Snacking Your Way To Millions


It’s time to put on our millionaire pants, and share a little secret to cutting costs out of the grocery budget. Snack food.

Snack foods are a perfect place to optimize in your budget!  Don’t get me wrong, the Tako family loves snacking, but most snack foods are overpriced, filled with excessive salt & calories, and are a waste of your hard earned money. Most snack food at the grocery store is just over priced convenience food for lazy wage slaves. Chips? Soda? Cookies? Chocolate bars? Pretzels? Crackers? Don’t put that over-price-wallet-burning-garbage in your mouth!

There is one snack food we hold above all others. We love it because of its versatility, extremely low cost, and a genuinely delicious flavor: Popcorn.

 

You’re Doing Popcorn All Wrong

Most popcorn sold in North America today is in the form of microwavable bags (or the artery clogging version sold at movie theaters). Are you people crazy? That bagged sh*t? That kind of popcorn is practically an insult to popcorn itself. It’s covered in weird oils, fake flavorings, tons of salt, and sometimes toxic chemicals.

The stuff found in movie theaters is even worse. When we talk about popcorn here at Mr. Tako Escapes, this is what we’re talking about:

bagged popcorn

 

The Frugal Snack

Why is popcorn the snack food for millionaires? It’s really friggen cheap!

That 4 pound bag of popcorn (above) cost us $2.49 and that wasn’t on-sale. That’s 62.2 cents per pound. Even if we add in the energy cost for popping, the total cost per serving is still going to be pennies.

I can’t think of a cheaper snack food on the planet.  It’s even gluten free!  This the kind of snack food that will help you build wealth for financial independence, and help you keep wealthy once you achieve it. I say, eat real popcorn instead of that over priced bagged stuff. There’s no comparison.

 

Popping

OK, have I convinced you to stop buying that $5 bag of potato chips, and instead spend pennies on popcorn instead?  Great!  Now we come to the issue of popping. What’s the easiest way to turn it into delicious edible popcorn?

 

The Air Popper

First and foremost should be the air popper. Air poppers are really the best way to prepare popcorn at home. No oil is required, so there is no extra fat added just for the cooking. I also think its the most efficient method for popping – Just hot air generated from a $22 device that will last forever. Think I’m kidding about forever? Nope!

Frugalwoods says her air popper is 17 years old…Yes, that’s all very impressive Mrs. Frugalwoods. Well, I have you beat: My beautiful air popper is over 21 years old and still going strong. When I say ‘going strong’, I mean we use our air popper 3 to 4 times a week. At this rate, one of my boys will inherit the air popper.

Instructions:

Add 1/2 cup (may vary based on your model) of popcorn into the air popper.  Plug in the air popper to a electrical outlet.  Wait until all corn is popped.  Flavor and serve at your discretion. Simple!

Air Popping      popped corn
 

 

The Metal Pot (or Wok) Method

This is a traditional method, but still fairly easy and effective. A large pot is necessary (something on the order of 8 quart size). Some people use a wok. If you don’t have one of those, a metal mixing bowl is also a popular option. For this method, only a small amount of oil is required to keep the corn from burning onto the pot. It’s still a fairly health option. Many people use olive oil.

Instructions:

Place 3 tablespoons of oil in a large pot. Turn on heat to medium-high. Wait for oil to heat up. Add 1/2 a cup of popcorn. Cover with lid and shake vigorously when popping begins. Continue to shake until popping completes. Remove from heat when popping stops.

 

Shaking     Popping on the stove     Popcorn Complete.

 

The Brown Paper Bag Method

Yes, you can make your own microwavable popcorn in bags. While I don’t advocate the use of consumables like brown paper bags, they are pretty cheap. If you must use the convenience of a microwave, this is far healthier and cheaper than store bought microwave popcorn. The following recipe is brought to you by the preeminent food scientist, Alton Brown.

Instructions:

Alton Brown’s Plain Brown Popper

  • 1/4 cup good quality popcorn
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt or popcorn salt
  • Sprinkle jalapeno seasoning mix
  • Paper lunch bag
  • Stapler

Toss the popcorn with the olive oil, salt, and jalapeno seasoning mix in the paper bag. Fold the top of the bag over and staple the bag twice to close. Place the bag in the microwave and microwave on high for 2 minutes to 3 minutes, or until there are about 5 seconds between pops.

 

Flavoring

Flavoring popcorn is the best part. Butter and salt are of course the traditional flavorings, but caramel corn and kettle corn are also frequently used in North America.

Don’t stop there, that’s just the start! There are many, many other kinds of flavoring: Onion Powder, cumin & butter, ranch dressing seasoning, soy sauce & butter, garlic powder, coconut oil, Parmesan cheese, brewers yeast, furikake, white truffle oil, smoked paprika, crushed red pepper, and olive oil. The list is of flavorings is nearly endless. What kind of flavors do you like to use?

popcorn flavoring
Just a few flavoring possibilities in the Tako household: Butter, Truffle oil, Soy sauce, Parmesan cheese, Salt, Garlic powder, Onion powder, Brewers yeast, Nori, and Parsley.

 

Breakfast Too

I had a surprise discovery while researching this post – popcorn was eaten as a breakfast food in the 1800’s.  People used to eat popcorn like a breakfast cereal!  It was eaten with milk and sugar, much like we eat cereals today.

I’m not certain that popcorn would stand up to the milk very well, but if you’re in a pinch because you forgot to buy corn flakes at the market yesterday – don’t forget the popped corn option!

 

Give It A Try

I hope I’ve made you think about the cost of snack foods in your budget.  If you don’t already love it, give popcorn a try!  It really is the best snack food in the world — it can even help make you wealthy!  While these aren’t vast sums of money we’re talking about, every $5 adds up.  Those $5 invested in index funds (or common stocks) compounded over time will generate an ever-growing stream of dividends.

 

Anybody out there eat popcorn at home?

6 thoughts on “Snacking Your Way To Millions

  • March 1, 2016 at 10:40 AM
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    Our pop corn is made in the metal pop. Works fine. (Just the first time, I was too curious, open the pot and then it started poppig…)

    For now, we are classic when in comes to the flavors. WE might need to give your tastes a go.

    Reply
  • March 1, 2016 at 12:35 PM
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    I love popcorn! And I’ve got you beat … My air popper is over 30 years old! I don’t know exactly how old because it was my parents for several years before they gave it to me when I moved out of their house in 1988. Admittedly, it has gone years being used only a couple times a year. But other times it get used several times a week. The plastic is getting brittle and cracking in places. 🙁

    Reply
  • March 4, 2016 at 10:17 AM
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    I <3 popcorn! I was using the pot on the stove method & got myself an air popper a few years ago. I definitely raid my spice cabinet for interesting combinations. 🙂 Alton Brown's pop corn episode was the first I watched & it had me hooked! 🙂 Pop corn all the way!

    Reply
  • July 20, 2017 at 1:20 PM
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    As a shareholder of PepsiCo, i disapprove of this post.

    Please, eat more bags of chips. And wash them with a Coke or Pepsi.

    As a fellow frugaller however, I really enjoyed this post.

    A lot of people outside the US pop their popcorn with the traditional method too.

    Any other frugal snack ideas?

    Reply
  • September 3, 2017 at 4:13 AM
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    Thanks for sharing this. We are guilt of buying the microwave version with weird oils..ha. We are going to try air popping. My wife said that was how her mom made popcorn when she was a kid and it was easy.

    Reply
  • December 1, 2017 at 10:31 AM
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    We might be soul mates!! Just kidding, but I am a loud and proud popcorn addict. I’ve a mini theater popcorn machine, but I prefer old fashioned pot on the stove method. Don’t even talk to me about microwave bags. That’s desperation popcorn.

    Reply

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