How Baking Bread Can Save Your Family Hundreds a Year

Chang Fu
Aug 18, 2021

Bread is a staple of the American diet, with a variety of flavor options from whole wheat loaves to honey butter rolls. It’s easy to make at home and a fresh, delicious addition to your dinner. Baking bread at home may also save your family some serious dough.

The average family of four spends $892 a month on groceries, and baking bread at home could save families around $10 a month. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates that 42% of a family’s food budget goes to eating at restaurants, so dining at home could significantly increase your grocery savings and even help pay off your personal loans.

Is it cheaper to make your own bread? Here are our key findings:

  • A family of four could save $106.36 a year baking sandwich bread at home. 
  • Contributing your bread savings to your loans could offset up to 12.5% on annual loan interest rates.
  • Sourdough bread is cheaper to bake than white bread, and would save a family of four $297.92 a year. 

Table of Contents:

Homemade Bread vs. Store-Bought Bread

Illustration of homemade bread says you can save $106.46 a year baking for a family of four.

The USDA estimates that the average American consumes 131 pounds of wheat flour per year, which equals around 109.16 loaves of sandwich bread. In June 2021, the average cost of pan white bread was $1.51 a pound, which means the average American spends $163.83 on store-bought bread annually. 

Using a simple sandwich bread recipe, we determined the amount of each ingredient you’d need to purchase for a year’s worth of bread (109.16 loaves), then found the cost of these ingredients using available prices on Walmart’s website and the most cost-effective brand for each ingredient. 

  • Active dry yeast — 10.93 ounces/year for $47.89
  • Granulated sugar — 163.74 ounces/year for $4.65
  • All purpose flour — 1,746.4 ounces/year for $34.85
  • Sea salt — 22.74 ounces/year for $2.82
  • Vegetable oil — 109.16 ounces/year for $48.03

The average American would spend $138.24 baking bread for the year — a cost savings of $26.59. These savings significantly increase when you’re buying groceries for multiple people. A family of four could save $106.36 a year by making homemade bread vs. store-bought bread.

Bar chart shows how families can save up to $297.92 by baking bread at home.

The cost of bread for a family of four:

  • Basic homemade bread recipe: $552.96
  • Homemade sourdough: $255.04
  • Store-bought bread: $655.32

Switch to Sourdough and Save $298 on Homemade Bread

Sourdough bread is created from a sourdough starter that you can make with water and wheat flour. This starter is fed a cup of flour each week, but doesn’t require commercial yeast from the store like other bread recipes. 

Active dry yeast is the second most expensive ingredient in white bread, costing the average home baker $47.98 a year. You will need about 15 extra pounds of flour to keep your starter growing, which only costs $4.79 for the year. 

All of this totalled, you can enjoy flavorful homemade sourdough and save $74.48 a year. A family of four would save an impressive $297.92 on groceries annually. 

Save 9% On Loan Interest With Your Bread Savings

The average American has $92,727 of debt, and compound interest rates as high as 18% on some debt can make it difficult to catch up. Paying off more than your minimum payment, covering your interest each month, and improving your credit score for lower rates can all help. 

Redirecting some of your savings also chips away at debt. We calculated just how much of your annual interest costs you can cover by baking bread at home and putting your savings toward loans. 

We used each debt’s average U.S. interest rate, individual debt total and estimated monthly payments to determine how much interest Americans pay each year. We then calculated how much of that annual interest savings from baking white bread at home could cover. 

Table shows how much interest you can save by baking bread at home based on average loan totals and interest rates.

The yearly interest saved by baking bread across different loans includes: 

  • Student loans: 12.50%
  • Auto loans: 8.94%
  • Personal loans: 2.71%
  • Mortgage loans: 6.14%
  • Credit card debt: 12.91%

The average interest savings across loan types is 8.51%, but could be as much as 12.5% for loans with a relatively low monthly payment and interest rate. Using the money you save from baking your own bread to increase your typical monthly payments can also reduce the effect of compound interest over years as you lower your debt more quickly. 

Bake for Your Family’s Benefit

Baking bread is a skill that offers more than financial benefits. Baking your own bread is a great way to take charge of your health by lowering the amount of sugars and preservatives that are common in store-bought bread. 

It’s also a chance for you to make memories with your family as well as teach your children math and science skills. Help them measure their ingredients and challenge them with conversions,  or discuss how yeast works and watch your bread double in size while it proofs. 

You can also use this sandwich math printable to practice basic math and counting skills at any age level. Practice counting by following the sandwich recipe, or learn money math by finding the cost to make each sandwich with ingredient prices. You can play with the printable sandwich pieces or even make real sandwiches at home.

  • Step 1: Print all pages of the printable and cut out each individual sandwich piece. 
  • Step 2: Practice counting skills with little ones by following the recipe for each sandwich type. 
  • Step 3: Build addition skills by following the recipe and totaling the cost of each ingredient to determine the sandwich’s cost. 
  • Step 4: Study subtraction skills by filling custom sandwich orders and subtracting the cost of missing ingredients. 
  • Step 5: Make your own custom sandwich or ask your friends and family for sandwich orders and practice finding each sandwich’s cost.
Mockup of a printable sandwich game to help kids practice math.
Click to download the sandwich math printable game.

Bread is a staple of the American diet, with the average person consuming over 131 pounds of wheat flour a year, but is it cheaper to make your own bread? Baking at home is a good way to save on groceries, treat yourself to something delicious and pay off your debt for a brighter financial future. 

Sources: Education Data | Experian | American Housing Survey | CreditCards

Chang Fu

Chang is an avid writer, among other things. He grew up loving reading and writing, creating his own poems and even a book he's now hidden in an old closet, unpublished. His financial experience at a large bank along with his passion for technology to help underserved communities inspired him to write for Possible.

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