Baking can be a fun way to express your creativity, relieve stress, or just have fun, but it can also be an expensive hobby. There are a lot of shortcuts and workarounds that will allow you to continue baking while not breaking the budget though! Here are some tips to help you cut back on your baking expenses without sacrificing quality.
- Use and Reuse – When you’ve used a whole stick of butter, keep the empty wrapper in the fridge and use it to grease baking sheets or pans. It eliminates the need for cooking spray and, let’s face it, it tastes way better!
- Keep Box Mixes On-Hand – Stock up on box mixes when you find a great sale. Search for dessert recipes that use a box mix plus another ingredient or two. You’ll be surprised what kinds of amazing desserts start with a box and you can increase your savings by using coupons!
- Don’t Buy Ingredients Specific to Just One Recipe – Many recipes will call for special candies or chocolate bars. Skip this step by using what you have in the pantry. Keep a good supply of extracts like peppermint and almond to achieve those tasty flavors without breaking the bank. You can also chop your own chocolate bars instead of buying chocolate chips or buy the store brand/dollar store version of nuts and sprinkles. Get creative!
- Use Seasonal Fruits – During the winter months, apples, pears, and citrus fruits are bountiful and can be made into cozy, warm desserts like pies, tarts and cakes. In the summer, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries and tropical fruits are wonderful for lighter, no bake desserts. Purchasing only in-season fruits will be much friendlier to your budget and give you an easy place to start from.
- Avoid Recipes That Require Expensive Ingredients – Sometimes it is possible to omit expensive ingredients, but if the ingredient is absolutely essential, skip the recipe and look for an alternative or a similar dish. Pinterest and Google are your friends!
- Never Throw Anything Away – Have cut-outs or trimmings from making cakes? Store them in the freezer and use them to make truffles! Broken biscuit pieces are perfect for cheesecake bases, bars or a take on strawberry shortcake. Scour your baking books or the internet for ideas for your extra tidbits!
- Expensive Equipment Is Not Essential – While a stand mixer may feel like the lifesaver you dream of, it’s not actually an essential appliance for baking. People have been baking for thousands of years without electricity! A simple whisk and some elbow grease will do the trick and is significantly cheaper.
- Learn to Substitute – The more you bake, the more comfortable you’ll get with branching out and trying to substitute items. An amazing resource is the website The Cook’s Thesaurus. Not everything you try will work, so keep notes to avoid making the same mistake twice! That said, it will help you in a pinch (“Yikes, I broke the one egg I had left!”) as well as give you various ideas for other replacement options. This is also a great resource if you’re trying to bake healthier.
If you have the basic components for baking, it doesn’t have to be expensive! Looking for recipe inspiration? Google the items you have on-hand. Use your resources wisely and you’ll be amazed at what can come out of your kitchen!