Friday, March 13, 2015

Frugal Friday: Counting the Cost


I started making and selling bread again after taking a break for a few months.  I am a vendor at a local coffee shop and café and one of the owners asked I would be willing to come once a week for a couple of hours to help her bake some items for the shop.  In exchange, I'm bringing my bread there to sell. 

I'm always feeling like I'm losing money on the bread but have never really sat down to figure out exactly what it costs me.  I decided it was time that I sit down and work it all out.

I priced out each of the ingredients (long, tedious work) and then factored in the cost of baking as well as my time and I was pleasantly surprised.  Because I have a wonderful source for cheaper baking supplies, I actually am doing fairly well.  In fact, I was able to lower the price of each loaf a bit which will help it sell better.

I buy my supplies at a Mennonite store that is out in the middle of nowhere.  They have wonderful fabrics and sewing supplies and then in another room in the building are the groceries.  I could spend hours in this place and there are all sorts of treasures tucked away on each shelf. 

The shop is about an hour a way but if I go about once a month or so, it is so worth the trip.  Dan had yesterday off so he came with me and we made an afternoon of it.  We went to lunch, drove and talked and just really enjoyed the day.  Well, I'm sure he didn't enjoy the shop as much as I did but he was a good sport. ;-)

Some ways I've saved there:

$ Was able to get good quality, quilting fabrics for $3.99 per yard.  I only bought a few because I'm still trying to work with what I have.

$ Bought a 50 lb. bag of unbleached flour for $18.

$ Bought 2 lbs. of yeast for $8.  I paid $6 for a little 4 oz. jar of yeast at the store one day when I had run out.

$ Found bread bags to package the breads.  I spend so much time wrapping each loaf in plastic wrap which is expensive.  These are wonderful because I can just pop the bread in the bag and tie it closed.  Viola!

$ 5 lbs. of organic coconut oil for $11.

$ 5 lbs. of shredded mozzarella cheese for $15.  It's $1.89 for 8 oz. at Aldi so this ended up running me about $.40 cheaper per 8 oz.  I came home and divided it up into one lb. bags and put it in the freezer.

$ 1 quart of molasses for $2.79.

$ I also replenished my spice collection because their spices are so reasonably priced.

Because I can only go every month or so, I did stock up on the supplies.  I still have a 25 lb. bag of flour at home so my flour supply should be good for a while.  Dan did ask me if the flour would go bad but I reminded him that last summer when I was baking for the farmer's market every week, I used up a 50 lb. bag of flour in about 3 weeks.

I'm glad I sat down and counted the cost of making the breads.  Now I don't have this sinking feeling that I'm losing money.  It took time and brain power but was well worth it.