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You don't make enough money to eat convenience foods (on a regular basis)

Discussion in 'Non-Vegas Chat' started by DaiLun, Jan 14, 2021.

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  1. Basil

    Basil VIP Whale

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    If you're making 1? About $10. This is part of the issue. Sure, if you are making everything "in bulk" and using up all of the servings from the item you're buying, then it's more economical. But if you're talking about making a single serving (in this case, 1 burger), then you have to account for the cost of waste as well. For a fair comparison, let's assume a burger with a slice of American cheese, a slice of tomato, slice of onion, piece of lettuce, on a bun.

    Ground Beef- $3.99/lb, 1lb package (the smallest I can find) : $4
    Onion $1
    Tomato: $1
    Bun, 8 pack for $2: $2
    Head of Iceberg Lettuce: $2
    American cheese- 16 slices for $3: $3 (I'm cheating on this one, as this is the sale price... its usually $4.50 for 16).

    So in the end, for a basic burger, the cost to purchase the ingredients is $13. If you're in a situation to make just one serving, then your cost is still $13 (with bunch of waste) at home vs. $10 at the restaurant.

    That said, I can also make 4 servings for $13 (assume 1/4 lb patty) vs. $40 at the restaurant. Or 8 for $17 vs. $80.

    Making something like what @DaiLun described, you can make ahead a bunch of them with very little waste. Something like a burger becomes more of a challenge, unless you can figure out a way to make a bunch of servings.

    This is something that has always driven me nuts. I'd love to open up a market for singles. I could sell single servings, especially of perishable items, and even at a ridiculous upcharge of like 50 or 100%, it'd still be cheaper for the single consumer.
     
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  2. eliza

    eliza VIP Whale

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    Great experiment @DaiLun - I hope your son gets it. I work with a girl who is super-nice, but always has cash flow issues. She's never asked for my advice, so I keep my mouth shut - but I think the two daily Starbucks fancy drinks, breakfast and lunch out every day, and at least twice weekly shopping excursions on her lunch hour may be contributing factors. She is very smart in many other ways, but can't seem to make the connection that a lot of relatively small things add up to a huge amount over time.

    I read "Your Money or Your Life" in my early twenties and it absolutely, 100% changed my life. I had tons of student loan debt and credit card debt. And I spent money like it was going out of style. I always paid my bills first - but the rest of my money was gone as soon as I got it. It's not like no one had ever told me to save money before, but something about the way Your Money or Your Life presented it really got it through to me. Between Your Money or Your Life and Money Mustache's Shockingly Simple Math Behind Early Retirement, I ended up on a whole new life plan.
     
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  3. pressitagain

    pressitagain VIP Whale

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    I’ve been dealing with early 20s kids over the past 6 years. They are definitely different.

    I hope your son lets it sink in...
     
  4. hammie

    hammie VIP Whale

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    Blue Apron will deliver it to your front door, but I think they do two portions.

    As for leftover fresh ground beef, I still have Mom's Tupperwear Burger Keeper. Probably circa 1975.

    43c4bf27-a35b-4de6-b63b-7dc7b64847d0_1.7d2db375dca475802edd6034f7b17809.jpeg
     
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  5. Bubblehead

    Bubblehead Low-Roller

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    You and my Frugal Finn wife would get along great. :)
     
  6. Raven888

    Raven888 High-Roller

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    This blew my mind the first time I read it, not long after he wrote it. Instantly changed how I think about money and set me on a path to retirement (not necessarily early, but at least in general).
     
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  7. 44inarow

    44inarow VIP Whale

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    Breakfast, much like burgers, is one of those things I can't justify going out of my way for unless I'm running late and need to grab something on the way. Some things I just have never been able to master at home, like Pad Thai or sushi, or the ingredients cost more than it would be to just order in, like certain types of Mexican food, but breakfast is pretty hard to screw up, is fast to prepare, and all the ingredients are cheap.
     
  8. LolaDoggie

    LolaDoggie VIP Whale

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    I'm on my own now, so I walk the line between convenience and what...inconvenient? We never really ate out before and I made most things from scratch or close to scratch. Only real change for me is portions. Having said that, there's a big change in what I'm cooking. I no longer have to feed a picky eater. So, I'm finding out what kinds of things I like to eat. Working at home has advantages of course. I got rid of a lot of my big cookware and stuff. I still have a crockpot but it's my small one. I have a multi cooker which is does rice and things, also has a slow cooker feature. It's handy. I bought myself a 1 square foot freezer that fits in the storage closet on a shelf. Perfect. The fridge in here is kinda small. I got a non stick mini wok, a mini nonstick pan, a pre seasoned mini cast iron pan. Toaster oven. I use one burner on the stove and the toaster oven. Pretty tame over here. But, yeah the freezer and fridge are in good shape with healthy foods. The only convenience items I buy are mashed potatoes because I love them. One package is 4 meals for me. I don't have to keep any potatoes hanging around to rot and I don't have to mash them myself. Heavenly. Oh and pre cooked bacon. A delight. Everything else I am making myself as usual. I did go through a phase of driver through and delivery during the first few months of the split. I'm over that now. Finding new recipes all the time. No complaints.
     
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  9. Basil

    Basil VIP Whale

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    That's only for their recipes and menus (2 or 4 portions), so unless they have a burger on the menu, and you thought ahead to order, not happening. That said, I liked the idea, so we tried one of them (Hello Fresh), but had a terrible experience with delayed deliveries, missing ingredients, and quality control issues, so not trying that again.

    And in the example above, you can freeze the ground beef, so agreed that might not always be waste. And the cheese will last. I guess you can freeze the buns as well. but my point is that to make a single cheeseburger with some basic ingredients is coming pretty close to the $10 price point.
     
  10. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    Something being an extravagance or a waste (time or money) is such an individual thing.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2021
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  11. nancyf

    nancyf VIP Whale

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    oh wow--- I just tried the just crack an egg and loved the convenience of it...sure, I could make it from scratch but for a once in a while thing I liked it. the taste was good and I only had to wash a fork!
     
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  12. 3OfDiamonds

    3OfDiamonds Vegas is Fabulous When You Degen Responsibly ;)

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    If it weren’t for the convenience items and occasional niceties we buy, this household would be burnt out on both ends... we both have demanding jobs and health issues so we “invest” in things that help us along, in being both able and *wanting* to continue :) We also are selective and careful about the big-ticket items (house, car, etc) so meals out and high grocery bills are readily absorbed :thumbsup::feedme:
     
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  13. DaiLun

    DaiLun R.C., L.C., and A.A.N.G.

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    Occasional is fine. I just want my son to understand the "price" of convenience and the "value" in putting in elbow grease to save on labor costs. I think that he doesn't like "clean up" in the kitchen. I have a really "bad" habit (but it works for me.

    I cook all day, and clean once. All the dishes are done before I go to bed, but if you don't like to look at a mess, don't go into the kitchen from 9AM until 7PM. I have enough utensils and cooking implements to last for three meals (more if I had room to put the dirty ones). My ex-wife used to hate this habit of mine, but it worked for me.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2021
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  14. 44inarow

    44inarow VIP Whale

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    Agreed. Part of it is also a quality thing. I, perhaps arrogantly, think that the seasoned turkey burgers or meatballs that I make at home are better than anything I'll get at a restaurant. By contrast, if you asked me to make an egg roll or pad thai, you'd be massively disappointed. And then there are some things that are sort of similar, but I can make at home with minimal effort (like knock-off Chick-Fil-A sandwiches or Momofuku-style pork belly). Plus things that I can never find a decent version of and so just make myself, like lu rou fan.
     
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  15. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    And "quality" is as variable person to person. I once posted how much we paid for a Thanksgiving turkey and was told more than once I'm an idiot. We won't buy Select beef but there is nothing fundamentally wrong with it. I don't ride a $10,000 bike but it didn't come from Walmart, either. We go to Vegas with a relative pittance when it comes to grubstake, yet don't balk at several-hundred-dollar dinners. We like Habit or In-N-Out at times. We make a killer burger at home.

    Really, it's the quality/value thing.
     
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  16. 44inarow

    44inarow VIP Whale

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    Very fair, "quality" was imprecise on my part. I mostly meant, "what you like better". I personally think the Javier's quesadillas are fine at best and incredibly over-priced; I'd prefer the Taco Bell ones almost any day, because even though Javier's might be higher "quality", they're also 10x more expensive, and I think there's an upper limit on how good a tortilla with melted cheese can be. The ones I make at home are fine. I personally have a soft spot for Burger King chicken sandwiches. And hell, I have friends (one Filipina, one Korean, one Hawai'ian, one Jamaican) who consider Spam an absolute delicacy, whereas the mere mention of the word made my ex nauseous (as an aside, I have a great recipe for sriracha Spam fried rice).

    I'd also add convenience to the calculus. When I lived in New York, there were certainly better turkey sandwiches than the ones the bodega downstairs made, but it was a 30-second elevator ride versus trekking across town. The improvement in the food was not worth the extra time.

    There are also some foods where "low quality" is a feature, not a bug. One of the few things I miss about living here is the lack of cheap Chinese delivery. Blossom and Red Plate are excellent, for sure, but sometimes you just want hole-in-the-wall chicken/broccoli.

    Bottom line, I absolutely never judge people for what they eat, but I do try to help out with suggestions when I can.
     
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  17. SMG

    SMG VIP Whale

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    I'm single, but I do a lot of my own cooking at home and it does help to reduce my expenses vs. eating out and/or buying convenience foods everyday. You also have control of the quality of ingredients and seasonings that goes into your dishes too. Although since the pandemic started, grocery prices have skyrocketed too, so I'm probably not saving as much as before the pandemic.

    Also, the ingredients that are used in some recipes can be quite expensive and not practical making it just for a single person, not to mention that some recipes are too complex to make at home if you don't have the right equipment. So for those types of dishes, I prefer to dine out or order take-outs. For those time that I get lazy and/or don't have time to cook, I do keep some frozen dinners in the freezer. :D
     
  18. LB9

    LB9 PH Blackjack Degen

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    The premise of this makes sense, however, I find it amusing how we're talking about saving a dollar or two via home preparation of meals when the reality is a lot of folks here have no problem blowing 5 grand in southern Nevada on a weekend bender lol. I suppose it's tantamount to the Spirit airlines customer excited about an $100 round trip flight, while concomitantly being fine with losing $3,500 at slots during a weekend but finding it to be a "good value" due to some dubious comps rationale lol.

    I'm not judging, but this is more of an observation of the wide juxtaposition between frugality at home, and blowing the amount of money a lot of people do gambling on a frequent basis. I'm a gambler so I totally get the gambling part, but I suppose I'm less inclined to grocery shop and prepare foods as opposed to grabbing something convenient when I barely have 5 mins to breathe during the workday. Again, definitely a sensible move to advocate not spending more than you need to on certain things, I completely get that, but the disparity between that frugality on one end and then excess on the other via gambling is interesting. I suppose it also boils down to a question of what's your time worth, which naturally varies amongst different people.

    Again, before I get crucified, just making an observation lol.
     
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  19. pirviii

    pirviii Low-Roller

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    I never said I was making one burger, just that I think about the price, and your costs are higher then what I pay and my wife hates onions and tomatoes. Most times we buy the pre-frozen patties in a bag at about $1 each and can grill however many I need in about 20 minutes. Buns are the only item we don't regularly have on hand so it's often a quick meal. Sometimes I'll grill up extras to microwave for an even quicker meal.
     
  20. BTSyndrome

    BTSyndrome Low-Roller

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    To "me" this thread is funny.... To explain it simply for how I think, food is like air & water. It is strictly to sustain life. I have been known to eat the same "Cambells chunky soup - (pot roast flavor) every single day for lunch for a year! (Un-heated, that's why that put the pull tabs on the lids, so you can eat it straight from the can @ room temperature ) The wife makes fun of when we met, I would eat a can of cream of mushroom soup with 6 or 7 slides of bread. She said I ate like I was in prison. Lol
    I am more or less an anti-foodie.
     
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