Is homemade always cheaper than pre-made?

Sandra puts pre-made and homemade food to the financial test. Which one do you think comes out on top?

Sandra's homemade tomato sauce

I’m happy to report I’ve been faithful to my bulk-cooking pledge. Every Sunday, I cook that evening’s meal as well as a big batch of something else. So far: lentil soup (twice); lasagna; beef bourguignon; and homemade tomato sauce.
 
Clearly, the latter would be a super-cheap freezer-filler if I’d had a garden full of ripe tomatoes to use up. Alas, no such luck (tiny urban backyard, no time to cultivate, lots of hungry squirrels that sabotage even my annual potted sage); I had to base my sauce on canned tomatoes.
 
Still, it seemed to me that my giant Dutch oven full of low-sodium, homemade goodness must trump individual glass jars of mass-manufactured sauce. So let’s compare.
 
My usual jarred pasta sauce: $2.49 for 650 mL on sale
 
My homemade, big-batch pasta sauce:
No-salt added canned tomatoes: $1.89 x 3
2 onions: $0.50
1 red pepper: $2.00
½ bunch fresh flatleaf parsley: $0.79
4 cloves garlic: negligible (3 heads of garlic were on sale for $0.59)
Dried oregano and basil from pantry: negligible
Sliced cremini mushrooms: $2
Olive oil from pantry: negligible
TOTAL: $10.96
Makes: approximately 6 jars worth of sauce
Cost per “jar”: $1.83
 
So, huge savings? Not really – especially if I factor in the value of my labour. But huge satisfaction? Absolutely.
 
What’s your take – do you feel that cooking in bulk saves you a ton of money, or is the payoff the ability to serve your family home-cooked meals, even on busy weeknights? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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