We’ve all seen them, and many of us absolutely love them – those 100 calorie snack packs. They are great for on the go. Each time we pull out one of those tiny little packets we know that our hunger will be curved for a moment longer without adding several hundred calories that we will have to burn off later at the gym.

But for many of us we have forgone these fun little treats. The economy is down, and those snacks can cost anywhere from $4.00 – $6.00 a box. And with only 6 packets, the cost can add up quickly.

Well here are a few alternatives to satisfy your hunger and your budget:

Start by buying the snacks you do love – Chips, pretzels, beef jerky, crackers, and so on. Buy them in their regular bags or in bulk if you desire. Then add a large box of sandwich size zip lock bags to your cart. The truth is that when it comes to most of those snack packs they only make the product smaller, what is in the product doesn’t change. With this knowledge you can create your own snack packs at a fraction of the cost. Plus you can increase the variety of your snacks.

Making your little snack bags is fairly simple. As I’m sure most of us are aware products today have the nutrition facts on the label. To figure up how much of an item is equal to 100 calories you simply take the calories and divide it by the amount per serving. That is how many calories a single (chip, cracker, cookie, etc.) has in it. Then you take 100 and divide it by the number you just calculated. This will tell you how many it takes to make a serving of 100 calories.

Example: Lays Baked Original Potato Chips are 110 calories per serving. A serving is 11 chips. If you divide 110 by 11 you get 10. That means there is 10 calories per chip. Now take 100 and divide that by 10 and you get 10. This means that 10 chips will equal 100 calories.

Now to make the snack bags all you have to do is fill up those zip lock bags with 10 chips each!

IF you desire you may also choose to weigh out the food following the nutrition label’s weight measurement per serving instead. Just use the amount per serving weight rather than number of (chips, crackers, etc).

You’ll be amazed at your savings. For example, if a box of snack packs costs you $4 – $6, that is $.65 – $1.00 per serving. A bag of Baked Lays, at about $4.00, a bag has 14 ounces. That is about $.28 a serving, factor in the cost of the zip lock bags (about 2 cents a bag) and your total cost is $.30 a serving. That might not seem like much broken down, but if you look close you received 14 servings out of that one bag of chips, and only 6 servings out of a box of 100 calorie snack packs. That is 8 more servings.

Want to really see the savings add up? Let’s say you eat 2 snack packs a day, which is $1.30 – $2.00 a day, which is $9.10 – $14.00 a week, $36.00 – $56.00 a month and $473.20 – $728.00 a year. Now, if we factor in the Baked lays cost, considering it an average of all different types of snack you would buy throughout the year, then you costs are $.60 a day, $4.20 a week, $16.80 a month, and $218.40 a year. That is more than half the cost. And when you add in factors like the ability to increase the variety of what you can snack on, decrease your carbon footprint on the earth due to less waist, and the possibility of finding snacks that will satisfy your hunger – there is no comparison.

There are so many alternatives out there for you to choose from. Without the limited variety of snack packs holding you back you can find healthier alternatives in crackers made with whole grains, items like dried fruits and nuts, and even fresh fruits and vegetables. So stop limiting yourself and go out and make your body and your wallet happy.