5. While revamping my spending habits I noticed how much my afternoon Congo Bar and Latte were costing me. Now don’t think for one minute that I didn’t actually KNOW how much I was spending, let’s just say I started paying attention. And WOW! I had gotten so use to mindlessly handing over my money that it lost it’s feel of importance. It’s just what I used to get that snack. So that shocked me a bit after ignoring how expensive that one treat was costing me 3 times a week. Are you ready for the cost….? $10.15 per visit. So multiply that by 3 and that’s over $30 stinkin’ dollars a week! Was I nuts?????
Ok, I may look stupid but I’m not THAT stupid (anymore). I got home, looked up a recipe of a butterscotch brownie that I love, and went to the grocery store. I felt that making a batch of those every 2 weeks and freezing them would make me just as happy. When I got to my local grocery store and hit the baking aisle I was floored. What the heck happened in that aisle???? Sweetened condensed milk was $4.00 for a puny little can???? Really? So Miss Stubborn marched out of there mumbling under my breath without the sweetened condensed milk.
Now I’m not the kinda gal that can just let things like this go. So, an hour of research later I found my secret hook. I found a recipe for sweetened condensed milk. A lot of it! Here’s what I did: I compared the prices of Nonfat Dry Milk and found that a healthfood store sells it for $3.95 a pound. I needed 2 cups so I scooped a pound which gave me way more than I needed. (Carnation Nonfat Milk in a 25.6 oz. box was $10.61). I also got a 5lb bag of sugar for 3.99. It calls for butter, the real stuff, which I already had and paid $2.15 for a pound. It was on sale so I stocked up.
Here’s the recipe to make Sweetened Condensed Milk
2 cups Nonfat Dry Milk
1 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cup of boiling water
6 Tablespoons butter, melted and lukewarm
Mix the dry milk and sugar together and then slowly add the boiling water. Stir in the melted butter. Whip in a blender or by hand until smooth. Store milk in your fridge for a week or freeze the extra for about 6 months for baking later.
Once I had the water boiling from the microwave this took me about 2 minutes to make and it is delicious! No artificial flavors at all. So for the investment I made to buy everything initially, once I make this recipe twice it will have almost paid for itself. Congo bars at, let’s call them “Moonbucks”, are $3.95 per bar. I made 12 butterscotch bars for a cost of $3.95 AND I have everything I need to make them about 4 more times. I made the butterscotch bars which had a variation of ingredience but I’m telling you they are superior in flavor AND PRICE.
Remember I spoke about not giving up everything you enjoy but finding a way to do them in a more cost-efficient way? This is one of those things for me. I love to sit at the bookstore, sip my coffee and eat my snack. I spoke with the manager of the “Moonbucks” café in the bookstore and she was fine with my own bar coming in the store. I ordered my coffee, $1.95, and ate my own bar while I enjoyed my book. That treat went from costing me approximately $10.15 to $2.05 (with tax, and changing from a Large or “Venti” Latte to regular coffee) before I get my discount from my B & N membership card. That put an extra $24.00 in my pocket each week. To me…this is worth doing.