Tips for Baking on a Budget
Baking is one of my favourite hobbies; as it combines two of my favourite things – being creative, and food! So what’s not to love? It’s also a great rainy day activity and comes in handy for birthdays and Christmases… Is it just me or does a homemade cake taste so much better? 🎂🤤
But as much as I love baking, it can also be quite an expensive hobby to get into, which is why I try to budget my baking costs wherever possible. From the set-up costs such as equipment, mixing bowls, and baking trays. To the costs of the ingredients such as flour, cake mixes, decorations and icing sugar.
Thankfully, there are so many budget baking options on the market at the moment, from the local high street to independent online sellers. You really are spoilt for choice! So I’m here to make things a little easier by sharing some of my favourite retailers and a few budget baking tips.
Baking on a Budget – The Ingredients
Try Supermarket Basics
When it comes to basic ingredients such as flour or sugar you may be tempted to reach for the big name brands. But let me tell you a little secret – store own brands work just as well and for a fraction of the cost. In fact, all my baking recipes include store brand ingredients, unless a specific baking kit was used. It’s worth noting that these baking kits can also be picked up relatively cheaply. Just check out this watermelon style one Aaron bought me for my lockdown birthday.
Fruits, Jams and Preserves
Fresh fruit can be one of the most expensive parts of baking, whether it’s for decoration or making jam. Instead, look at the reduced section for fruit and the preserves section for premade jam, which is often a lot cheaper. Especially if you try the stores own brand.
If you’re struggling to find the fresh fruit you need then frozen or tinned fruit is also a great alternative. Or you could even consider foraging for your own. We often go blackberry picking in our local area and our neighbour has an apple tree which he often shares with us. They make a delicious crumble cake.
Familiarise yourself with best before dates
Knowing the difference between ‘use by’ and ‘best before’ can help prevent your ingredients being unncessaricly wasted, and save you money too.
- You have until the date shown on the packaging to use or freeze the food before it becomes too risky to eat.
- You can eat the food past the date shown but it might not be at its best quality.
Tip – Adding a marshmallow to brown sugar will stop it going hard.
Baking on a Budget – The Equipment
Try a hand mixer instead of a stand one
My dream is to own a Kitchen Aid (complete with Star Wars decals, of course) but they can cost up to £300 GBP each. Which is a large chunk of my baking budget. Instead, I have a hand mixer from my local supermarket (similar) which is ideal for any kind of sweet treats. I’ve used mine for everything from cupcakes to cheesecakes.
If you really have your heart set on a Kitchen Aid perhaps you could ask a generous family member to gift you one for Christmas or your birthday? It can’t hurt to ask, right? 😉
Budget Baking Tools
For baking on a budget, I love Poundland’s Jane Asher range which
includes whisks, tongs, cake slices, cake boards, flour shakers and more. So it’s perfect for those just getting started with baking as a hobby too.
Another great budget baking brand is Wilkos. But you could also look out for sales in your local supermarket or kitchenware shop too (I love the Lakeland bakeware sales!).
When it comes to baking trays and cake pans, I usually spend a little more so the equipment will last me a lot longer. My favourites are the bakeware ranges by Lakeland which I’ve been using for nearly a decade now.
Some of my favourite cake decorations have come from Poundland, Amazon UK or local independent sellers on E-Bay or Etsy. And they’re often far cheaper than buying from your local supermarket. But with the same great quality.
Buttercream icing and cream can both be expensive items for finishing off your baked goods. So I tend to make my own buttercream or use alternatives like glaze / water icing. However, if you’re planning to eat your baked goods straight away, you could also look for cream in the reduced section too. Just make sure to check the ‘use-by’ dates.
You’ve finished baking and decorating your sweet treats, but now what? If you’re going to eat it straight away then you’ll probably only need a few plates, forks, and maybe a cake slice (check Poundland, Wilko or Amazon). But what if you’re displaying your baked goods at a birthday party or bake sale? While there are some extravagant, and yes, expensive cake stands on the market, there are also some great budget options too. Like these cardboard ones from Asda.
Another great option is to try looking in your local charity shops. I’ve found some great cake stands and glassware in my local ones. Or you could even consider making your own – like these ones below.
Do you like baking? What other tips do you have for baking on a budget? Let me know in the comments. 😊🎂🍩