Friday, December 16, 2011

Baking as Cost Effectively as Possible

Ah, the season of stressful Christmas cooking baking is upon us.  That time of year when we are forced have the pleasure to bake unending batches of cookies and candies.  That time of year when we can go broke buying ingredients for our baking needs.

Let's face it, baking is expensive!  Have you checked out pecan prices this year?   If not you are going to be in a for a rude awakening when you go to make your candied pecans.  Some of us (yes, that would be me) don't think about ingredients until right before (or sometimes during) the baking day which makes the cost even more astronomical.  Do you know what a convenience store charges for sugar and an orange?  Ugh!

In my opinion, there are a few ways to cut down on the expense of baking.

1.  Cut back on the amount and varieties that you make. 

If you are one of those who really enjoy this time of year this may not be something you want to do.  However, if you find the baking season a little stressful cut back.  As I mentioned in the baking post in my "De-Stressing the Holidays series", we only made our family favorites this year.  I also cut down significantly on the number of batches I made of our favorite cookies.  Trust me, there is still plenty and I won't be throwing any away in January.

If money is really a concern, you may want to craft your list based on the cost of the ingredients.  If you skip the candied pecans you may be able to add two different types of cookies.  It's all about what's important to you and your family.

2.  Plan ahead.

This doesn't sound like fun, does it?  Planning ahead is really key if you want to pay the least amount for baking.  Planning ahead (and I'm talking months) allows you to keep your eyes open for sales.  Most baking items store well and can be kept for several months.  To assist you in your planning ahead I would recommend you do the following.
  • Make the list of goodies you plan on baking and the quantities needed.
  • Create a shopping list of items (and quantities) you need.
  • If possible, add the regular price of the item to your list.  This will help you when you are out shopping to know if it's a good deal or not.
  • Keep an eye out for coupons and specials, picking up and setting aside items when at a good price.
  • Buy one item a week over the course of several months to create your baking stock pile without breaking the bank.
3.  Share the pain.

Cooking together is not only more fun it can also be more cost effective.  We've done many multi-generational baking days over the years.  One thing that I've found is that sometimes one of us may have the expensive items needed already in our pantry.  We typically make the shopping list and then go through on own pantries committing to certain items.  For any items not on the list we'll all chip in money for one of us to pick up the rest of the ingredients.

By cooking as a group, if you choose to, you can usually have a larger variety of cookies in smaller quantities.  Multiple hands make the baking of different cookies easier.  An added bonus is the memories that you will have of spending the day together.

Do you have any other recommendations for saving money baking?

You may also like:

Popcorn Balls
Carrot Cookies
Sweet & Salty Snowmen
Christmas Tree Cheese Display

1 comment:

  1. Planning ahead definitely helps! It also helps to make the cookie dough ahead of time, too.

    I'll have to check out your series. I think I read one of the posts before; the title sounds familiar.