One of my secret weapons for saving money is to skip the convenience items in favor of making my own.
If you can buy it in a box or a bag or it's encased in plastic, you can probably make it yourself way cheaper. And it's bound to be healthier, fresher and involve less packaging.
Today's DIY re-make is for Uncrustables, those popular premade peanut butter and jelly sandwiches sans crust. (For the unfamiliar, they're located in the frozen food section and made by Smucker's.) The regular price for a box of 10 is an unbelievable $7.50.
My daughter and I make our own.
The cost breakdown:
$1 for a loaf of Nature's Own Bread at the Dollar Tree
Free peanut butter purchased on sale with a coupon
Pennies for jam purchased on sale with a coupon
As a bonus, we turn the leftover scraps of bread and crusts to make a batch of homemade croutons. Cost: Less than 50 cents for margarine or butter and seasonings.
I got the inspiration for this from MoneySavingMom.com, who was inspired by another frugal-minded blogger.
Here's my recipe, which is really more a set of assembly line instructions:
1. Using a circle cookie cutter, a glass or this Pampered Chef tool, cut 20 circles out of the centers of 20 slices of bread. Set aside scraps.
2. Spread peanut butter on all 20 circles, spreading just shy of the outer edge.
3. Add a small dollop of jam or jelly to 10 of the bread circles, then top with the remaining 10 bread circles.
4. Use the tines of a fork to seal each of the 10 sandwiches. The Pampered Chef tool does this almost instantly but the fork tines work just fine so I wouldn't rush out to buy the tool.
5.Wrap individually, then store in the freezer. (I wrap ours in wax paper, then put all 10 in a reusable freezer bag. My daughter takes one out in the mornings when she packs her lunch.)
Now on to the croutons:
6. Cut bread scraps into cubes. Melt 4 tablespoons butter or margarine, add 1 Tsp. garlic powder and a few shakes of Italian seasoning.
7. Put bread cubes in empty bread bag, pour melted butter mixture over cubes, close bag and shake.
8. Spread cubes on cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until lightly brown.
9. Store in an air-tight container. Makes several cups.
DIY re-makes appear on an occasional basis on Centsible Saver. I'll be sharing my recipes for DIY re-makes of common packaged foods and other household items.
If you have a DIY recipe you'd like to share, please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.