Saving money and living on a budget doesn’t mean forgoing your favorite baked treats. Baking at home is typically much less expensive than purchasing baked goods from a grocery store or local bakery. Plus, making that homemade loaf of bread or pie will make your home smell wonderful.
- Check a local farmers’ market for fruits, honey, eggs, and other ingredients. Produce that is in season and purchased directly from the farmers is frequently cheaper and of better quality than what you will find at your local grocery store. When something great is in season, stock up and try new recipes featuring the item. San Francisco has a rich tradition of farmers markets, from the Alemany Farmers’ Market which began in the 1940s, to the Ferry Plaza Market, which is open three days a week. Nearly every Bay Area city has a farmers’ market to shop. You can find current listings online at SFGate and other websites.
- Use coupons on staple ingredients. Companies frequently put out coupons for baking supplies during the holiday seasons. Items such as active dry yeast, which typically has a long shelf life, can often be purchased at a discounted rate with holiday coupons. Take advantage of the deals and stock up on what you will need for the next few months. Many people pass by coupons because “it’s only a couple dollars.” But, if you save a couple dollars on every shopping trip, you will notice the earnings by the end of the year.
- Check bulk bins. Many large grocery chains now include bulk bins in their stores. Look for flour, sugar, nuts, and spices in bulk. Not only are they often pennies on the dollar when compared to packaged products, but you only have to buy as much as you need. This way, you won’t end up with more spices than you could possibly use before they begin to lose their flavor.
- Invest in quality pans and bakeware. While it may seem like a great deal to buy that inexpensive springform pan, you may find yourself needing to replace it sooner than you would like. Before you assume something is a great deal, consider that it might break or rust down the line.
- Plan in advance. If you know you are going to be taking on a large baking product, start keeping an eye out on the sale prices now. Waiting until you are out of an item and need it for a product will almost guarantee that you pay too much. Keep an inventory of your pantry and check it once a month. This will help you find out ahead of time what items you need.
The neighborhoods of San Francisco are full of specialty markets and shops. Check out local businesses and you may be surprised at the deals you find.