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extra credit: make your own trail mix.

Do you ever feel like a lot of your discretionary income is spent on snacks?  Gee wiz…talk about a budget buster.  My kids would snack all day if I’d let ’em, so I usually put the kibosh on the all day snacking and stick to 2-3 snacks a day.

One snack they could eat until the cows come home is trail mix.  I used to buy trail mix pre-made and found I was paying about $4-5 per pound (and we’d go through about 2 pounds a week).  But now that it’s become nearly a job to find the best ways to eat on a shoestring I’ve started making my own trail mix, using the broad selection at Sprouts to do so.  It’s fun!  And I think your kids will enjoy helping too.

Here’s a typical mix for us, and the cost associated with it:

4-6 cups of cereal (usually Trader Joes O’s, but you could do any snacking cereal really)

2 cups raisins

2 cups peanuts

1 cup yogurt raisins or chocolate chips

I’ve determined based on this ratio that I now spend about $6-7 per week on trail mix, saving about 20-40% by making my own.  And this lasts a full week, or about 25-30 servings.

But the sky is the limit!  Here are some ingredients to get you inspired.  Just remember the heavier the ingredients the more you’ll spend…

Dried fruits – cranberries, apples, bananas, cherries, apricots, pineapple, coconut

Nuts – Almonds, cashews, pistachios, pecans, walnuts, candied nuts

Sweets – Chocolate or yogurt covered raisins, chocolate covered nuts, white chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, carob chips, chocolate or yogurt covered pretzels, etc.

So hit up the bulk section next time you’re at your local store and make your own trail mix! 

Think you’ll give it a try?  Let me know!

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4 Comments Post a comment
  1. {Main St. Cuisine} #

    I totally agree about spending on snacks, which is starting to be on par with buying free range chicken breasts! We go through a ton of snacks too and I love your idea of making your own trail mix. I think I may try making my own granola bars too.

    March 14, 2012
  2. Rebecca Dore #

    Hi Kelly,

    I love all your recipes and when I was recently thinking that I spend too much on trail mix, I came straight here to see if you had any frugal ideas. Bulking it up with some less expensive cereal is a good idea, but I was wondering if you had experimented with different kinds/ratios of nuts. I like almonds and cashews, but they are obviously more expensive than peanuts. Any thoughts would be appreciated!


    July 4, 2012
    • I love almonds and cashews too! Sometimes I’ll toss in hazelnuts or pistachios if I’m feeling really fancy, and when I do I just increase other things such as raisins, banana chips, cereal, etc. Love that you would come here for frugal ideas – it’s the reason I started doing this in the first place so you’ve made my day:)

      July 5, 2012
  3. Emily #

    My dad used to put spray Cheerios and Chex with a little bit of butter spray and they sprinkle them with garlic salt or seasoning salt and microwave them for 10-15 seconds. Then he’d add cashews, pistachios, pretzels, and M&Ms. I don’t know how economical it is, but it tastes fabulous!

    July 16, 2012

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