Frugal Living 

How to Make Homemade Instant Oatmeal Packets & Save Money

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Raisin Oatmeal BreakfastMost of us are looking for a quick breakfast in the morning before heading out to take the kids to school or to go to work. Many people rely on pre-made breakfast staples such as boxed cereal or pre-packaged oatmeal, both of which can be fairly pricy. While you may not be able to make your own breakfast cereal without a fair amount of work, you can make your own oatmeal packets quickly and not only save some money, but also eat healthier.

Prepackaged oatmeal packets typically come 8 in the box and cost upwards of $3 to $4 a piece. You could try to save by shopping Amazon for oatmeal packets in bulk, currently 52 packets for $19.99, or approximately 38.5¢ per packet. I think we can do better.

Make your own to last a month and a half in 20 minutes time and save some money in the process

Homemade Instant Oatmeal IngredientsHere is the recipe we typically use:

  • 1/3 cup instant oats
  • 1 tsp. brown sugar
  • 1/8 to ¼ tsp. of cinnamon

Assembly style, lay out 45 plastic baggies and fill each with the oats, brown sugar and cinnamon. Seal.

In the morning when you are ready to use the packet, simply pour one packet into a deep bowl and add either 2/3 cup milk or water. Stir together and microwave for 1.5 minutes. Stir again and microwave for 30 more seconds.

If you would like oatmeal with a bit more pizzazz, add 1 TBSP raisins or Craisins and/or 1 TBSP chopped walnuts.

How Much Money Will You Save?

Homemade Instant Oatmeal PackagesYour savings will be significant even if you just pick up the basic ingredients at the store, but you can drive down your costs even further by buying your ingredients at a warehouse store such as Costco.

I buy a 10.7 oz. container of cinnamon at Costco for less than $4. Since 45 packets of prepared oatmeal only require 1.86 ounces of cinnamon, my cinnamon for this recipe only costs .69 cents.

The brown sugar typically runs $3 for a 16 ounce bag. There are 114 teaspoons in one bag, so the sugar for 45 bags of oatmeal will cost approximately $1.18.

A 42 ounce container of oats is approximately $3.50 and contains enough oatmeal for 45 packets.

All told, you are spending $5.37 to make 45 packets, or .12 a packet. Over the course of 45 breakfasts, you are saving $14.62.

Eat oatmeal for breakfast 5 days a week for 50 weeks of the year, and you are saving $81.22. If you have 3 children and they eat oatmeal 3 mornings a week over the course of the school year, you are saving $116.92 during the year. Of course, if you add in raisins or Craisins, your costs go up slightly, but you are still saving significantly over having the convenience of the packets already premade for you.

Will making your own oatmeal packets rich? No, not by itself, but every small change that you make like this will help you keep more money in your pocket to save, invest, or use for your next vacation. Plus, it’s a heart healthy breakfast you can make very quickly!

Do you make your own oatmeal, instant or otherwise? What are your favorite fixings to fancy things up?

(Photo: simplemoth)

{ 19 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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19 Responses to “How to Make Homemade Instant Oatmeal Packets & Save Money”

  1. Andrew says:

    Good idea. Can you include the cost of your ziplock bags to give a more accurate cost per serving?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Don’t use the ziploc bags and just combine what you need in your bowl in the morning. Or if you are going to take it to work, use a plastic bowl with a lid so you can reuse after washing it.

  3. This sounds like a great idea, but how much oatmeal can you eat before you get tired of it? lol

    • Martha says:

      Ha, I’ve eaten oatmeal every day for months at a time… at least during the work week since it’s so easy!

  4. LD says:

    The baggies may cost initially, but since they’re not getting very ‘dirty’, you can reuse them practically forever. Great idea!

    • Melissa says:

      I do wash out my baggies (that have not held things like raw meat, etc.), so we don’t go through them very fast. However, I like the idea of storing everything in a big container and just scooping out what we need. We will have to start doing that!

  5. Patty says:

    I really don’t understand making packets at all. I simply dump some oatmeal in a bowl, drown it with water, nuke it for 2 minutes. , sprinkle what I want on it or just some milk Usually sprinkle cinnamon, flax seed, few nuts and whatever fruit I have or any one of these or any combo or nothing but milk. Sometimes brown sugar, or honey. Takes seconds.
    No need to measure oatmeal or water, you get to know how much you want. If it was too much water, nuke for few more seconds. If not, add a bit or increase milk in it

    • Jim says:

      I think it’s for when you need to take it on the run, it’s convenient to grab a packet you’ll use at work.

    • Frugal says:

      You read my mind and sure enough I realized that it is worth it only if you are taking to work or you are trying to save few seconds/day by spending few minutes of the weekend.

  6. I think this would be a possibility for me except I don’t really eat oatmeal for breakfast. I’d also probably be to lazy to do it honestly, but for those who can you can definitely save some money as you have pointed out. The real question is, is it worth it to you?

  7. K. says:

    I agree that I can just make oatmeal without it being in a packet…will probably take no more than an additional 30-60 seconds to measure it out in the AM! However, some will appreciate every spare minute…and this is a great idea for vacation breakfasts where you have access to your own kitchen/microwave. Thanks.

  8. Jon says:

    My father has eaten instant oatmeal for breakfast every day for the last thirty or forty years. I can’t imagine doing so, myself. The lack of variety would drive me nuts. Great money saving idea here, but I just can’t do it.

  9. Shirley says:

    Individual serving packets for nearly anything are for convenience and they are great impulse buys and money-makers. So if you find that they are of use to you, make your own for a lot less cost. I used to package up snacks for a week for lunchboxes, dry ingredients for salad dressing (sorry, Hidden Valley), snacks to take on road trips, dry cereal for ‘I-can-do-it-myself’ aged toddlers, and even laundry soap for camping trips.

  10. Karen says:

    I used to do this when the kids were in school. Now that they’re (almost) grown I’ve lost my zeal for these kinds of money-saving tricks. But reading things like this give me inspiration to do more… the pennies add up.

    The other day I saw an idea similar to this, to make the oatmeal the night before in a thermos. The next morning it’s ready to eat. They had recipes with dried fruit and nuts added in. Nice idea.

  11. Martha says:

    The main reason I’m interested in doing this is so that I can control the amount of sugar that goes into my oatmeal! I love the convenience of the packets (grab one and a bowl and go to work) but I hate that most of the flavors are drowning in sugar! Right now I just shake the packet and pour out only the oatmeal and a little bit of the “brown sugar.”

  12. Fabclimber says:

    I bike to work and need something portable and “healthy” so here is another alternative. I make steel cut oats on the stove. When maostly cool I spoon them into small reusable Ziplock bowls. I add about 2 tablespoons of organic no salt added peanut butter and a few good shakes of graound cinnamon for flavor. I refrigerate these until needed. At work I add some more water and nuke until hot. Then I stir until smooth. Yummy!
    This receipe is low clycemic, has protein and tastes OK. Keeps me full until lunch with about a 1/2 to 3/4 cup serving size.

  13. The problem with these costing techniques is that they never take into account the amount of money you spend driving to the warehouse. These days, gas is not near as expensive as it was a few years ago, when I’m sure a lot of the costs of making oatmeal packets yourself at home would be much higher.

    These days though, yeah, you can save a LOT of money by making this stuff yourself. In my house, all four of us have an oatmeal breakfast which is homemade. Until a few years ago, my wife used to buy them from the store, but now we’re saving a lot by buying the products in bulk and making an entire week’s worth together on Sunday’s as a fun family cooking get-together!

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