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Budget Baking: A Baker’s Guide To Shopping & Saving Money

Just in time for the holidays, here is my how-to guide to budget baking, with helpful shopping trips to help save money.

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Hi Bold Bakers!

WHAT YOU GET: Here’s a great how-to guide to shopping and saving money while budget baking! I’ll give you some great tips on how to save while buying ingredients for all your baking needs.

Baking can seem like an extravagance. If you’ve ever been on a budget before or just prefer to keep an eye on spending, it’s hard to bring yourself to purchase ingredients to make a dessert. But it doesn’t have to be that way!

I understand that things are expensive at the moment, and while I love baking, ingredients are at an all-time high right now. But there are a few tips and tricks I’ve learned to help save money, which can be a real lifesaver when it comes to holiday season baking!

I love baking, especially around the holidays. It’s so lovely to surprise family and friends with homemade treats — but the holidays are already a pretty expensive time of the year. Thankfully, these budget baking tips will help you save a few dollars on ingredients, so you can feed your baking habit without draining your bank account!

Buy In Bulk For Budget Baking

Baking on a budget tip: buy in bulk! Yes, you will pay more for a giant bag of flour than a small bag, but you’ll get more product for your money. If you use a lot of a certain ingredient, you will spend less money in the long run if you buy a bigger bag at a discounted price. Instead of buying a 5lb bag of flour at the store, which has gone up nearly 20% since 2020, I buy a 15 lb bag. It lasts me for months!

Other great ingredients to buy in bulk are sugar, raising agents, salt, chocolate chip, and more.

If you’re wondering where to buy in bulk, you can usually find larger items at wholesale clubs, like Costco, Smart and Final, BJ’s, and Sam’s Club.

If buying in bulk, make sure you don’t get so much that you know you won’t go through it before it expires. Most of the ingredients listed above should last a while, but you wouldn’t want to spend the money on a giant bag of something and only get to use half of it before having to throw it away.

How do you know if buying in bulk is saving you money? At the grocery store, check out the sticker by the product you’re planning to buy — it will list the price and the unit price. The price tells you the cost of each package, while the unit price tells you how much money you’re paying for a specified amount of the product (usually a pound, kilogram, etc.) This is a great way to know if you’re saving money because if you buy in bulk, although the total price may be higher, the unit price will be much lower, meaning you’re spending less per unit of measurement.

Stock Up On Nonperishables

Using nonperishables, like canned foods, is a great budget baking tip. Canned foods are cheaper and last longer than fresh food, so you can stock up on them and keep them in the house whenever you need them. Plus, canned foods are packed during peak season, so you know you’re getting a good product! 

When you think of canned foods, your mind probably goes to canned vegetables or tuna — but there are other canned foods that are great for baking!

Canned fruits, like canned pineapple, can be used in pineapple upside-down cake instead of fresh pineapple. 

And other products can even be used as a replacement. Canned pumpkin or applesauce can be replaced in a 1:1 ratio with oil in lots of desserts such as cakes. Using applesauce won’t change the flavor of the baked good, but pumpkin will add a nice fall flavor to your desserts without overpowering them. To make sure my applesauce goes a long way, I like using the little cups because I find the big tub goes bad fast after opening, even in the fridge. 

Another great nonperishable ingredient to keep on hand while baking on a budget is powdered products, like powdered milk. If you’ve never used powdered milk, all you have to do is mix the powder with water, following the instructions on the package.

Utilize The Freezer

The freezer is a huge asset that could help you save money by prolonging your ingredients’ shelf life. Not only can you freeze your finished products to make them last longer, but most ingredients can be frozen, too, such as butter, milk, grated cheese, buttermilk, meat, fruits, vegetables, and more! You can also freeze whole wheat flour to prevent it from spoiling as fast. Make sure to let the ingredients come to room temperature before using, and you’re good to go. 

Freezers come in handy when you only use a bit of an ingredient you don’t typically use. Many people don’t use buttermilk or heavy cream daily — which means half a carton could end up in the trash. Instead, freeze whatever leftovers you have in 2-cup measurements in Tupperware. Next time you and the kids want pancakes or waffles, you have the exact amount you need.

Pop that frozen buttermilk in the microwave to defrost, and you’re ready to go — and have zero waste!

Buy In Season

Buying fruits and vegetables in peak season is ideal for the best flavor and a price that won’t rob the bank. While produce is in season, there’s plenty to go around, so supermarkets don’t feel bad lowering the price to get it off their hands before it goes bad.

Buying in bulk helps you out here too! I love buying and freezing fruit in bulk when it’s in season.

To freeze fresh fruit, wash and cut your fruit (if needed,) place it in one layer on a baking tray, and freeze for 3 hours. Once it’s frozen solid, move the frozen fruit to a Ziploc bag and store it in your freezer for up to 8 months.

I use this fruit straight from the freezer (still frozen) for oatmeal, pancakes, jam making, cobblers, crisps, smoothies, you name it. Delicious, cheap, in-season fruit for your baking all year long! 

Save Money By Making Your Own Ingredients

One great way to save money is to make your own ingredients, and once you get going, you’ll be shocked at how easy it is to make so many things at home! Not to mention, it’s so gratifying to make a dessert where you also made the ingredients in it!

Ever been in the middle of making a cake and realized you don’t have any cake flour? Put the car keys down. You can make it at home with my recipe for Homemade Cake Flour! It’s cheaper than store-bought, and you can make the exact amount of flour you need for the recipe instead of buying a whole box.

Check out some of my recipes in my Bold Baking Basics section for more great homemade ingredients, like:

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Teri
Teri
19 days ago

you can also utilize Amazon Subscribe and Save to purchase ingredients often in bulk sizes when you live in an area without the resources of big box stores. Also utilize your relationships with your local stores, often they can order items and give you a % off if you order in bulk. It never hurts to ask.

About Us

Meet Gemma

About Us

Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, a cookbook author, and the creator of Bigger Bolder Baking. I want to help you bake with confidence anytime, anywhere with my trusted and tested recipes and baking tips. You may have seen one of my 500+ videos on YouTube & TikTok or as a guest judge on Nailed It! on Netflix or the Best Baker in America on Food Network. No matter your skills, my Bold Baking Team & I want to be your #1 go-to baking authority.

 

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