Can you really save money by buying a bread machine?

Can you really save money by buying a bread machine?

Sometimes, the choice to invest in a bread maker isn’t based on a love of baking. It can be a matter of basic home economics. Bread makers are touted as being money-saving appliances, but are they really? Read on to find out!

Adding up the costs

Bread makers aren’t necessarily cheap. New machines can range from a low of US$40 to upwards of $400. The brand and features of the machine add in to the costs. Luckily, there are ways to find quality bread makers for cheap (see bread machines under $100). Many home cooks invest in bread machines only to sell them later after they’ve collected dust in the kitchen for a few years. You may be able to get a new or lightly used machine for as little as $10 if you keep your eyes open at garage sales or look on-line at sites like ebay and Amazon. $10 isn’t bad at all. The median price for a loaf of bread in 2013 was $2.20 in the United States (and many kinds of bread are even more expensive – check the prices of the loaves you normally purchase), so for less than the cost of 5 loaves of bread you can buy a bread maker.  You can frequently make a loaf of bread in a bread machine for under $1.50 per loaf, depending on the ingredients you use.  Even more expensive machines can eventually pay for themselves depending on how much you use them and how long you keep them.

What about supplies?

Beginning bread makers don’t have to invest in many supplies. For more on this, see my posts on bread machine supplies and stocking your bread machine pantry. Many of the supplies you need for basic bread-making are already in your kitchen.

Baking gourmet breads in your home kitchen can be a costly endeavor if you don’t budget carefully. Make smart choices, buy ingredients that you will use, and think about purchasing items like flour and yeast in bulk if you are planning to bake seriously on a regular basis.  This will really get your cost per loaf down.  However, some ingredients (for example nut flours) can go bad rather quickly so be careful buying large quantities of an ingredient you may use for just an occasional recipe.

Room for creativity

One of the major benefits of baking bread at home is that your creativity is allowed to run wild. You can bake nearly any flavor of bread that strikes your fancy in a home bread maker. The cost will be significantly cheaper than purchasing similar loaves from your grocery store, too. Imagine having a basil pesto loaf one week, and cinnamon raisin the next, followed by an asiago and prosciutto loaf the week after. That’s more than possible using your own machine. You also don’t have to run to the store to buy bread for your kid’s lunches at the night before. You can just bake a loaf of bread and serve them sandwiches made on your own homemade breads, and you’ll spend less time, too. That means gas, time, and money savings!  And we haven’t even gotten started on the health benefits.

Conclusion

There are many reasons that a home bread maker is an excellent, money-saving option. If you are contemplating buying one to help your family budget, it may be a very good option. Then again, if you buy the machine and don’t end up using it, it’s a waste of storage space. Make the most out of your bread machine, and aim for at least one loaf per week. Join me in the 50 Loaf Project if you need inspiration!

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