I've pictured $1.00 worth of each kind of nut, purchased at store price, above. Clockwise from top left: pecans, macadamia nuts, almonds and walnuts. You can see that, regardless of the type of nut, $1.00 won't buy much. It is about 1/4 cup at most, and probably less for the pecans and macadamia nuts. If you decide to make cookies or brownies with nuts, you'll probably spend $2.00 on that one ingredient alone.
I've purchased the nuts above at full price, in small packages. Of course, if you purchase nuts in larger quantities, you may be tempted to add MORE to your granola or brownies, or end up snacking on them. I could polish off $1.00 worth of nuts in literally two bites. They are so easy to grab, and healthy, and tasty...
But I digress. Point being: all nuts are expensive and the frugal lady should make a habit of using them in small quantities.
Regular Price vs. Discount
Now we are going to compare the price of nuts at different stores. Below I've pictured different brands, but the same size, cut, and type of nut. These are 2.25 oz. packages of slivered almonds.
An $11.67/lb. savings is what can happen when you are not picky about where you shop.
Disregarding Types to Save Money
The $0.35/package nuts are pretty common when I shop at the bent 'n' dent. The only problem is that I don't have a choice in what kind or cut of nut that I get. Usually there are only one or two options.
Below is a comparison photo of $0.50 worth of pecans. The large pile is pecan chips bought from the bent 'n' dent. The small pile is pecan pieces/quarters bought at retail from Kroger.
Should You EVER Buy Nuts?
Before I discovered a local-ish (within an hour) bent 'n' dent, I almost never bought nuts. Why purchase such a luxury when the same amount of money could buy ten-fold of a more useful staple like rice?
*Note: Part of this nut analysis was motivated by my secret plan to overthrow the diet food advertising barons that have drained so many wallets dry of grocery money. Having a nut-based diet (replacing real milk with almond milk, replacing real flour with almond flour, etc.) is so much more expensive than eating a variety of different food groups. For most people, I don't believe there is anything wrong with consuming wheat or dairy products. People who are allergic to these foods can go gluten free by simply not eating bread. Those allergic to dairy can stop drinking milk and drink water instead. No milk for cold cereal? Stop eating cold cereal for breakfast and start eating eggs. The nut-based diet should only be used for a) those who are gluten-, dairy-, AND egg-free (but apparently not allergic to nuts) or b) those who are willing and able to have a high grocery bill every month.
Even at $2.50 per pound, nuts are still more expensive than produce, grains, beans, white meat, and even some red meat and cheeses. Instead of a handful of nuts, you could buy a dozen eggs, a gallon of milk or a pound of meat. That one snack of nuts could be traded in for a week's worth of rice or two boxes of pasta. Even though I've found a "cheap" source of nuts, I still only use them on rare occasions. I would rather spend my grocery dollars on foods that stretch.
If you are still set on eating nut-based replacement foods for wheat and dairy, consider shopping at a discount store, buying expired or otherwise "imperfect" gluten free / dairy free ingredients or products to save money.
Do you use nuts? Why or why not? What is your favorite frugal tip for buying nuts?