Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Snack Foods & Popcorn

When I was growing up we used to sit in font of the TV in the evenings and many times my Mom would pop a bowl of popcorn for us to enjoy while we watched our favorite television program, which back in the 1970s would have been the Walton's or Little House on the Prairie. 

Back then all you needed to make popcorn was a pan with a lid, some oil and a stove top. Those were the days before microwave popcorn was invented.  Sometimes we even used to take a brown paper bag and turn the edges down and put the popcorn in there to snack from. I can also remember doing that when I was first married in 1989.

Nowadays, s
nack foods are one of those items that can make or break a budget. When I was at Sam’s Club last week I noticed that Frito Lay products were two bags for $5.98 for 15 & 1/2 ounces (31 oz.) of chips.

I purchase white popcorn kernels in the two pound bag from IGA for $1.89, which has 27 – ¼ cup servings at 7¢ each. Three tablespoons of vegetable or corn oil from a 48 ounce bottle costing $2.50 will cost me 9¢.

Now, when I make popcorn, I like to use ½ cup of kernels and let the popping corn push the lid off the pan while it is popping, which is free frugal entertainment for the kids. So, my ½ cup of popcorn costs me 14¢ each. 

Let’s do some figuring in this. Let’s say you have snacks in your home at least one or two nights a week. You may go through two bowls of popcorn or two bags of chips in a week. You may be thinking two bags of chips would last longer than one or two nights of snacking, but have you seen teenagers eat? LOL. :)

Now, let’s do the math.

14¢ x 2 =28¢ (popcorn) + 9¢ x 2 (oil) = 18¢ = 46¢

46¢ per week for 52 weeks equals $23.92

2 bags of chips=$5.98

$5.98 per week for 52 weeks equals $310.96

$23.92 verses $310.96

Difference $287.04

Serving two bowls of popcorn instead of two bags of chips twice a week will save you $287.04 per year. That is a savings of almost $300 a year just by switching from chips to popcorn as a snack food. And that is only one thing that we can change. Imagine if we applied this to several things in our lives or even everything? Remember Amy Dacyczyn always said it was the little things that add up. :)
© Belinda Richardson and Frugal Workshop, 2012.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”


  1. Yes! I love popcorn--it's actually my favorite snack food--and I buy kernels and pop them on the stove. (I don't like the bags of microwave popcorn you can buy--they taste fake to me and they are expensive.)

    1. They do taste fake, Pamela. I always brush my teeth after eating microwave popcorn because I don't like the feel of it afterwards. Popcorn is one of my favorites snacks too. :)

  2. Great post, Belinda. I am right alongside you as a fan of popcorn as a snack!

  3. Popcorn is our favorite snack food, too. I pop a bunch in the afternoons, then bag up some of it for brown bag lunches, instead of chips. We like the stove top method as well. Microwave popcorn either leaves too many kernels unpopped, or it scorches.

    1. It's a good idea to pack some up for brown bag lunches, Lili. I used to make popcorn whenever my daughter's Girl Scout troop wanted her to bring snacks. I would pop up a batch and then put it in individual portions in zip lock bags. They liked it. :)

  4. We're popcorn eaters, too. I don't like the greasy feel of microwave popcorn. Funny to me how I can cook it in a pot with oil and it not be as greasy.

    Sometimes if my daughter wants something sweet we will make peanut butter popcorn. She loves that, too!

    1. That sounds really good, Shara. How do you make your peanut butter popcorn? One of my friends makes this recipe where she takes 12 cups of popcorn. Then melts one stick of butter and one cup brown sugar till just under soft ball stage. Then adds one tsp each baking soda and vanilla then dump over the popcorn and mix it up and then salts it. She says its really good, but I have not tried it yet.


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