Saucy Ways to Eat Better and Save Money

homemade pesto

Today’s guest post is by Barney Whistance.

Everybody enjoys satisfying their taste buds and cravings by eating a scrumptious meal. Whether it’s homemade mac and cheese on a chilly night, fresh green salad with Caesar dressing or pizza with your favorite zesty ranch dip, you know you need the right sauce to elevate your food from plain nice to super yummy.

However, often at the end of our trips to the grocery store, we are left with a lengthy receipt of items bought, a big dent in our bank account and many questions buzzing in our heads. How did the bill reach that high? Did I buy things I shouldn’t have? Why does this always happen? Why are these oh-so-tempting and fancy-named sauces so darn expensive?

Well, the answer is because they are! And they aren’t expensive because of the product it contains but more so because of the brand it belongs to and the designing, packaging, and marketing that went behind it. Knowing that we wish that we could sometimes maybe try making them ourselves yet we are never able to muster up the motivation and effort to do that. Nonetheless, there are solid reasons which should encourage you to replace your store-bought sauces and dips with cheaper, healthier and tastier homemade ones.

Dipping Sauce

When you replace these commonly used dips with your own versions, you will be saving your hard earned money. Secondly, you will be healthier due to the reduction in sugars, salts, vegetable oils, and nutrition-less fillers like gum or starch. And thirdly you will enjoy a more renewed, sensitive and mature taste palate formed by tasting fresh and natural ingredients. The following are some healthy sauces you can easily make at home.

  1. Tomato Sauce: A staple in every American household as we buy 10 billion ounces of it each year, ketchup is found in around 97 percent of our homes.  But such high consumption of store-bought ketchup is unhealthy and unnecessarily expensive. Why waste money on a fancy looking ketchup when you can make the same quality sauce at home for less than a dollar? All you need are some cans of tomatoes and some simple spices. Cook it all together and add flour, or grind veggies like onions or beet for a thicker consistency and a unique flavor. To make it for a sassy dinner party you can experiment with red wine, basil, and parsley.  According to, homemade ketchup is less than half to a quarter of the cost of a store bought one.

  2. Mayonnaise: Mayonnaise is so commonly used that we just expect it to be there in our fridge all the time, although the commercial versions can be costly, not great in taste and high in calorie and sugar content. However making it is very easy and a person who doesn’t know how to cook can even do it well. With just 5 ingredients and a blender, you will do your pocket and health a big favor especially if you, like most Americans, use it often.

  3. Pesto sauce: While sounding intricate and complex, pasta’s partner – pesto – can be made with any aromatic and tasty green leaf, nutty oil and hard salty cheese. If you have lemon, garlic, salt and olive oil, then you can make this sauce for any budget that you are under. You can add kale and other greens to up the nutritional value, in addition to the standard basil.

  4. Yogurt/Greek Yogurt: Another daily use food product, making yogurt will not only be easy but very cost effective, especially in Greek style. Most people assume that it’s very hard to make Greek yogurt but in fact the opposite is true. Making both types of yogurts is simple, it involves boiling and cooling the milk, mixing in a spoon of yogurt either natural or store bought and then keeping the mixture at a warm temperature for a few hours. That’s your yogurt, now remove whey or the watery liquid from it completely through a sieve, strainer cloth or tissues and what you are left with is the exotic Greek variety. Cost savings for homemade yogurt compared to a store bought one is up to 84%.

  5. Jams, curds and concentrates: Commercial store bought jams often seem extremely cheap but when you take a look at the ingredients there’s hardly 20% fruit. That’s expensive for a load of sugary water with preservatives. Making your marmalade and concentrates at home will be much cheaper, tastier and healthier. However, the tip here is to remember to stick with the fruits with are in season so that you can find them easily and cheaply and make big batches. Curds too are highly priced at stores with low-quality ingredients whereas the same can be made with all organic ingredients at home with less than half the price.

Granola bars, croutons, bread and baby food are some other food and snacks that you can easily make at home for yourself and your family. Remember the bigger your batch the more you save. You can also easily freeze the batches of most of these for later use. This way you will cut down your needless costs and keep your body slim and healthy. In the end, you will find that making more and more of your food at home will reap many benefits to your entire lifestyle.




Barney Whistance is an enthusiastic Finance and Economics blogger who is most interested in global economic climate. Apart from doing majors in Finance, he is also a Chartered Accountancy Student and planning to complete his Ph.D. in Finance before he turns 30. You find him on Twitter.