Breakfast: The Hidden Destroyer
Of your grocery budget, that is. Reflecting on how we got ourselves to an 82% savings rate, we realized that our grocery budget played a starring role in the reductions. And one of the largest culprits on our shopping list: breakfast. We were buying three different types of breakfasts to enjoy throughout the week. THREE! Insanity, I tell you! I wrote about how we frugalized our entire grocery budget, but I wanted to focus on breakfast because a) I love it, and b) we were extravagantly overspending on the first meal of the day.
We were munching on:
- Yogurt with granola: $8 for yogurt, $2.45 for box of granola
- Granola bars (a packaged food! now mostly shunned in our home): $2.49 per box
- Cereal with milk (another package!): $3.99 for 1/2 gal. milk, $3.50 for box of cereal
TOTAL: approx $20.43. Per week!
Oh the horror! And here we thought we were doing a good, frugal job by preparing our own breakfasts! And that is why breakfast was our hidden grocery budget destroyer.
When we took our Uber Frugal Month challenge, we realized that food was by far our largest non-mortgage expense, and it still is, but we’ve managed to chop it down to $140-$160 per month. And this is ALL the food we consume: breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, desserts, and drinks for the two Frugalwoods adults every day. We don’t eat any meals out.
But back to breakfasts. We sat down to brainstorm the cheapest possible breakfast food, other than water, and Frugal Hound came up with: OATS! Yep, good ol’ oats. They’re raw, they’re ready, they’re filling, and they’re dang healthy.
We discovered that oats are purchase-able in bulk from Costco at $7.89 for a 10 lb box (pictured above w/a greyhound). Just add water, heat, and eat! We each consume 60 grams per day, so the 10 lb box yields 75.5 servings, which lasts us 37.75 days (2 people each eating 60 grams of oats every morning).
Ready for more math?
Oats are 10 cents a serving.
Ever so slightly more if one adds cinnamon or some fruit. Did you hear that folks? 10 cents. For a healthy, filling, tasty meal.
That’s $1.40 for the two of us for the entire week versus our flagrantly lavish $20 or so per week in the past! In a given month, this means we’re now saving $76.12 just by banishing our luxurious breakfasts. Ya’ll, that is $913.44 per year saved. I rest my case.
With a breakfast this cheap, we can afford to make fancier lunches and dinners. It frees up a significant portion of our food budget to enable our weekend date night dinners and the large quantities of produce we consume. Our overall grocery spending in down, but it’s breakfasts that are way–we’re talking WAY–down.
Other reasons why oats are amazing:
- Mr. FW: disaster preparedness. Oats keep forever and won’t spoil. They’re compact and don’t take up much storage space.
- Mrs. FW: oats are quick and easy to cook. You can make them on the stovetop, in the microwave, or with boiling water from an electric kettle.
- Mr. & Mrs. collaboration: you could stuff oats into a discarded sock and make a pillow for a hamster.
- Mr. FW: they’re a blank canvas for aging fruit. You can throw nearly-dead fruit into your oats and it tastes just fine!
- Frugal Hound: I can play circus horse on the box!
Optimize your breakfasts. Make them so cheap they’re basically free. Only thing cheaper would be if your breakfast paid you to eat it (let me know if you figure out how to do that, pls).
What do you spend on your breakfasts?
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