Exercises in Frugality, Part 2

Hot Chocolate Mixes

Living here in chilly Wisconsin, we love our hot chocolate. I usually buy big boxes of hot chocolate mix at Sam’s Club, but decided to try to save a few dollars by making my own. Since I have a food processor, this isn’t hard to do.

There are many hot chocolate mix recipes online. Here’s the one I found, with ingredient costs in parentheses (all ingredients purchased at Aldi):

Hot Chocolate Mix

4 cups dry milk ($1.87)

1 1/2 cups sugar ($.26)

1 cup powdered coffee creamer ($.26)

¾ cup cocoa powder ($.50)

½ package instant vanilla pudding ($.25)

Blend ingredients together in a food processor. Use 1/3 cup mix in a mug of hot water.

A mug of this hot chocolate tastes fine. The instant pudding prevents the mix from sinking to the bottom of the mug. So what’s the problem?

The cost! It works out to 14 cents a serving. A box of 60 envelopes of Swiss Miss mix from Sam’s Club is $5.38 for 60 envelopes, or 9 cents a serving. Bummer. I didn’t work out the price ahead of time because I figured homemade would be cheaper.

However, all is not lost. Our son loves a brand of peppermint hot chocolate mix that is a bit expensive. Adding ½ t. of peppermint extract to this mix recipe makes the hot chocolate he loves at far less than its usual cost of 28 cents per serving.

4 thoughts on “Exercises in Frugality, Part 2

  1. I couldn’t believe it when dry milk became pricier than in-the-jug real milk. It was hard to get the kids to undo their habit of using the homemade cocoa mix. “No, guys, really! Just heat the milk out of the fridge and put Quik in it!”

  2. I know, Susan, it was the dry milk that drove up the price so much! They say they’re selling fresh milk for less than cost here in WI, so it’s a bargain, but still…..those Chinese must be socking it to us with the dry milk price (I’m assuming it’s made in China because the phrase on the package, “Distributed in the USA,” seems to be code for that nowadays—ugh.)

  3. Here’s a recipe for some really nice home-made hot cocoa. It doesn’t have any powdered milk.

    1/2 C sugar
    1/3 C water
    1/4 C cocoa powder
    4 C milk
    1/8 tsp salt
    3/4 tsp vanilla extract

    Mix cocoa, sugar, water and salt together in saucepan. Over medium heat, stir constantly until mixture boils. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Stir in milk, but DO NOT BOIL. Heat to desired temperature. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Makes 4-5 servings.

  4. Thanks, Katherine, for sharing that recipe. Personally, I prefer cocoa made like that. But as my kids grew up, they enjoyed making their own mug of cocoa from a mix whenever they wanted it. I kind of miss making a big pot of cocoa for the gang….

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