In today's modern age, where life can be hectic and fast-paced, it seems natural to purchase items at a super market or big box store to save time. With many food items being mass produced, it may seem like purchasing these items from a store is more cost-effective than producing them ourselves, but this does not apply to every item in your grocery cart. There are many items that cost less to produce than it would to buy it directly from your local grocer. Here is a look at five items on your shopping list that cost more to buy than produce at home.
One of the most affordable pantry staples that you can make at home is freshly made bread. According to the United States Department of Labor, the cost of a pound of white bread in the U.S. in 2012 is roughly $1.94. Meanwhile, you bake fresh bread for less than a dollar, and you don't even need a bread maker. Just find a baking pan, some yeast flour and other basic kitchen staples. After a couple hours you have fresh bread without a lot of effort.
Another pantry item that is cheaper to produce at home than purchase at the store are herbs such as basil, rosemary and oregano. At the grocery store, a package of basil typically costs between $5 to $10, while a half ounce of fresh rosemary and oregano typically sells for $2 per half ounce container. Growing these herbs at home will help save you considerable money if you use herbs frequently in your cooking. Seeds packets with a quantity of 100 seeds can be purchased for as little as $2 and can provide herbs for a considerable amount of time.
If you are lucky enough to have fruit-bearing trees on your property, take full advantage. While a pound of apples retails for $1.50 or more in the grocery store, a fruit bearing tree can cost as little as nothing, if you live on a property where there was already fruit-bearing trees. If you wanted to add your own apple or peach trees to your property, you would easily recoup your investment money within just one harvest.
Another item that is cheaper to produce than purchase at the market is lettuce. The average cost per head of lettuce at the grocery store is $1.75. Meanwhile, you could grow your own lettuce with a $2 package of seeds, and enjoy lettuce for months. When you compare the long-term cost of $2 against the weekly cost of a head of lettuce at $1.75, it makes sense to grow your own.
Bell peppers are another produce item that is much cheaper to grow than to purchase at the store. Bell peppers cost on average $1.50 each at the grocery store. Alternatively, you could purchase a bell pepper starter kit for $1 at a local nursery and in a couple of weeks you will have your own supply of bell peppers. Compare the cost of several bell peppers versus what you will receive from your pepper kit and it makes sense financially to take the old-fashioned route and grow your own.
The Bottom Line
While buying your produce and baked goods from the grocery store may save you time, it is not always the most cost-effective route to go. Fruit and vegetable seeds are not expensive, and bread can easily be crafted from pantry staples most people have on hand at home. Rather than continuing to spend more than is necessary at the supermarket, producing your own food at home may be the more budget-friendly option.