Financial Literacy February- Dessert$
For as long as I can remember, I have coveted sweets.
I grew up in a household where the sweetest thing in the pantry was a pretzel. When I would ask for dessert, on of my parents would hand me a carrot and the carrot peeler. I remember literally salivating one when I heard my dad use the phrase “piece of cake” when talking to the landlord. I even remember the specific cake that I was salivating for: yellow with chocolate frosting. I heard him say it through the window, and taking it literally, ran outdoors in pursuit of a sweet treat. Well over 20 years later, I am still disappointed with the linguistic lesson that stepped in the way of my desired (and nonexistent) dessert.
And well over 20 years later, I have the strongest sweet tooth of any of my peers. Up until fairly recently, I would have a dessert every day. Somewhere between waking up and brushing and flossing before bed, I would without doubt have a delightful and indulgent few moments with a cookie, a cone of soy ice cream, something from the vending machine at work, a vegan doughnut from whole foods, an elderly candy cane or coat pocket starlight mint if I was desperate. I blame it on my parents.
This is not to say that I don’t like real foods. I love them, especially the ridiculously healthy ones. I’m a strict vegan and I otherwise eat mostly unprocessed foods and produce from the farmers market. I don’t own a microwave, and I’m too cheap to buy most prepared meals. Desserts have always been an exception for me. While I’ll balk at paying $6 for a sack of rice that will last two weeks, I’ve tended to think nothing of throwing down $2.50 for a delicious cookie that will last 15 minutes or less. Not to say that the cookie isn’t delicious (it is! The picture below has made me really, really want one)– but there have certainly been eras where I’ve one of them every single day. That’s a lot of money for someone who has mostly lived on the financial fringe.
Alternative Baking Company is a brand that I can feel non-evil about supporting– but I’ve certainly had a number of rendez vous with Red Vines, the accidentally vegan animal cookies in the vending machine at one of my jobs, soda (ewwww) when I worked restaurant jobs and it was free, accidentally-vegan cheap store brand cookies…
But getting to the point of this post. This is not a post about getting healthier. This is not a post about making ethical dessert choices. As it is “Financial Literacy February,” this is a post about saving money. Let’s say I was spending $2/day on desserts. Not bad (and certainly not as bad as those poor souls who spend $6 every morning on coffee have it), until I consider that’s around $60 per month. $60 is a pair of shoes, a week and a half of local produce for a household of 2 people, one tenth of a pretty great bicycle (so great that it would get stolen in 2 seconds), a museum membership, half of a dremel, or about a bajillion of the things that I covet on Etsy. $60 is a lot of money!
But I love sweets, and I think that abandoning my sweet tooth cold turkey would take a sizable chunk of joy out of my life. February’s deal is that if I want a dessert, I have to make it myself. This will save money, both because ingredients are cheaper than finished products, and because I’m pretty busy these days– I don’t have a lot of time to bake. This fate is far from unpleasant– I’m quite a proficient baker, and I can throw together batch of cookies in less than 10 minutes.
I’m doing ok so far– I made chocolate chip cookies last week that were pretty decadent. They were chewy and crispy, all at once! I did buy a quart of vanilla soy ice cream from trader joes– though its original intention was as an element of Monday mornings homemade strawberry shortcake. I think it still counts as purchasing a ready made dessert. But no one’s tracking points here.