My mother wanted to figure out how much it would cost her to make hummus, following a recipe that she had. Hummus is a cold dish made easily in a blender, by pureeing all of the following ingredients together: chickpeas, tahini (like peanut butter but made with sesame), lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, ground cumin, salt and pepper. We used the recipe, some grocery receipts for recent prices, a calculator, a digital scale for weighing ingredients, and a note pad. We wrote the ingredients in one column and the grocery store prices in the next column. We used our food cost equation and, to cut to the chase, after calculating everything, we found that it would be cheaper to buy ready-made humus in the store, than to use our recipe and make it ourselves. RECIPES CAN COST YOU A FORTUNE!
In this example, hummus was made for 43 per cent more than the cost of buying the same amount of hummus, pre-made, from the grocery store: the recipe cost approximately $7 to make and the store bought hummus cost $4. Further, the chickpeas are sold in 14 ounce cans, but the recipe called for 1 pound which is 16 ounces, thus requiring my mother to open a second can for two more ounces. In this case, opening a second can is stupid for many reasons which will become obvious to you as you receive and learn your money saving tips. Now, I’m not promoting the merits and goodness of the store bought hummus, I’m merely stating that the above recipe is a waste of time and money and at ThriftCultureNow.com we are completely focused on ways for saving money and time. A hummus of superior quality can be made for a fraction of the cost. However, to practice costing out a dish and discovering the true and exact plate cost per dish, we will use a recipe in our example below.
For accuracy, one needs current prices from the grocery store, so you will always use your most recent grocery receipts. Another very wise thing to do is to log the prices of the foods you buy in Microsoft Excel or another spread sheet. List them in logical categories: meat, poultry, fish, vegetables, grains, fruits, nuts, seeds, herbs, and spices. List the foods within the categories in alphabetical order so you can adjust the prices quickly and easily as you bring new groceries and new receipts home – spread sheets make this very, very easy even without advanced knowledge of how to use them.