Is It Cheaper To Make Your Own Trail Mix? [Pros & Cons]

Trail mix has always been a favorite snack for my children. It is a rare treat for them because it is a little pricey. With three children at home, it is difficult to keep it around.

Fortunately, there are ways to make your own trail mix and save money doing it.

Generally speaking, it is cheaper to make your own trail mix at home than it is to buy it at the store. Finding the right ingredients for your price range is one way to do this.

Some ingredients are cheaper than others, so weigh your options carefully. Nut allergies and health concerns can keep us from enjoying traditional trail mix, but there are also easy ways to make your own nut-free or healthy trail mix from your own home.

Is It Cheaper To Make Your Own Trail Mix Or Buy It?

Fortunately for those of you who love trail mix but don’t appreciate the high price tag, it is cheaper to make your own trail mix at home. The trick to making your own at a cheap price is choosing your ingredients carefully and making the ratio of the more pricey items less than the expensive items.

This can be done easily with a little bit of planning on your part.

How To Make Your Own Trail Mix

Making your own trail mix at home can be done in three easy steps. First, choose your own ingredients. You can choose from a variety of ingredients, depending on what type of trail mix you want.

Second, measure your ingredients. You can choose whatever amount of ingredients to include in your trail mix, but try adding a higher amount of the healthier items than the sweet, sugary items.

Finally, you pour all of your ingredients into a container, seal it, and shake it up.

Healthy Trail Mix Options

Healthy trail mix can be made at home as well. Measurements and quantities will be important when deciding how healthy you want your trail mix to be.

There are many add-ins for your trail mix that will make it more healthy than store-bought trail mix.

How Long Will Your Trail Mix Last?

You can store your trail mix, depending on the types of ingredients used, for up to one month in an air-tight container.

Sweet And Healthier Trail Mix Add-Ins

Instead of using regular chocolate chips, you can add in a few dark chocolate chips. Dark chocolate is healthier in small quantities. Adding dried fruit is also a great way to get that sweet flavor that you may be craving.

If you are a fan of coconut, try adding a few coconut shavings into your mixture. Be careful to measure the sugar intake on the items you are choosing to get that sweet flavored add-in. 

Healthier Seed Add-Ins For Homemade Trail Mix

For the seed part of your trail mix, you can stick to pumpkin and sunflower seeds as a healthier alternative. Be sure to check the sodium levels on the ingredients you buy. You can add some popcorn, pretzels, or cereal as healthier options as well.

Healthier Nut Add-Ins For Homemade Trail Mix

Nuts are a large part of trail mix, and they are partly to blame for the cost of trail mix being so high. Being choosy about the type of nut add-ins and their prices will help you keep your price lower when making your homemade trail mix.

Choosing two types of nuts and adding more of the cheaper add-ins like seeds, dried fruits, cereals, and popcorn can keep the overall price down.

Some different nut options are pecans, walnuts, and cashews. If you live in an area where pecans are grown, you can buy them locally from farmers or fruit stands. Buying a larger container of these might also be helpful with saving money because you can use them for making more than one batch of trail mix.

Is Trail Mix Healthy?

Trail mix is a snack that many people choose because it can easily be taken on the go. You can throw some in a container and take it with you to snack on during the day. Eating a lot of trail mix can be unhealthy, depending on the ingredients that are used.

If there are a lot of sugars in the trail mix, then eating a lot of it can be unhealthy. Some trail mixes have nuts that are coated in sugar. Avoid those types of nuts when making your own at home.

Trail Mix

Sometimes nuts and seeds are salted. If you have to keep an eye on your sodium levels, try to choose add-ins that have low-sodium choices, such as Planter’s Low Sodium peanuts.

Nuts, seeds, dried fruits, and chocolate are all ingredients that contain calories. You can still make your own homemade trail mix, and put in less of these ingredients and more of the healthier options to balance it out.

It’s also important to remember that a lot of food can be unhealthy if we eat too much of it. Portion control is important with any food. One portion of trail mix is considered to be about ¼ cup or 35 grams.

Pros And Cons Of Homemade Trail Mix And Store Bought Trail Mix

        Store-Bought                    Homemade                      

Pros-No time spent making the trail mix; you can buy it at the store easily.-Control your own portions and add-ins


-Customize your ingredients

-Choose healthier options

-Make trail mix nut-free

Cons-No control over the ingredients


-Some nuts are rich in sodium

-Can’t choose a nut-free option

-Choosing the ingredients for yourself takes time


-Measuring the ingredients and mixing the trail mix can take more time than picking it up at the store.

Ingredient Price Break Down Of Store Bought Trail Mix And Homemade Trail Mix

A standard 6 oz. package of Planter’s Sweet and Salty Trail Mix costs $3.99 at Walgreens and $2.49 at Rite Aid. The prices will vary at different stores. Planter’s Sweet and Salty Trail Mix ingredients are listed below and then broken down into a price per ounce.

There are also some suggestions as to what you can do to lower your price, even more, when you make your own trail mix.

IngredientsWeightPrice at StorePrice Per OunceSuggestions and tips
M & M’s21.3 oz.$ 5.00$ .23*Use less of these
Almonds6 oz.$ 3.79$ .63*Make sure they aren’t coated in sugar.
Peanuts16 oz.$ 3.49$ .22*Choose one nut option instead of three. Cheapest nut, so use more of these.
Raisins24 oz. can$ 3.99$ .17*Cheapest item, so use more of these.
Cashews16 oz. can$ 6.99$ .44*Choose a different nut. Most expensive item.

You can use these ingredients multiple times. If you added them all together at once, you would have a large amount. Measure out your ingredients and lean heavily on the above ingredients that are cheaper.

Also, explore some of the above-mentioned add-ins for substitutions to help fit your budget.

Cheaper Option With Suggested Ratios

For a cheaper option for homemade trail mix, mix the following ingredients for your Sweet and Salty Homemade Trail Mix. Leaving out one of the nut options will allow you to lower your price for making homemade trail mix.

Mix 1 ounce of M&M’s, 2 ounces of raisins, 2 ounces of peanuts, and 1 ounce of cashews. I chose to leave out the almonds because they were the most expensive nut. You can replace this with some of the seed options mentioned earlier if you want to.

Suggested Homemade Sweet And Salty Measurements And Price 

IngredientsMeasurementPrice per ounces used
M&M’s2 ounces$ .46
Raisins2 ounces$ .34
2 ounces$ .44
Cashews1 ounce$ .44
Total7 ounces$ 1.68

As you can see from the chart above, making your own homemade version of Planter’s Sweet and Salty mix is cheaper than buying a package from the store. Not only that, but you get an extra ounce of trail mix.

Be sure to substitute different ingredients out and use the prices above to help you determine what is the best option for you.

Options For Nut-Free Trail Mix

Nut allergies are an issue that many people are faced with. These allergies can cause reactions that range from mild to severe and life-threatening.

For those of you who need a nut-free option for trail mix, you can use a lot of ingredients for your trail mix. Just be sure to make sure there are no nut additives in the items you use.

Popcorn, M&M’s, raisins, and pretzels are always a favorite amongst my children. Sometimes I add Goldfish into the mixture as well. My kids love this snack, and it’s easy to prepare and take on the go.

In Conclusion

It is cheaper to make your own trail mix. Seven ounces of homemade trail mix is cheaper than six ounces of Planter’s Sweet and Salty Mix. Not only is it cheaper, but it gives you control over the items you are using for the trail mix.

For those with health issues, allergies, or people who may be looking for a healthy snack, it’s important to have control over what goes into your body. Making your own homemade trail mix will allow you to have control over the portions and ingredients in your trail mix. 

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