Stop Wasting Money on Packaged Snacks

If you’ve been to the grocery store lately, you probably noticed lots of packaged snacks in almost every aisle – meats and crackers in the deli, fruits and veggies in the produce section, and cheese and nuts in the dairy aisle.  Grabbing these packaged snacks is so easy.  They’re so convenient, healthy, and perfectly portioned.  Why not buy them all?  Because they are a waste of money!  I will show you how to make your own healthy, packaged snacks for less money.

 

The grocery store aisles are filled with packaged snacks. Stop wasting money on them, and start making them yourself.

 

Stop Wasting Money on Packaged Snacks

Have you looked at the price tags on those packaged snacks?   They range from $1.50 to $4.25 each.  Most of us want a snack each day, so that adds up to $10.50 to $29.75 a week!  I wanted to see how much money I could save by making my own packaged snacks.

 

Containers

The first thing I needed was somewhere to put my snacks.  I really wanted to find containers with sections, like the packaged snack containers at the grocery store.  I went to the Dollar Tree in search of some cheap containers.  Unfortunately, all the ones with sections were too big.  They would not have been good for portion control.  I ended up buying a pack of 12 little containers.

 

Use these containers from the Dollar Tree to store your packaged snacks.

Research

For the purpose of research, I purchased two packaged snacks at the grocery store.  I had a coupon for each one, and they were on sale, so I didn’t pay full price for either of them.  The first was the Sargento Balanced Breaks with sharp cheddar cheese, sea-salted cashews, and cherry juice-infused dried cranberries.  The other was a PRO2snax pack with sweet Gala apples, mild cheddar cheese, and pretzels.  I decided to try to recreate them at home.

Sargento Balanced Breaks are one packaged snack you can make at home for less money.     Pro2snax are one packaged snack you can make at home for less money.

 

Ingredients

I had a few of the ingredients at home already.  A few weeks ago, I bought a bag of pretzels for $1.50 when they were on sale.  I also had cashews that were on sale for $1.00.  Since I was trying to save money by recreating these snacks, I decided to substitute raisins for the dried cranberries.  My kids actually prefer raisins over cranberries, and I had an 8-pack of little boxes of raisins in the cabinet.  I got them for 86 cents at a discount grocery store nearby.

On my grocery trip this week, I bought the apples and cheese.  Gala apples were on sale for $1.49 a pound.  Cracker Barrel cheese was on special for $1.88.  Now, I had all the ingredients I needed.

 

Collect all the ingredients you need to make your own packaged snacks.

 

Preparation

Now it was time to make my packaged snacks.  I opened the ones I bought to see how much of each ingredient was inside.  I was a little surprised by how small the portions were.  The Pro2snax pack had only 5 pieces of cheese.  The Sargento pack had more cheese, but it was cut into smaller pieces.  I sliced my cheese into small pieces and tried to keep the serving size about the same.

The only problem I ran into was the size of the apple slices.  They were too big for my little containers.  I had to cut them into smaller pieces.  I also made my kids eat the apples right away, so they didn’t turn brown.  Soaking them in lemon juice would have solved that problem.  However, it was already snack time.

Once the cheese and apples were cut, I just had to put the ingredients into my little containers.  I mixed the cashews with the raisins, just like the Sargento Balanced Breaks.  The pretzels went into containers by themselves.  In under 10 minutes, my packaged snacks were ready to go.

 

My homemade packaged snacks have cheese, cashews, and cranberries.     My homemade packaged snacks have pretzels, cheese, and apples.

 

The Results

These snacks were really easy to make, and it took less than 10 minutes to have them ready (and that includes taking pictures).  Miss M loves the little containers!  She had apples and cheese for snack.  This morning, I tried to give her cereal in a bowl for breakfast, and she insisted on having it in one of the little containers.  Luckily, she eats her cereal dry.

At first, I was disappointed I couldn’t find sectioned containers at the Dollar Tree.  However, it actually turned out to be a good thing.  J loves that he can choose what he wants for snack.  He picked a container of cashews and raisins and a container of apples for his snack.

I also love that the containers are reuseable.  The packaged snacks at the grocery store create so much waste.  All the plastic just gets thrown away or recycled.  When you make your own, you can use the containers week after week.

Finally, let’s figure out just how much money you’re wasting by buying these packaged snacks at the grocery store.  I spent only $7.73 for the containers and ingredients.  I also have enough of everything left over to make snacks for at least the next two weeks.  If I bought packaged snacks at the grocery store for three weeks, I would spend at least $30.

I was also able to find all of items on sale.   You can, too, if you use my tips for shopping at the grocery store.   Making these snacks yourself can save you lots of money!

 

These homemade packaged snacks are perfect to grab and go.

Final Thoughts

I need to get back to the Dollar Tree soon to buy more of those little containers.  Both of my kids want their snacks in them now, and I only have 12 of them.  That’s only enough for 3 days if each of them choose 2 containers for snack each day.  I would like to be able to make all of our snacks over the weekend when I’m making our meals.

I’m also looking forward to trying different snacks in my little containers.  The possibilities are endless!  I created a list of 50 snack ideas to hang on my refrigerator, so I always have something to put in my little containers.  You can download my list of snacks below.

I hope you start saving lots of money by making your own packaged snacks!

What other snacks would you include in yours?

Snack Ideas

Get a list of 50 snack ideas for making your own packaged snacks!

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18 thoughts on “Stop Wasting Money on Packaged Snacks

  1. Awesome idea Tara! Grocery store prices & paying for convenience is always more. I like your philosophy. And I’m applauding you for teaching your kids to eat healthy snacks rather than potato chips & candy, which are also expensive (which I also love…LOL)

    1. [email protected] says:

      Thank you, Florence! We’re working hard to eat healthier. My daughter still looks forward to a piece of candy for dessert, though.

    1. [email protected] says:

      Thanks, Michelle! Controlling the portions is definitely helpful. The kids don’t eat too much at snack time, and they are able to eat more at dinner.

    1. [email protected] says:

      The packaged snacks have some interesting combinations. They definitely gave me some ideas that were different from our normal snack options. They even have some with hard boiled eggs now!

  2. I do this all the time! It makes it easier if you’re able to buy items in bulk too. Great reminder on how to budget and DIY.

    1. [email protected] says:

      I need to buy in bulk more often. That’s another great way to save money. Then, I’d be able to make snacks for the whole month!

  3. My kids became obsessed with Lunchables and ask for them all the time. I hate buying them because I know they’re a waste of money… So I bought crackers, cut up ham and cheese, and some grapes (and even throw a Hershey kiss in there from time to time) and placed it all on divided food trays. Bam. Kids are happy, Mom is happy and we save our money. I love your ideas. I’m definitely going to make them ahead next time!! (great for summer snacks, too!)

    1. [email protected] says:

      Making your own Lunchables is a great idea! I’ve never bought them for my kids, but I’m sure they would love that.

    1. [email protected] says:

      That’s my favorite combination – healthy and inexpensive!

    1. [email protected] says:

      I know! My daughter still requests to have all of her snacks in the “baby cups”.

    1. [email protected] says:

      Thanks, Carlee! We’ve already saved so much money this way.

    1. [email protected] says:

      The packaged snacks get so expensive! Making my own was much easier than I thought it would be. Plus, the kids love being able to just grab them and go.

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