Five Ways to Save...
Avoid the Snack Tax!
by Stephanie Nelson
1. After school. A snack after school is a sacred rite for many families. Resist the urge to let your kids fill up on pricey nibbles because it is convenient. Keep a bowl of washed fruit available. Slice carrots or celery and keep them in the fridge with homemade low-fat dressing or dip. Stock the pantry with pretzels, popcorn, crackers or rice cakes that you buy on sale or with coupons.
2. Read the fine print. A bag of traditional tortilla chips can weigh twice as much as ones that are “scoop” shaped. At first glance, the bags seem about the same size. Look for this in the cracker aisle too. Cracker shapes of the same brand vary and the ounces inside the box may too. Read the detailed information to make sure you don’t get “scooped.”
3. Homemade. If you are a room parent, you know how those baked goods can add up. We are all busy, so bake strategically as you shop. Make bar cookies by pressing dough into a pan instead of rolling out individual balls and shave valuable time. Learning to make banana bread gives you a plan for that too ripe fruit. Homemade tortilla, pita, and bagel chips have more protein and fiber than the packaged varieties while costing as little as 5 cents per ounce.
4. Avoid the“100 calorie” pack racket. It takes less than 5 minutes to split a bag of pretzels into 100-calorie serving sizes of about 21 per bag. At a savings of $2.50 for those 5 minutes of effort, I “earn” $30 an hour by doing it myself. The next time you are tempted to add a box of “100 calorie” snacks to your cart, ask yourself if you can afford to pay someone $62,400/year to count out pretzels for you.
5. Try Generic. Chances are, your kids won’t turn down a cookie just because the box lacks a brand name. I think it’s silly not to at least consider trading down to the store –brand variety every once in awhile. By purchasing generic Nilla Wafers, I’ve saved a little more than 25 cents per serving. Buying the name brand would be sort of like throwing away a quarter each time we ate a serving of cookies. Are you ok with that? I’m not.
Stephanie Nelson is the Coupon Mom. Her web site, www.couponmom.com , has 6 million members, and she is established as the nation’s top expert in couponing across the country. Stephanie has been on every major national television talk show and taught millions how to save money for the past 11 years. She has been called ‘”the rock star of the recession” by the Washington Post and her book, The Coupon Mom’s Guide to Cutting Your Grocery Bills in Half, is a New York Times best seller.