Have you thought about your Christmas baking budget? Home made cakes, biscuits, and sweets are a great addition to your Christmas menu. They also make great home made gifts to give to your friends and family.
If you are like me you probably buy all of the Christmas foodie magazines and drool over the beautifully decorated goodies you see before your eyes and think “I can do that!”.
Fast forward to the shopping bill after you have purchased everything you need to make your home baked goodies and you wonder if you could have just bought it all ready made for half the price.
Your Christmas Baking should be considered as part of your overall Christmas budget. Read our guide below to help save you money
1. Set a budget
If you are starting to see a pattern to my posts, then you are correct! Work out from your overall Christmas budget how much you want to set aside for your Christmas Baking Budget. Remember that you can not only use your baking for your Christmas events but also for home made gifts.
A common myth is that home made is cheaper. I can tell you it is not BUT it tastes loads better.
2. Make a list of what you need to bake
Christmas puddings, Christmas cakes, shortbread, fudge, rocky road, the list is endless. Make a list which you can ‘deliver’ within your budget. Try to select a range of items so that you maximise your budget. Avoid making items which contain a lot of expensive ingredients.
One Christmas I had dreams of making lovely hampers of home made biscuits and sweets. I flicked through a few foodie magazines, made my list, bought my ingredients, and then proceeded to cook. It was a disaster, I had never made most of the things on the list before. In the end I had some pretty ordinary looking rocky road and some burnt fudge. The shortbread ended up in the bin in a pile of crumbs and the Christmas cake could have sunk a battle ship.
Why am I telling you this? It is better to make a couple of things really well than to over load yourself and struggle to make a lot of different things. Quality over quantity definitely wins in this scenario.
3. Review the list and find the recipes
Read your list of baking and review all of the recipes to make sure you (a) you can actually get the ingredients (b) you can afford them and (c) check what equipment is needed.
My advice is to select items which either use ingredients you already have or are readily available from supermarkets. Anything which is not available from your local supermarket is probably going to have a premium price or be difficult to get. This all adds extra pressure on you and on your budget.
Always read the instructions thoroughly and look out for the equipment that is mentioned. The year I decided to make some fudge as a ‘cheap’ home made gift turned out to be an expensive, burnt and unusable gift once I had finally located and purchased the specialist thermometer and tray that I needed.
My advice is if you are set on your list and it is looking to be out of your reach because it does not fit within your budget or skillset, keep on looking for a cheaper or simpler recipe. Google will soon find you an ‘easy Christmas fudge’ recipe.
4. Prioritise your list of recipes and ingredients
Review your lists and think about what can be (a) made ahead of time and (b) what ingredients could you buy now to use later? All of this helps to spread the cost of your Christmas shopping rather than it all having to come out of your December budget.
5. Reuse and recycle
That sounds a bit gross but I am not talking about recycling and reusing ingredients! If you plan to give your baking as gifts you will soon be looking for pretty presentation bags and boxes. A recycled glass jar with some ribbon out of last year’s Christmas decorations will do the same job as a fancy throw away box or bag which can only be used once.
6. Don’t forget the bargain stores
We are lucky in the UK to have some great discount stores and charity shops where you can often pick up baking ingredients and decorating supplies for a fraction of the price of the big supermarkets. If you are trying to stay out of shops at the moment the good news is that a lot of the discount stores have a great range available online.
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