Wednesday, March 12, 2008

How do I cost breakdown meals?

Jennifer left a great comment on my last blog...

Jennifer said...I really like the way you break down the total cost per
meal!! How do you figure it out? I would really love to know!!
Well, I have a few strategies....

First, I look at the amount of contents in the bag. This bag of cheese contains 2 cups of cheese. I paid $1.50 for the bag, so each cup cost .75 cents. I write this amount right on the bag, since I usually cook in 1 cup increments.

By writing it on the bag, later calculations are a breeze. I also makes me visually aware of the cost of the food that I prepare. As a result, I am more hesitant to run through the drive through, if I know that I can make myself the same chicken sandwich for .58 cents!

I do the same with the 25 lb bag of flour I buy.
The Nutrition label states that there are 386 servings of 1/4 cup each. A little calculation ( 386 divided by 4) tells me that the 25 lb bag has 96 1/2 cups in the entire bag. I paid 7.59 for the bag, so that makes each cup almost 8 cents. Then I write that amount on the flour bag... (Because the original bag is so large, I split it into zip top bags and use one bag per month for several months, this helps our family stay on budget when shopping at warehouse store)

Other items I price by actual number of items, for example, I bought a 10 lb bag of chic
ken for 23.29. Instead of pricing this by the pound, I count how many pieces are in the bag, and price it per breast. This bag
had 40, 23.29 divided by 40= .58 cents each. Pricing it this way is so much easier when I am trying to plan out the cost of dinner.
Now, things like sour cream, I price in 2 Tbsp
servings. I buy little cups at smart
& final that are 2 tbsp each. I can buy 250 cups for a little over 2 dollars. This makes measuring so much easier. It is worth the cost to get the cups.


Jennifer said...

Thanks Crystal for the breakdown!! I am definately gonna give it a try. How would you divide the cost of cereal then? by cup?

Crystal DuBois said...

Yup! I keep a 1 cup measuring cup right in the box. (sometimes the serving size is listed as 3/4 cups, so be careful with the math if you choose to serve 1 cuo instead. )

The milk too! (note, most childrens size cups are portioned at 1 cup already. Makes measuring milk a lot easier.

Although, lately I have gotten the cereal for free...which is my FAVORITE price!

J said...

Where do you buy the chicken in the 10 lb bag? Love your blog!

Crystal DuBois said...

Thanks for checking out my blog!

I get the chicken at Costco.