Saving money through baby food

If you use the right ingredients, pureeing your own baby food can be a smart financial move

By , Guest blogger

  • close
    Pureeing baby food is a good way to save money, if the produce you use is cheap and in season.
    View Caption

Saving Pennies or Dollars is a new semi-regular series on The Simple Dollar, inspired by a great discussion on The Simple Dollar’s Facebook page concerning frugal tactics that might not really save that much money. I’m going to take some of the scenarios described by the readers there and try to break down the numbers to see if the savings is really worth the time invested.

Calista writes in: Does making your own baby food purees save pennies or dollars?

As always, it depends on the source of the food you use to make the puree. If you’re using excess produce from your garden, it’s going to be cheaper, of course.

Recommended: 10 fast foods that have disappeared

However, where Calista raises an interesting point is with fresh fruits and vegetables that you can buy at a very low price at the grocery store. How do you decide when it’s worth it to make it yourself versus simply buying those convenient Gerber baby food containers?

I’ll use bananas as an example. I can frequently buy bananas at my local grocery store for $0.49 a pound – and, often, they’re on sale for less than that. If I peel out a pound of bananas, I’m left with about eleven ounces of fruit, based on my weighings on my kitchen scale. To this, I would add roughly five ounces of water, milk, or formula to create a smooth texture, then puree it in a blender. After that, I’ll have to individually package it in some method, usually by filling up an ice cube tray with the puree and freezing it. Boom – a pound of “banana baby food” for about $0.50.

On the other hand, I can buy a 3.5 ounce tub of pureed bananas from Gerber for $0.57 per container (16 containers for $9.13). A pound of these containers would be about the same as four and a half of these containers, or $2.28.

In other words, I’m saving about $1.78 per pound of bananas that I turn into baby food. This requires the time to peel a few bananas, put them in the blender, add some liquid, hit the puree button, then pour the liquid into the ice cube tray and pop it in the freezer. That’s about five minutes of work for a pound of baby banana puree.

So, in the case of straight-up bananas, you’re saving dollars and not cents making the baby food yourself.

So, what’s the cutoff for value? I’d be willing to make my own baby food if I were saving about $8 per hour. I would estimate that I could convert a pound of raw foods (like bananas) into baby food in about five minutes, and a pound of food I’d have to cook (like broccoli) into baby food in about ten minutes. Thus, I’d have to spend an hour to convert twelve pounds of raw food into baby food or six pounds of cooked food into baby food.

It costs roughly $2.28 to buy a pound of processed baby food, or $13.68 for six pounds of processed baby food or $27.36 for twelve pounds of processed baby food.

To make cooked baby food worthwhile, I’d have to find a source of the food at $5.68 ($13.68 minus $8) for six pounds of the food, or about $0.95 per pound for the raw food. So, if you can find, say, broccoli at $0.95 a pound or less, it’s probably worth your time to turn it into cooked baby food.

To make raw baby food worthwhile, I’d have to find a source of the food at $19.36 ($27.36 minus $8) for twelve pounds of the food, or about $1.61 per pound for the food. So, if you can find, say, bananas at $1.61 per pound or less, it’s probably worth your time to turn it into cooked baby food.

In the end, you can certainly save dollars by turning some foods, like bananas, into baby food. It gets trickier when you look at out-of-season fruits and vegetables, though, as the cost for a pound of those foods tends to make the savings quite small (and can even result in a loss).

Share this story:

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

eZ debug

Clear cache:

Quick settings:

Timing: Jul 09 2014 09:40:14
Script start
Timing: Jul 09 2014 09:40:14
Module start 'content'
Warning: eZDebug::accumulatorStop Jul 09 2014 09:40:14
Accumulator 'Search' does not exist, run eZDebug::accumulatorStart first
Warning: eZDebug::accumulatorStop Jul 09 2014 09:40:14
Accumulator 'Search' does not exist, run eZDebug::accumulatorStart first
Notice: PHP: E_NOTICE Jul 09 2014 09:40:14
Undefined index: path in /var/www/www.csmonitor.com/extension/ezwebin/autoloads/ezpagedata.php on line 158
Notice: PHP: E_NOTICE Jul 09 2014 09:40:14
Undefined index: path in /var/www/www.csmonitor.com/extension/ezwebin/autoloads/ezpagedata.php on line 175
Notice: PHP: E_NOTICE Jul 09 2014 09:40:14
Undefined index: path in /var/www/www.csmonitor.com/extension/ezwebin/autoloads/ezpagedata.php on line 158
Notice: PHP: E_NOTICE Jul 09 2014 09:40:14
Undefined index: path in /var/www/www.csmonitor.com/extension/ezwebin/autoloads/ezpagedata.php on line 175
Notice: PHP: E_NOTICE Jul 09 2014 09:40:14
Undefined index: meta_class_identifier_ms in /var/www/www.csmonitor.com/extension/ezfind/classes/ezfindresultnode.php on line 111
Notice: PHP: E_NOTICE Jul 09 2014 09:40:14
Undefined index: meta_class_identifier_ms in /var/www/www.csmonitor.com/extension/ezfind/classes/ezfindresultnode.php on line 111
Notice: PHP: E_NOTICE Jul 09 2014 09:40:14
Undefined index: meta_class_identifier_ms in /var/www/www.csmonitor.com/extension/ezfind/classes/ezfindresultnode.php on line 111
Notice: PHP: E_NOTICE Jul 09 2014 09:40:14
Undefined index: meta_class_identifier_ms in /var/www/www.csmonitor.com/extension/ezfind/classes/ezfindresultnode.php on line 111
Notice: PHP: E_NOTICE Jul 09 2014 09:40:14
Undefined index: meta_remote_id_ms in /var/www/www.csmonitor.com/extension/csm_base/classes/CSMFunctionCollection.php on line 1028
Notice: PHP: E_NOTICE Jul 09 2014 09:40:14
Undefined index: meta_class_identifier_ms in /var/www/www.csmonitor.com/extension/ezfind/classes/ezfindresultnode.php on line 111
Notice: PHP: E_NOTICE Jul 09 2014 09:40:14
Undefined index: meta_remote_id_ms in /var/www/www.csmonitor.com/extension/csm_base/classes/CSMFunctionCollection.php on line 1028
Notice: PHP: E_NOTICE Jul 09 2014 09:40:14
Undefined index: meta_class_identifier_ms in /var/www/www.csmonitor.com/extension/ezfind/classes/ezfindresultnode.php on line 111
Notice: PHP: E_NOTICE Jul 09 2014 09:40:14
Undefined index: meta_remote_id_ms in /var/www/www.csmonitor.com/extension/csm_base/classes/CSMFunctionCollection.php on line 1028
Notice: PHP: E_NOTICE Jul 09 2014 09:40:14
Undefined index: meta_class_identifier_ms in /var/www/www.csmonitor.com/extension/ezfind/classes/ezfindresultnode.php on line 111
Notice: PHP: E_NOTICE Jul 09 2014 09:40:14
Undefined index: meta_remote_id_ms in /var/www/www.csmonitor.com/extension/csm_base/classes/CSMFunctionCollection.php on line 1028
Timing: Jul 09 2014 09:40:14
Module end 'content'
Timing: Jul 09 2014 09:40:14
Before parse_includes
Strict: PHP: E_STRICT Jul 09 2014 09:40:14
Non-static method MugoViewExtras::get_view_extras() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /var/www/www.csmonitor.com/extension/mugo_view_extras/autoloads/template_operators.php on line 37
Warning: eZTemplate:def @ extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/override/templates/extra/archive.tpl:21[1] Jul 09 2014 09:40:14
Variable 'view_extra_node' is already defined.
Timing: Jul 09 2014 09:40:14
After parse_includes
Timing: Jul 09 2014 09:40:14
End

Timing points:

CheckpointElapsedRel. ElapsedMemoryRel. Memory
Script start 0.0000 sec0.0159 sec 1,285.9141 KB1,162.1250 KB
Module start 'content' 0.0159 sec0.8496 sec 2,448.0391 KB11,189.0156 KB
Module end 'content' 0.8655 sec0.0169 sec 13,637.0547 KB391.1641 KB
Before parse_includes 0.8824 sec0.0493 sec 14,028.2188 KB285.1016 KB
After parse_includes 0.9317 sec0.0010 sec 14,313.3203 KB-181.7188 KB
End 0.9327 sec  14,131.6016 KB 
Total runtime:0.9413 sec
Peak memory usage:16,567.4844 KB

Time accumulators:

 Accumulator Elapsed Percent Count Average
ini_load
Load cache0.0082 sec0.8707%360.0002 sec
Mysql Total
Mysqli_queries0.1102 sec11.6798%1590.0007 sec
Looping result0.0094 sec0.9995%1510.0001 sec
Template Total0.8897 sec 94.3% 7 0.1271 sec
Template load0.0081 sec0.8566%70.0012 sec
Template processing0.8813 sec93.3703%70.1259 sec
Template load and register function0.0003 sec0.0322%40.0001 sec
states
state_id_array0.0039 sec0.4152%80.0005 sec
state_identifier_array0.0065 sec0.6867%110.0006 sec
override
Cache load0.0079 sec0.8364%760.0001 sec
eZ Find
MoreLikeThis0.0000 sec0.0000%00.0000 sec
Query build0.0055 sec0.5861%10.0055 sec
Engine time0.0177 sec1.8746%10.0177 sec
Search0.3346 sec35.4502%20.1673 sec
Class attribute list0.1092 sec11.5661%10.1092 sec
Sytem overhead
Fetch class attribute can translate value0.0016 sec0.1693%30.0005 sec
Fetch class attribute name0.0002 sec0.0256%100.0000 sec
XML
Image XML parsing0.0044 sec0.4658%30.0015 sec
class_abstraction
Instantiating content class attribute0.0001 sec0.0109%100.0000 sec
General
String conversion0.0000 sec0.0023%30.0000 sec
dbfile0.0014 sec0.1444%420.0000 sec
View Extra building0.0116 sec1.2249%40.0029 sec
Total script time:0.9438 sec

CSS/JS files loaded with "ezjscPacker" during request:

CacheTypePacklevelSourceFiles
01a980f93dc967c6e39d52a11ae2108b_1404899611_all.cssCSS3extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/stylesheets/normalize.css
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/stylesheets/html5b.css
design/standard/stylesheets/debug.css
extension/ezwt/design/standard/stylesheets/websitetoolbar.css
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/stylesheets/jquery-ui-1.10.3.custom.min.css
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/stylesheets/desktop.css
ede0a88fd146f1a095d27fb22227d0e5_1398846822.jsJS2extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/modernizr.js
extension/csm_base/design/standard/javascript/jquery-1.10.2.min.js
1650da1ba852ac5f9af81af07e8fa105_1404899611.jsJS2extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/jquery-ui-1.10.4.min.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/json2.js
extension/csm_base/design/standard/javascript/jquery.cookie.min.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/jquery.mobile.custom.min.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/plugins/jquery.arthole.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/plugins/jquery.sticky.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/plugins/jquery.csmstory.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/plugins/jquery.right_column.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/plugins/jquery.csmstory_editorspickdialog.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/plugins/jquery.sailthru_signup.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/plugins/jquery.jcarousel.min.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/plugins/jquery.history.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/plugins/jquery.mainNav.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/plugins/jquery.gallery.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/plugins/jquery.staffdialog.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/jQuery.rollChildren.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/pubService_extended.js
extension/csm_base/design/standard/javascript/csm/csmNew.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/jquery.quiz.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/jquery.spectrumQuiz.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/global.js

Templates used to render the page:

UsageRequested templateTemplateTemplate loadedEditOverride
1node/view/full.tplfull/article.tplextension/csm_base/design/csm_design/override/templates/full/article.tplEdit templateOverride template
22content/datatype/view/ezxmltags/paragraph.tpl<No override>extension/ezwebin/design/ezwebin/templates/content/datatype/view/ezxmltags/paragraph.tplEdit templateOverride template
2content/datatype/view/ezimage.tpl<No override>extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/templates/content/datatype/view/ezimage.tplEdit templateOverride template
10content/datatype/view/ezxmltags/link.tpl<No override>extension/csm_base/design/standard/templates/content/datatype/view/ezxmltags/link.tplEdit templateOverride template
2content/datatype/view/ezxmltags/emphasize.tpl<No override>design/standard/templates/content/datatype/view/ezxmltags/emphasize.tplEdit templateOverride template
10content/datatype/view/ezxmltags/strong.tpl<No override>design/standard/templates/content/datatype/view/ezxmltags/strong.tplEdit templateOverride template
4content/datatype/view/ezxmltags/promotion.tpl<No override>extension/csm_base/design/standard/templates/content/datatype/view/ezxmltags/promotion.tplEdit templateOverride template
1content/datatype/view/ezstring.tpl<No override>design/standard/templates/content/datatype/view/ezstring.tplEdit templateOverride template
1content/datatype/view/ezxmltext.tpl<No override>design/standard/templates/content/datatype/view/ezxmltext.tplEdit templateOverride template
1content/datatype/view/ezbyline.tpl<No override>extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/templates/content/datatype/view/ezbyline.tplEdit templateOverride template
1content/datatype/view/ezobjectrelationlist.tplcontent/datatype/view/story_images.tplextension/csm_base/design/csm_design/override/templates/content/datatype/view/story_images.tplEdit templateOverride template
1content/datatype/view/eztext.tpl<No override>design/standard/templates/content/datatype/view/eztext.tplEdit templateOverride template
1content/datatype/view/ezstring.tplcontent/datatype/view/image_credit.tplextension/csm_base/design/csm_design/override/templates/content/datatype/view/image_credit.tplEdit templateOverride template
1content/datatype/view/ezxmltext.tplcontent/datatype/view/story_info_box.tplextension/csm_base/design/csm_design/override/templates/content/datatype/view/story_info_box.tplEdit templateOverride template
1content/datatype/view/ezmatrix.tplcontent/datatype/view/ezmatrix_article_related_external_links.tplextension/csm_base/design/csm_design/override/templates/content/datatype/view/ezmatrix_article_related_external_links.tplEdit templateOverride template
1pagelayout.tpl<No override>extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/templates/pagelayout.tplEdit templateOverride template
1modules/mugo_view_extras/extra_cached.tpl<No override>extension/mugo_view_extras/design/standard/templates/modules/mugo_view_extras/extra_cached.tplEdit templateOverride template
1setup/debug_toolbar.tpl<No override>design/standard/templates/setup/debug_toolbar.tplEdit templateOverride template
 Number of times templates used: 62
 Number of unique templates used: 18
 Time used to render template usage: 0.0006 secs