Will Cheez-its Kill Your Budget?

If you saw this week’s featured post, you know that my kids were getting antsy about the lack of snacks on hand.  It had been about a month since they had seen a box of Cheez-its in the pantry. Now, don’t get me wrong, I totally get that all those crackers and cookies are not great for your health (or your budget), but also know that in the real world, we all love our snacks!

If you figure that Cheez-Its run about $2.98 for a 21 oz. box and tortilla chips about $2.00 an 11 oz. bag, an occasional indulgence probably won’t kill your budget, as long as you keep it in moderation.  Nonetheless, my sister’s words got me thinking….What ideas could I come up with for budget-friendly snacks, that were fairly convenient, acceptable to my sometimes picky teens, and were not too bad for the diet?

Here’s my top eight tasty snacks that are easy on the budget and, in most cases, not too horrible for the waistline!

  1. POPCORN.  Who doesn’t love popcorn?  We never buy the microwave kind, though.  It’s expensive and, frankly, I don’t like the aftertaste the oil they use leaves behind.  About four years ago, a good friend of mine, a fellow popcorn aficionado, surprised me with //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=tf_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=cashcrash2021-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B017EW4958&asins=B017EW4958&linkId=42643fdd0e0f2ec03c586304f5316ba9&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=false&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff” data-wplink-url-error=”true”>an Orville Redenbacher stir popcorn popper.  You can //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=tf_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=cashcrash2021-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B017EW4958&asins=B017EW4958&linkId=42643fdd0e0f2ec03c586304f5316ba9&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=false&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff” data-wplink-url-error=”true”>buy it from Amazon for under $40 – a great deal that’ll earn it’s price back after just a couple of popcorn nights without the pre-packaged microwave kernels!    If you are more healthy than we are, go for an //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=tf_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=cashcrash2021-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B00006IUWA&asins=B00006IUWA&linkId=0ebec5189292778b9ab3a078349b220d&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=false&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff” data-wplink-url-error=”true”>air popper or, if you really love the convenience of the microwave, //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=tf_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=cashcrash2021-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B019HR91W4&asins=B019HR91W4&linkId=9f6c0b4dad60ed00d7b168e987b07eec&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=false&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff” data-wplink-url-error=”true”>this popper will do the trick!   //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=tf_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=cashcrash2021-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B00819SSGK&asins=B00819SSGK&linkId=929edda311b221adb71801b7b9fae5ab&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=false&price_color=333333&title_color=0066C0&bg_color=FFFFFF” data-wplink-url-error=”true”>A jar of Orville Redenbacher Kernels that runs about ten bucks will last us months!  Yes, there are less expensive brands out there, but I’ve tried a few and have been disappointed.  This old standby, when you average it out per giant-sized bowl of popped corn, is just pennies.  You can buy the kernels on Amazon //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=tf_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=cashcrash2021-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B00819SSGK&asins=B00819SSGK&linkId=929edda311b221adb71801b7b9fae5ab&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=false&price_color=333333&title_color=0066C0&bg_color=FFFFFF” data-wplink-url-error=”true”>here.
  2. GRANOLA BARS.  Granola bars are relatively inexpensive and are just plain convenient.  You can pop a few in your bag if you are going to be on the road and want to avoid those tempting drive-thrus, or use them for the lunch bags.  I recently found a recipe to make your own – I haven’t tried it yet, but when I do, you can be sure I’ll report back!
  3. PITA CHIPS, VEGGIES, & HUMMUS.  It is super easy to cut some pita into triangles, brush them with some olive oil and crushed garlic, and bake them in the oven – see the recipe here.  Then, slice some carrots and celery sticks.  To make the hummus, dump a can of garbanzo beans, tahini, and a few other ingredients into the food processor.
  4. CHEESE STICKS.  Cheese sticks are readily available at the grocery stores and even the Club Stores like Costco and BJ’s.  At Walmart, the price for a bag of 12 sticks of cheese is $2.98, but you can find them for even less if you buy in bulk.  Healthy and easy, cheese is good to have on hand.  If you can buy these in larger quantities for less money, so much the better.
  5. MINI-CRUSTLESS QUICHES.  Shout out to my friend Julie who turned me on to this one.  These protein-packed. low carb snacks are the bomb!  Just mix eggs and milk or half and half together for the base (as if making scrambled eggs), and then, toss in whatever veggies, cheese, or meats you have on hand.  Spray a muffin tin with cooking oil and bake at 350 degrees until brown and firm.  You can find all sorts of recipes online with a quick search.
  6. MAKE YOUR OWN POTATO CHIPS. Yes, you can! A 3 lb. bag of potatoes will cost you less than $4.00.  Either slice the potatoes and fry them as in this recipe, or, for a healthier option, cut them into sticks and bake them.  Either way, they are delicious and super cheap!
  7. APPLE SLICES.   Apples are among the least expensive fruit you can buy, as long as you stay away from the pre-cut, pre-packaged ones.  Instead buy a 3 lb. bag for about $4.00 – apples last longer than most other fruits.  For extra convenience, invest a few bucks in an apple-divider //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=tf_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=cashcrash2021-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B06XCJG4K4&asins=B06XCJG4K4&linkId=e2de14c9fa46645677a1e0c9c5acd025&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=false&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff” data-wplink-url-error=”true”>like this one to make the job of slicing a breeze!
  8. TRAIL MIX.  You can easily make healthy trail mix with just four elements: nuts, seeds, dried fruit and fun stuff (like dark chocolate or popcorn).  Or, if you are short on time, you can always //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=tf_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=cashcrash2021-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B071GB5H9C&asins=B071GB5H9C&linkId=ff5a9374cdcd67cfbcea5ffdb0fde30e&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=false&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff” data-wplink-url-error=”true”>order it online.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas. You can reach me here on my blog, CashCrashBlog, Twitter: @CashCrashBlog, or Instagram: CashCrashBlog .  Follow me at CashCrashBlog.com for tips for slashing your costs and still living well!  pexels-photo-57043.jpeg

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