Thursday, March 21, 2013

Thrifty Thursday: Cheaper to make or buy??

I was trying to figure out if making things homemade was cheaper than buying them at the store.  My husband always makes fun of me because I refuse to buy store bought bread when I can just throw it in the bread machine and 3 hours later- a miracle happens and we have a loaf of hot bread.  He used to really like soft store bought bread but I have worked really hard on my recipe and I think that he is starting to really like the homemade stuff too.  But the question remains, is it really cheaper?

A loaf of store brand white sandwich bread is between $0.99 and $1.87 at most of the stores around here.  I am sure this is one of those things that varies around the country but I hope that most people are getting a similar price.

On the other hand, making a loaf of my sandwich bread uses the following ingredients:

3 1/2 cups bread flour
1 cup warm milk
1/3 cup warm water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine
3 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons salt
1 envelope (about 2¼ teaspoons) instant yeast

I have a hard time figuring out the price of these items but I know that I have a range from the shelf price to the sale price with coupons on what I pay for things.  For example, bread flour is usually $3.99 for a 5 lb bag but I got over 10 bags for $1.97.  The other thing is to figure out how many cups are in the 5 pound bag.  I am assuming that I get 17.5 cups of flour from each bag (based on some number from the internet).  I don't usually pay for butter or salt with sales and coupons.  The honey was a gift from my parents so the high price is totally made up because I don't know how much it would cost or how far the big jar would last.

                       Low       High
Bread flour     $0.39     $0.80
Milk               $0.00     $0.25
Water            $0.00     $0.00
Butter            $0.00     $0.06
Honey           $0.00     $0.12
Salt               $0.00     $0.00
Yeast            $0.19     $0.25

Total             $0.58     $1.48

With the low prices, it only costs me $0.58 to make a loaf of bread.  That is a super great price on a healthy loaf of bread.  That is a nice price because just in case I don't have free butter or milk that week, adding in just one more item at cost will still keep the price under $0.99 per loaf.  The bonus is that I am making my family something fresh without preservatives at that price.

On the high side, the cost would be $1.48 which really isn't bad for on demand fresh, healthy bread but maybe higher than I would be able to buy at the store some days.

This was a really valuable exercise for me because I didn't really know which was cheaper.  Of course that doesn't bring into account the cost of a bread machine but I have had mine for years.  Plus, I use it for making pizza dough and other items.

I hope that you take a minute to figure out if what you are doing is saving money for your family.  It helps to figure out where you can save money and what things aren't helping you save.  How much does it cost you to buy bread at the store?  How much does it cost to make it?

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