JA: There is an expression in England, “penny wise, or pound stupid” cautioning you to look at the big picture, because we often scrimp where it ends up costing us more in the long run. Personal Chef Approach™ member Rachel Cree-Lowe puts the PCA™ to the test, and finds out how the cost of membership actually saves you money.
RCL: The last time I walked into a mall with intent to buy something for myself and no one else is a faint memory. As a lot of you know, when you have children, a spouse, rent or mortgage payments – most of your waking moments are spent trying to think ahead about what the needs are, and not so much about the fun or frivolous. For a lot of us, keeping ahead is proving to be more and more difficult. I never spent like a rockstar exactly, but I have been known to go into a shoe store and go a little spend happy.
So now I’ve kind of grown up and like many families, we struggle and have to plan way ahead for things. No vacations, not many extras and certainly not a huge walk in closet of designer gear. It seems like once you’ve figured out where to save some money, another area suddenly increases. One of those areas that seems to keep going up is electricity.
They recently installed ‘smart metres’ here in Canada which were supposed to help bring the cost of the power down. Basically, if you use the power at certain times, you get a bit of a break. It sounds like a fantastic idea until you realize the most costly time to use the power is when you actually NEED to use it. The rates decrease at 5 pm during the summer and 7 pm in winter. Wait a minute… most people would be in the middle of cooking dinner around then! In summer, you do get 2 hours ‘back’ but most people are also cooking outdoors then, and in winter you are completely out of luck. The stove is a huge power hog, so you’re paying top dollar for your power in addition to the money you already spent on the groceries. Weekends are flat out lower rates so you can really live it up then! So what to do?
Easy! The PCA™ means you cook once a week (I cook Sunday afternoons as a rule) and simply heat for small amounts of time during the week – but you still get the taste, nutrition and home made goodness you would if you cooked every day. Plus… instead of wasting time cooking every night, you can actually be doing other things right up until about 10 minutes before you and your family sit down to eat.
As an experiment one week, I decided to cook on Monday instead of Sunday. In addition to it being a huge pain (time is at a premium on Monday nights with the school run, extracurricular activities, and homework to deal with), when I got the electric bill there was a difference in price. Okay, it wasn’t hundreds of dollars … for that week it was a little less than $2.00, but add it all up. Times that by 5-7 days a week, then by 52 weeks, and it does make more than $500.00 difference per year! That will help buy a lot of those necessities we worry about.
Before my experiment, I mainly looked to PCA for the way it made the week run smoother… whether the kids are at school or not, I love the time it saves me, and knowing my family were eating well. Looking at the cost made even more sense – I realized not only was my PCA™ membership paying for itself, it was giving me a 5 x return on my investment, and that’s not even taking into consideration the grocery savings.
I’ll tell anyone how well it works, and yes, I have picky eaters. Believe me, 2 kids and British husband raised in the 70s who seems to have the same whacky taste buds… or lack of… and I was so sick of being asked “so what’s for dinner” 50 times a day, and not really knowing. Sick of throwing out things I had forgotten to use in meals, or the meals themselves that were not a hit. I’ve learned about food and that it DOES matter where it’s from and what’s IN it.
Sure … the first time I did all the cooking in one day, I was wondering if this was going to work or not. There is work involved, but when I saw how easy the rest of the week went, I was hooked. With practice it gets easier and just becomes habit. I’d recommend the PCA™ to anyone… even if it is just for a few months… you’ll be hooked. It’s money well invested instead of spent.