I was recently given a pizza stone for my birthday, this specific one from Amazon, in fact. According to the price tracking site camelcamelcamel.com, the price of the stone fluctuates between $30 and $50 dollars. Still, what my friends gave me was worth thousands.
They didn’t get ripped off. In fact, they made out pretty well, as they are recipients of many delicious pizzas that come off of it. So why is it worth so much money?
Like many Americans, pizza is a staple of my diet (or lack of diet). There is an excellent pizza joint a few miles from my house that I wound up going to almost every week since I moved in to my house. An extra-large pizza costs $17.95, and a pitcher of Yuengling is around $9, for a total of $35.67 after tax and tip. I can make a pitcher of home-brew and, after getting this pizza stone, make a pizza for around $5.00, no tip necessary. That’s a savings of $30.67 a week, and I decided to invest it.
Assuming this making my own pizza thing is a fad, and I only do it for a year, when I’m 67 I’ll have $13,899.46 from the first year savings of $1,594.84.
If I slow down my pizza making next year, and alternate between going to the pizza place one week, and making my own pizza the next, I’d have $20,394.54 at age 67. Say I eat out 3 times a month and make my own pizza once a month for the following 10 years, I’d have $43,203.89 at age 67. It’s amazing how quickly the cost of pizza and beer add up.
$35.67 might not seem like a lot of money, but it goes to show if you apply a magnifying glass to your spending, just how quickly the opportunities for saving money appear. Bump up your 401(k) or IRA contributions by the savings, and you’ll only notice a $24.53 reduction in your paycheck for each $30.67 you deposit (assuming you’re in the 25% tax bracket).
In 2015, the average 401(k) balance for folks 65 and older was $72,957. This small amount of money would give me 60% of the average 401(k) balance at full retirement age. The only age group with a higher average balance is the 55-64 age group, with an average balance of $76,381. Every dollar counts.
I’m still experimenting with how I make my pizzas. Originally I made my own dough using the recipe that was included with pizza stone, but I wasn’t a big fan of it. Costco sells bags of pre-made pizza dough for $5 that is good for 4 pizzas. I roll that out, then put it on a piece of parchment paper so I don’t run into any issues getting it on and off of the peel.
I then brush on some olive oil and sprinkle some garlic powder. Next comes plain tomato sauce, basil, thyme, oregano, salt, and pepper. The sky is then the limit for toppings; I’m a fan of cheese, mushrooms, and pepperoni. If I have time, I let it sit for 20 minutes or so to let it rise. I’m still experimenting, so I’d love to hear any suggestions for a better pizza, and ways to cut spending in daily routines.