Avoiding Vending Machines: Saving Money by Making Your Own Snacks

Snacks can take a hefty toll on your bottom line (and your bottom!).  Between vending machines, convenience stores, the tempting treats in the check-out lanes at the grocery store, and the drive-through lane at a fast food restaurant, we’re surrounded by snacks.  It’s difficult to avoid the allure of these treats, but resisting the temptation is much easier when you’re not denying yourself.  You can save a lot of money by making your own snacks.  Additionally, you have much more control over what goes into your body, as you know the ingredients in everything.  This will provide a healthier wallet and a healthier you.

A peanut butter banana oatmeal chocolate chip muffin and a corn muffin both make satisfying snacks.
A peanut butter banana oatmeal chocolate chip muffin and a corn muffin both make satisfying snacks. | Source

Muffins

Muffins are a great portable snack. They can be savory, like a corn muffin, or sweet, thus satisfying your sweet tooth. Muffins cost me 50 cents or less to make.

Ingredients for snack mix.
Ingredients for snack mix. | Source
Mix all of your ingredients together.
Mix all of your ingredients together. | Source
A bag of snack mix is a satisfying snack.
A bag of snack mix is a satisfying snack. | Source

Snack Mix

I make my own snack mix for my husband, and it’s one of his favorite snacks.  He wakes up at 5 am and eats lunch at noon, so he eats this for a mid-morning snack.  The variety of nutrients helps a relatively small amount of food satisfy mid-morning (or afternoon) hunger.  The almonds provide protein, the cereal provides fiber, and the chocolate chips provide, well, chocolate.

I use almonds (I watch for them to go on sale for less than $4/lb and stock up), Fiber One Original Cereal, chocolate chips, and another cereal, like some form of Cheerios or similar cereal.

Combine 1 pound of almonds, three handfuls of chocolate chips (I have small hands, so use your best judgment), 2/3 of a sleeve of Fiber One (the cereal comes with two bags), and enough Cheerios to balance it all out.  I don’t really measure anything—precision is not key in mixing ingredients for this “recipe”.  Mix it all together and be sure you have a good ratio of ingredients.  If you need more of something, add it.

I then put 2/3 cup servings into bags to be eaten later.

I spend about $5 on the ingredients, and each serving costs me about 33 cents.  This is a big savings over vending machine treats.

Other Options

If you don’t have time to make things yourself, you can also package your own foods for savings.  Try fruit, nuts, or some of these suggestions.

The Savings Add Up

The average vending machine treat is $1.  Making your own snacks will generally cost you 50 cents or less.  Fifty cents itself doesn’t seem like much savings, but over time, the savings add up to a lot of money.  Fifty cents a day is $2.50 each work week and $125 over the course of the average work year.  Additionally, this will also likely save you a few pounds, as well.  This just goes to show that little things can make a big difference.

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