Salt Lake Tribute reporter Katie Drake, recently published her seven day attempt to go without convenience food. While it’s true that sometimes you can make dinners for your family from scratch at a cheaper price than if you’d made your meals in advance at a meal assembly store like Dream Dinners, and it’s certainly true that it’s cheaper than eating out, the question is actually- is the money saved worth it? Ms. Drake found that she was saving about $5 a day (or $1800/year) but that having to a plan and cook meals from scratch actually had an impact on her family time.
Alex goes to a co-worker’s farewell lunch, and ends up working late, delaying dinner. Some of my favorite Dream Dinners are chicken breasts with various pan sauces, which usually cost about $15 for three servings. I decide to make something similar for about $11. Though it takes only about 40 minutes to make dinner, we don’t eat until around 8:30, just in time to put Caroline to bed at 9….
So now, the big question — did we save any money? Yes, about $5 a day, which translates to more than $1,800 a year — but I don’t know if it’s worth it. Much of my “together time” with Caroline during the week was spent with her watching me cook. I missed out on a lot of snuggling and reading stories. Our family also ate a lot later than normal, because cooking from scratch took more time. And don’t even get me started on the pineapple.
So, although I felt a great sense of accomplishment by cooking more and spending less, I wonder whether it’s worth paying extra for convenience, especially if it means spending more time with family?
To read the full chronicle of Katie Drake’s sans-convenience food week, visit sltrib.com.