Not Worth It

14 Feb

I know this has happened to you, too:


You see this awesome money saving tip online. (Pinterest, probably)


You think “Oh my god, this is going to change my life! I’m going to start doing this immediately


You try the tip.


It doesn’t quite work the way you wanted it, and you end up saving $0.15 while wasting 5 hours of your life.


Don’t worry, it happens to me, too.


beans in crockpot


Poison beans

Recently, we (okay, I) decided that we could save money by cooking our own kidney beans. I didn’t really do any math before arriving at this decision, because I assumed that it would be a very profitable endeavor.


So I bought the bag of dry kidney beans. When I got home, I started researching how to cook them in the crock pot.


Problem #1 immediately arose: evidently kidney beans can be EXTREMELY POISONOUS if you cook them in the crock pot and they don’t get to the correct temperature. Wait, WHAT?! Seriously?! (yes, seriously)


So now I have this bag of dry beans and the fear that I’m going to kill Mike and I over 40 cents (oh, right, by this time I had done the math and realized that I’d only be saving somewhere in the neighborhood of $0.40 by doing this… whoops).


But I forged ahead and made the beans. I had to boil them for at least 2 minutes, then drain, then put them in the crock pot, then cook them for 8 hours, then cross my fingers and hope that I boiled the poison out of them. They turned out alright, I guess… nothing special. And so much work, ugh. That was not worth 40 cents.



Slow beans

We tried another time with pinto beans (why I didn’t learn my lesson yet, I don’t know). Luckily these had no risk of poison. But this time we ran into trouble because we wanted beans for a meal but I had forgotten to cook them.


Sooooo we had to quick cook them on the stove… and anyone who has ever made dry beans knows there is no such thing as “quick cooking” when it comes to those little guys. Needless to say, we had slightly crunchy beans that night.



No beans

You know, I’m not dissing the dry beans. If they work for you, then more power to ya. But for Mike and I, the biggest way we save money on food is by having a well stocked pantry with easy-to-cook items always on hand. If we have to wait 4 hours for beans to cook, we’re probably going to hop in the car and head to Chipotle instead. That’s just the truth.


So that means this is one money-saving tip that is NOT worth it for me.



Have you tried any money saving tips that just weren’t worth it for your time/effort?



15 Responses to “Not Worth It”

  1. E.M. February 14, 2014 at 8:58 am #

    At least you tried! I probably would have freaked out about the chance of getting poisoned and wasted money completely. My biggest issue is browsing circulars for sales, and seeing that I could save fifty cents at a different store on some items. It basically results in going to two or three stores, and sometimes the product is out of stock. Thankfully all the stores are within around five minutes of each other, but it still wastes time and money in the form of gas. I should just suck it up and stick to one store!

    • Ashley February 14, 2014 at 9:52 am #

      Hahaha I definitely contemplated just throwing them away!

      I’m not sure how I feel about visiting multiple stores to shop. I’ve never done it (mostly because I never remember to actually look at those circulars in advance, haha) but I’m not sure I’d have the patience to! It does make it easier if your stores are all in a close range, though!

  2. Emily @ evolvingPF February 14, 2014 at 11:01 am #

    I’ve never had success with dried beans and I’ve wasted plenty of dollars trying! We use lots of canned beans and don’t feel bad about it at all.

    The only dried beans I’ve ever cooked successfully are split peas and that’s kind of a different category. I really like my slow cooker split pea and ham soup!

    • Ashley February 14, 2014 at 1:56 pm #

      Yeah I originally felt bad about it but now I think I’m okay with it :) And YUM, I’ve never tried split pea soup! I should attempt that some time!

  3. Kate February 14, 2014 at 1:16 pm #

    Budget Bytes has a great how-to for making beans in the slow cooker and storing them for future use. If you haven’t completely given up, check it out! The comments section also has a lot of helpful tips. We use a lot of beans, so cooking big batches of dry beans adds up over the long run, and some types of beans (like chick peas) taste better than they do canned. I do agree that it’s probably not worth it if you only use beans occasionally.

    • Ashley February 14, 2014 at 1:59 pm #

      I LOOOOVE budget bytes! I was planning on using her tutorial for the kidney and then read about the poison… and I was going to try on the pinto but then we ran out of time. hah! If I ever get up the courage to try again (3rd time’s the charm?) I will definitely give her method a try!! YUM I hadn’t thought about chick peas, that’s awesome!

  4. Kate February 14, 2014 at 2:36 pm #

    ALL THE TIME. Although obviously I can’t think of an example right now.

    • Ashley February 14, 2014 at 4:06 pm #

      hahaha! I’ll believe you anyway :)

  5. Jon @ Our Fine Adventure February 14, 2014 at 2:47 pm #

    I bought some dried beans a couple weeks ago, figuring it was a good way to save money… long story short, we usually just avoid having beans with our meal rather than soak them and take the long process of cooking them, haha!

    • Ashley February 14, 2014 at 4:07 pm #

      Hah! I mean it’s not terribly hard to cook them (the crock pot methods are pretty easy) but just remembering to do it in time for a meal is insane! We made the whole bag at once and froze portions in bags, I would definitely suggest that…

  6. Debbie M February 15, 2014 at 3:56 pm #

    I also like the way canned beans don’t need to be stored in fridge. By which I mean the cans hold a lot less beans than any batch I would make.

    I’m also not making my own bread because I really don’t go through it very fast and appreciate the preservatives in store-bought bread.

    Hmm, things I tried and decided were not worth it. Here are some I can remember:

    * Going to free events – it was worth it at the time, but I’m richer now and really don’t like crowds.

    * Chasing interest rates on online “high-interest” checking accounts – They all keep plummeting; I ended up going back to having just one account, which is simpler. I’m not trying those checking accounts where you have to jump 12 hoops every month either–too much stress.

    * Making laundry detergent – technically, I still do this. However, in reality, I take long breaks when my boyfriend has store-bought laundry detergent available. (I do the kind where I grate some soap and mix that with two powders and then just leave it as a powder; I’m not adding the water and making the sludge.)

    * several cheap things – I pay extra for La Sierra refried beans (yum!), LLBean pants (they fit me and wear well), real chocolate, real cheese, high-quality hand tools, etc. I’m still looking for knee socks that don’t fall down all the time, pill, or wear out immediately. Oh, I don’t get acrylic yarn anymore when I’m knitting, though I’ve heard that some acrylics wear well nowadays.

    * never turn on the heat or A/C – I melt into a blob if it gets over 90 degrees inside, even with fans, and I roll into a shivering blob who doesn’t want to do anything if it gets much below 60 and I’m not doing something active. I can afford to not have to watch life pass me by because I’m just being a blob.

    * multiple roommates – I’ve decided one roommate is the right amount. It’s much easier to find one person I get along with than multiple people who also get along with each other. Plus if I end up doing all the dishes, it’s fewer dishes!

    * going without a car – I really want locational independence as well as financial independence. I live in a city, but with no car, there is no practical way to get to some of the good parts (or rather, to get home from the good parts after the buses stop running). Not to mention my friends’ houses–friends who insist on moving out to the suburbs! I still take a bus to work and walk to close places and I buy ten-year-old cars in reliable makes with decent gas mileage. I generally fill my tank once a month.

    * learning Spanish on my own – I’ve decided I want to take a class so I can get some study partners.

    • Ashley February 15, 2014 at 4:34 pm #

      Good point with easier storage for canned beans. I put ours into a few ziplock baggies and froze them so that made it a little easier to store!

      Bread is another great example. I’ve heard of some frugal people making their own… but I’ve never attempted.

      I love your list! I’m a big believer in spending money on things that are worth it to you. Multiple roommates was a HUGE no for me, too. I could have saved a lot of money by staying in a shared house with 4 girls but my mental sanity was worth way more than the money.

      and hahaha next time it gets too hot or cold in the house, I’m going to start calling myself a “blob” too! That made me crack up! :)

      • Debbie M February 16, 2014 at 10:34 pm #

        Glad you enjoyed it!

  7. Ashton February 17, 2014 at 1:34 am #

    Totally! I’m not as ambitious as you are with full out making beans, BUT I have (quite a few times) done the “___is so much cheaper at that other store!” By the time I drive the extra however many miles & pay that much in gas, I only save like $2.

    I also find that when I buy food in bulk, I never end up using it all, even if I freeze it. My little family just gets sick of it! I save money at this stage in my life by only buying what I need when I actually need it.

    • Ashley February 17, 2014 at 9:28 am #

      Haha that is the worst. You get a good deal and then realize you drove for 30 mins and sat in traffic and wasted half your day… yup I’ve done it too :)

      I definitely think people can waste money doing “frugal” things that just don’t work for their situation- I love that you realized that bulk buying didn’t work for you!!

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