The Cost of Convenience

Everyone is so busy these days. Anything that makes our lives easier and saves us a few minutes of our valuable time is likely to be a big hit, but at what cost? What we don't pay for in time, we will pay for in cold hard cash. How much is convenience worth?

Companies know that consumers are time crunched. Even your local grocery store is capitalizing on your crazy schedule by providing convenient items designed to save you time, but certainly not money. Convenient items often carry a hefty price. When you're living on a tight budget, it may not be worth it.

To save yourself the cost of convenience, skip these items at the grocery store.

Pre-Cut Food

Meat and vegetables that have been pre-cut and packaged at your favorite grocery store may seem like a good deal, but you’re likely to pay a higher cost for the convenience of someone else doing the work. You may also sacrifice the freshness factor when you buy pre-cut and packaged foods. Those broccoli spears may have been cut a few days earlier, which could really affect the flavor.

DIY Convenience I’ll admit, it’s tempting to grab a package of chicken that’s had all the fat trimmed off and cut into the perfect size chunks for stir fry, especially on a busy weeknight. That’s why I make my own pre-cut packages of meat at home. Whenever boneless skinless chicken is on sale ($1.99 per pound or less) I buy two family sized packages and a box of freezer bags. In about a half hour, I can trim and chop 10 pounds of chicken and separate them into freezer bags, each with the perfect portion for a meal. I label each bag with the contents and date then stick them in the freezer. When I need diced chicken for a meal, I just let it thaw in the fridge for a few hours. It’s convenience that doesn’t cost me a fortune.

Non-Food Items

Grocery stores are becoming more of a one-stop shop. Picking up a greeting card, a pack of batteries or anything non-edible at your local grocer will only cost you more. Save money on these kinds of items by purchasing them elsewhere, even online, so you don’t pay a high mark-up for convenience.

  • Skip the toiletry aisle completely. Buy shampoo and other essentials at a department store or online.
  • Don’t spring for a new brownie pan or spatula just because they’re across from the flour and sugar. Bakeware at the grocery store is often ridiculously marked-up. Again, save money by buying these online or at another retailer.
  • Cleaning supplies and laundry detergent is cheapest at bulk stores, not two aisles over from the produce. Skip it and save.

When have you paid a premium for convenience? Was it worth it?

Kylie K.