Is it really worth it? Those pancake mixes go on sale, small French baguettes are only a dollar, cookies are buy one get one free.... What about Poptarts for breakfast or something "easy?" Is making all that "stuff" from scratch really worth it financially? What's the trade off?
I decided to crunch some numbers and just get an idea of a rough comparison. I did not figure in salt, baking powder/soda, yeast (I get it cheap), spices, or vanilla. Therefore, I frequently rounded numbers up a touch. I also used the standard prices I pay for various raw ingredients--no rock bottom sales here, just the usual Sam's Club, Aldi, Kroger prices I usually pay.
The verdict? Scratch-made is DEFINITELY worth it (if you have the time, of course). It would be worth your while to crunch some numbers of your own to see what the tradeoff is. I would like to do some of our regular lunch/dinner features, but for now, here is a sampling of the rough cost of these homemade products (and these are all relatively easy things to make--the things I make the most). I should point out that most web sources estimated 18 cups of flour per 5 pound bag, but I don't think I get that. I went with the web numbers anyway....
- Whole Wheat Bread (half and half; not including wheat germ): $1.50/2 loaves*
- French Bread (1 LARGE Baguette): $0.40
- Sourdough Bread (1 LARGE free-form loaf): $0.47
- Fancier Whole Wheat Bread: $1.50/loaf*
- Oatmeal for my whole family including toppings such as brown sugar, Craisins, etc.: $1.32
- Steel-cut Oats (same toppings): $3.12 (surprising--didn't realize it would cost this much more!)
- Pancake Mix: $1.50/pound (not sure how much per "use" but I would need to add about $0.25 to complete it when I mixed it up)
- Cottage Cheese Pancakes: $1.38/batch (and we don't use syrup for these)
- Everyday Pancakes from scratch: $1/batch (serves 4-6)
- Sourdough Pancakes (less than above--not sure how much less)
- Basic Muffins: $0.81/12 muffins
- Biscuits: $0.68/10-12 biscuits
- Chocolate Chip Cookies: $1.65 for 50 cookies!!!!
*homemade loaves are hard to compare for sandwich loaves--they make better toast and are more filling, but we don't get as many sandwiches from them since they're not as big
So, financially speaking, it's worth it to keep making some things from scratch. This doesn't factor in superior taste and health on top of savings.