom of that particular post. I would love to know your thoughts on how it turned out, any suggestions you may have, any tweaks you made to the recipe and so on.