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Snack Attack

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Those impulse buys when you need a snack could cost you hundreds of dollars per year! Learn how to save major bucks with just a few changes.

kids eating candy

Recession Mama Michele Ashamalla: My kids do a lot of ice skating and spend at least a few hours a week at our local rink. (This, course, makes sense because we live in Southern California. My nieces and nephews live in Michigan and are champion swimmers. Go figure). My husband is usually the one that takes them, and they always come home with a treat -- something small like cookies or a Gatorade from the snack machine, sometimes a candy bar. I took them last week and between the four of, ended up spending $7.00 on not much.

I always keep snacks in the car, but they are the kind of emergency snacks that will make it through nuclear war, like raisins, fruit leather and peanut butter crackers. When I pack snacks to go, it's more of the healthy string cheese or apple slices variety. My kids are great eaters and have a well-balanced diet. I'm not averse to the occasional treat, so I decided I needed to step it up a notch. I bought some eight-packs of Gatorade at Smart and Final for $4.00 and something that I've never, ever bought -- a 30-pack of full-size candy bars. FULL. SIZE. CANDY. BARS. My children thought I had been replaced by a cyborg.

I found that the allure is the treat itself, not where it comes from. Now, once a week, I pack them each a Gatorade and either some cookies (good ones like Oreos or Girl Scout cookies -- not the fiber-filled cardboard I keep around for myself) or the occasional candy bar. Just to give you an idea of the savings, I worked this out with my 10-year-old, who couldn't believe it. I bought the Gatorade for 50 cents each and they sell for $2.50 at the rink. They take four a week with them (I send one for my husband, too). That's $8.00 a week saved, over $32.00 a month and over $400 a year. Just on the Gatorade! If I save just another $1.00 on each snack, that's another $200, on just a once a week treat.

next: Olympic-Size Family Traditions
2 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous February 20, 2010, 12:58 PM

I always took my own snacks and sodas when I worked. Sodas cost .60 from the maching. I could usually get two or more for that at the grocery store.

momofthree928 February 24, 2010, 9:21 PM

I know how much fun it is to buy from the machines, but wow, the difference in price is amazing. It’s great that your family is “buying” in to the new approach. We always bring food on outings and car trips as much as possible because we found the price of buying on the road was very high.

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