5 Tips to Save Money in Your Home Bakery
Home Bakers aren't exactly loaded, are we? More often than not, we are resourceful women looking to make an extra income while we stay at home and take care of our families on a super tight budget.
When I started my home baking business back in 2012 I had almost nothing. I had a $10 hand mixer, 2 cheap plastic hand-me-down mixing bowls, 1 square tin and 1 muffin/cupcake tin (and a $5500 student loan to pay off, lol!). That’s it! That’s all you need.
I completely understand how daunting it can be to build up a home bakery on a super tight budget, so I've put together 5 tips to save money in your home bakery without compromising on the quality of your bakes. Even though my business and finances are stable now, I still use all 5 of these money saving tips in my home bakery – because saving money is so much funnnn!
Saving money literally makes me giddy. My husband thinks that's weird, but I'm having a great time 😀
Create Recipes with Left Overs
“Waste not, want not” will ALWAYS be one of the most valuable phrases known to man. When I watch cooking and baking shows I always cringe when they leave like 10% of the batter in the bowl… I don’t get why anyone would do that and it upsets me deeply.
My close friends and family know me as “Miss Frugal”, but I seriously don’t mind because I have saved $100’s of dollars by being so fugal. So, Boom!
When I started baking from home I mostly made cupcakes and brownies. The cupcakes were selling super well at coffee shops – yay! But cupcakes require frosting and now my frugal nature was faced with a massive problem…
I’m sure you know full well that you always have to make more frosting than what you actually end up using, so you always end up with left over frosting.
Desperate to not waste the excess of my ultimate cream cheese frosting, I always scooped the left overs into a bowl and put it in the freezer. After accumulating about a litre of this left over frozen frosting, the time had come to do something with it.
I had heard about Pumpkin & Cream cheese muffins and decided to try using my left over frozen frosting as the filling since it is about 60% cream cheese anyway.
The result was spectacular!! 5 years later I still sell 100 of these Pumpkin & Cream Cheese muffins every week – the customers call them “crack muffins”! And the best part is that all my left over frosting does not go to waste!
Sofra Bakery in Cambridge, Massachusetts has created “morning buns” from their left over croissants. They cut up the croissants in cubes, bake them with custard (like bread pudding) and brush them with an orange blossom glaze. Genius!
Almost every breakfast joint has their version of French toast. We all LOVE French toast, but when you think about it, it is nothing more than a left over recipe! It was a way to use up stale bread and not wasting it.
Some of the best recipes are ones where people had to get creative and prevent waste. I’m confident that you can do the same 🙂
2. DIY it Baby!
It’s quite shocking how much money you can save by making things yourself – especially when it comes to ingredients.
Shocking as it may seem, the last time I bought icing sugar was 3 years ago. Icing sugar is expensive. It costs 250% more than regular granulated sugar. There had to be a way around buying this expensive ingredient that doesn’t exactly contribute to a “better flavour” or anything.
I decided to buy a Nutribullet (high speed food processor). Sure, it cost me $150, but I’ve already made up that difference AGES ago.
Making my own icing sugar (oat flour, almond flour, hummus, peanut butter, smoothies, and more) has saved me heaps of money.
Another way I love to save money is by making my own muffin & cupcake liners from baking parchment. Fluted cupcake liners are really inexpensive, but they make muffins look smaller and less rustic. I was keen to buy muffin liners (they look more handmade, with 4 little “ears” on top), but they costed like $0,12 each – that adds up super fast!
Instead of spending that money, I rather figured out how to make my own muffin liners in mere minutes for just $0,01 each. I sell 100 muffins a week, so added up, that’s a $11 weekly saving. For me, that’s worth it.
And then one of my favourite money saving tips involves my Home Bakery’s Packaging.
Beautiful, expensive branding and packaging can be a very tempting expense. But if a wrapper is beautiful and the candy tastes bad, will you ever buy it again? No.
So do not spend hundreds of dollars on printing amazing packaging. Just go for simple packaging to start off with. You can seriously get away with 50 cents per cake box. To add a personal touch, get a logo stamp made for the small price of $15. It looks super rustic and cool and it is way cheaper.
3. Buy Ingredients from the Right Suppliers
Source ingredients in bulk or from direct suppliers wherever you can. When you cut out middle men, you eliminate all those extra mark ups you pay for in the grocery store.
For example, I used to buy all my cocoa powder, chocolate, frozen berries (and so much more!!) in the grocery store, which was super expensive.
I eventually found a supplying company with super high quality products that sell ingredients even to small businesses like home bakeries. Now I save like 40% in ingredient costs WITHOUT COMPROMIZING ON THE QUALITY OF MY INGREDIENTS! So rad!
I also went directly to a local chocolaterie and buy 1 kg blocks of chocolate from them. This way I get to support a local business, get higher quality chocolate AND pay less for it than in the grocery store because I buy it in bulk.
Such a win-win-win!
4. Invest in Tools that Increase your Productivity
The one thing that is just as important as saving money is saving TIME. If you can save time then you will have more time to bake things to sell for profit.
Learning to work faster is important, but you can also invest in tools that will make your baking process faster like stencils, cookie cutters, a food processor, etc.
And then there is a “tool” of sorts that is FREE… It is my favourite productivity booster! And it is simply to do things in bulk wherever it’s possible.
If I make 10 of my Pumpkin & Cream Cheese muffins at a time with all of their DIY components (liners, filling, crumble, dry ingredients, and more) from start to finish, it will take me 2 whole hours I reckon!
But by making 100’s of muffin liners at a time, making my filling a few litres at a time, sifting ALL my dry ingredients for the day and putting them in labelled baggies and more, I save SO MUCH time.
Doing things in bulk will streamline your productivity and business like crazy.
5. Increase Your Profit
One of the biggest mistakes I made in my Home Bakery (for 3 long years) was being so set on saving money that I did not INVEST my money in making more profit in the future.
I know it feels great to save money – trust me, I am known as “Miss Frugal” among my friends and family! But honestly, making money is even better than saving money… NEVER forget this.
MAKING money is better than SAVING money.
Making financial INVESTMENTS to increase your profit is better than saving money.
Here’s an example from my own Home Bakery Journey:
In the name of “saving money”, I refused to employ someone to wash dishes and clean for me for the first 18 months of my Home Bakery’s start up. Now, I feel so stupid for not doing it sooner! I always made the excuse that “there’s no way I can afford to employ someone to clean!”
What I didn’t realise is that doing so would free up more time and energy for me to do more of what actually makes money – BAKE.
Since I’ve made the investment of employing Jane to clean twice a week, I’ve been able to increase my baking profits by 30%!
It’s the BAKING that brings in profit, so free up your time so that you can spend more time BAKING.
I’ve also trained Jane to do prep work for me. This includes chopping chocolate, grating carrots, slicing apples, etc. These super exhausting and time consuming tasks can easily be taught to someone else. It’s wonderful!
Easy, delegable tasks include: all cleaning and prep work. Later on you can expand to deliveries, errands, etc.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post! Which money saving tip is your favourite? Let me know in the comments below.