How to Save on Holiday Baking
Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone, the holiday season officially begins. If one of your seasonal traditions includes baking delicious homemade treats to share with friends and family, you know how expensive it can be. Fortunately, with some strategic planning and shopping, you can cut the costs of holiday baking and still create mountains of tasty, Instagram-worthy treats. Here’s how:
Plan Your Treats — Santa isn’t the only one who should be making a list and checking it twice this time of year. Before you start your holiday baking, make a list of everything you plan to bake. Try to plan recipes that use some of the same ingredients to limit your investment in raw materials.
Use What You Have — If you maintain a well-stocked pantry year ‘round, you should have much of what you need to start your holiday baking already on-hand, including basics like flour and sugar. Chances are you also have things like chocolate chips, nuts and decorative sprinkles. Be sure to check that everything is still within the usable window for its freshness date, then get to baking.
Buy in Bulk (without over-buying) — Visit your favorite warehouse store to get the best deal on the basics including flour, brown sugar, and baking soda. The trick here is to not over-buy, particularly if you only bake once a year at the holidays. If you don’t use the ingredients right away, place them in airtight containers marked with the date of purchase so you don’t forget. All types of sugar (white, powdered, brown, etc.) have an indefinite shelf life. Flour, on the other hand, can become stale, so it’s extra important to store and label it carefully.
Stack Your Savings — Warehouse clubs aren’t the only places to save on ingredients. If you shop at grocery and discount stores, be sure to stack your savings when items you need are on sale by also using coupons, store savings apps or asking to price match with other retailers. The extra few minutes it takes to find a coupon or load an app will be worth the savings.
Keep it Simple — Unless you’re a master baker whose creations come out perfectly every time, avoid trying complicated new recipes during the holidays. Instead, focus on the treats you know your friends and family enjoy. As much as a fancy recipe might seem impressive, it can also be expensive to buy uncommon ingredients, such as rare spices, that you may only end up using one time. Plus, experimental baking can lead to whole batches being inedible, which not only costs you money, but valuable time, too.