“Never Pay More Than” – Ingredients for Baking

by Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom on October 20, 2010

Andrea emailed with the following question about the prices for baking ingredients.

You recently posted about how to spot a good deal on meat prices and I absolutely loved the article since I am still relatively new to couponing and deal shopping. I am also very new to baking and I am hoping to get a mixer very soon, I am very lost however when it comes to how much to pay for these Items. I would love it if you could outline a good price for things like flour, sugar, brown sugar, yeast… for those of us who would like to be more frugal when it came to baking.

Here’s a short list of the best recent prices that I hope will help guide you as you purchase baking ingredients.

  • 2 lb. brown sugar – $1.50
  • 5 lb. white flour – $1.50
  • 5 lb whole wheat flour - $2.50
  • 5 lb white sugar – $2
  • Shortening – $3 for large container
  • 1 lb butter – $2
  • (Margarine can often be found free with right sale price and coupon matchup)
  • Baking chips, semi-sweet chocolate, milk chocolate – $1.49 per 16 oz bag
  • Canned pumpkin – $1 per 15 oz can
  • Evaporated milk – Free with coupon and sale price
  • Honey - $20 for 5 lbs., raw and local
  • Agave Nectar – $5 for 16 oz. bottle
  • Sucanat - Not sure…as I’ve only bought it on one occasion
  • 1 lb. packages pecans, walnuts, whole, sliced or slivered almonds - $3
  • Yeast jar tends to be cheaper than the packets, store in the fridge

Also, keep in mind that we are coming up on the holiday season…which is the best time to stock up on baking ingredients!

What about you?!  Do you see similar prices?  What are some ways that you save on baking ingredients?! Do you buy in bulk?!  From health food stores?!

Photo Credit: Sparktography

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Cheryl October 20, 2010 at 8:58 am

In my dreams for alot of these items. I can get flour for the same price at Aldi’s but butter, sugar, and even the chocolate chips are more there.

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Mrs. Q October 20, 2010 at 9:05 am

Wow..if that is how your baking counter really looks, I am in AWE. So organized and pretty. Mine is functional but not pretty…LOL!

Good, informative post! Thank you :)

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Kimberly E October 20, 2010 at 9:14 am

With sugar going on sale soon (holiday cooking), I’ve been wondering, what’s the best way to store it long-term?

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Tacy M October 20, 2010 at 11:37 am

I bake a TON! Last year, I made homemade bread, gingerbread softies, and cream caramels and sold them to friends to help with our budget. Even during the summer, I bake constantly-it helps that we have a swamp cooler in the kitchen window. I have found that I go through far too much flour and sugar to be content buying the 5 and 10lb bags. I buy flour at Sam’s Club in 25lb bags and store it in a large frosting bucket I got for free at the Walmart bakery counter. I washed it well, made sure it dried thoroughly, and it works wonders. If you’re going to do this, make sure that your bucket has a rubber gasket so it’s an airtight seal; some of the buckets have snap lids that aren’t as good for this. I generally buy sugar the same way, but at Walmart. I also buy yeast in bulk, at Sam’s club-where it’s about $5 for two large bags of yeast. I think it’s about 4 jars worth-and since the cheapest I think I’ve ever gotten the jar is around $4…I often bake bread, four loaves at a time, so having the large quantity is easily justified in my case. I’ve also discovered that it’s less expensive to buy an actual pumpkin and bake and puree it myself-but it is more work!

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Eliza R. October 20, 2010 at 12:16 pm

HA!
To get ingredients so cheap, you have to live in the midwest.
Even with coupons, Costco, WalMart, store specials + coupons, nothing is that affordable on the west coast, and I hear it’s the same for Hawaii and much of the east coast.

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Ashley October 20, 2010 at 1:37 pm

Hardly. I live in Canada and can expect to pay roughly 4 times what you’ve listed here.

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Tacy M October 20, 2010 at 2:03 pm

I live in Colorado, so I guess I’m guilty as charged. =)

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Rachelle October 20, 2010 at 2:08 pm

I’ve just moved to a new area and can’t seem to find wheat. Like whole wheat berries. Do you buy wheat or know an affordable place to buy it?

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Melinda October 20, 2010 at 5:50 pm

I live on the east coast and I wish I could buy many of these items for the prices you’ve listed. Sometimes with a sale and coupons. I know prices are relative. Thanks for the information though I will put it in my price book and at least I’ll have a guideline for upcoming sales.
Read your blog daily, thanks for all you do.

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jan October 20, 2010 at 8:39 pm

re: yeast. Jars seem like a more expensive way to buy (up front), but are a more frugal option. I store mine in the freezer and never worry about thawing. It keeps much longer than you think. (the expy date on my jar is more than 2 years old and it still works)

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Anne October 20, 2010 at 8:46 pm

I’m with the others, wishing I could get these prices! Occasionally, I can get these prices on sale with coupons or during triple/super double coupon sales, esp during the holiday season, but I don’t have enough space to stock up enough to last until the next great sale. I generally end up spending probably .50-$1 more for each item. At Trader Joe’s, some of the prices come close ($6 for 1lb honey, $3 for WW flour, $2 for choc chips), so TJ’s is my standard for those items (i.e. if I can’t get it cheaper than that at another store, I’ll buy it at TJ’s.). Also, I buy butter, raw sugar and yeast at Costco for around the prices you listed (I forget the exact price for the raw sugar, but it’s the cheapest I’ve found anywhere).

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claire October 20, 2010 at 8:49 pm

I do most of my shopping at Aldi. Most of the prices are close to what you posted. Butter is about $1.99, milk is $1.49, I have had some amazing yeast coupons for the packets and get them for pennies with the double coupons. Eggs are 0.89. White sugar is over $2. and flour just went on sale for 0.99 at Wegmans. I am stocking up. there is a 2 limit.

Thank you for sharing

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The Prudent Homemaker October 20, 2010 at 10:35 pm

Rachelle,

What state do you live in? Each part of the country has good sources. If you’re near an Amish community, you can usually purchase wheat in bulk at an Amish store. If you live near an LDS cannery, you can buy wheat there. If you live on the west coast or in the Rocky Mountians, Walton Feed is a FANTASTIC price, but if you’re too far, shipping will be higher (you can also bulk order with them and they’ll send a truck, which means lower shipping costs). Azure Standard has drop points all over, but they require a minimum $50 order. There are some more places as well, but the ones I just listed seem to have the lowest prices around. I have link to those on my website on my Grains page, as well as info about wheat grinders (though you probably already have one if you’re looking for wheat berries).

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Tacy M October 21, 2010 at 7:51 am

Rachelle, You are so good to think of suggesting the cannery! I didn’t even think about that but that’s where I get my oats and wheat. For those who don’t know things can be canned in #10 cans, or sealed in mylar bags, or simply bought in bulk. You generally can what you want yourself, so if you want a bunch of cans, be prepared to can it yourself-it’s quick and easy and my kids LOVE doing it! The prices are standard across the country, I think. Here’s a link to the order form, which you take in with you when you order–most of them don’t take a credit/debit card, so it’s wise to know what you want and bring exact change. http://www.providentliving.org/content/display/0,11666,8133-1-4352-1,00.html

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Aileen October 21, 2010 at 11:33 am

Wow, I would LOVE to get those prices! Even with coupons (which there aren’t too many for baking ingredients) combined with sale prices, I don’t come close to that. Definitely not for butter, nuts, chocolate chips and agave.
Pumpkin in New York is $3 for a big can. This seems high to me so I’m hoping there will be some good sales this fall so I can stock up!
Same with chocolate chips. I can rarely get them for less than $2 for a 16 oz bag.

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Betty October 21, 2010 at 11:45 am

I live in “the east” (Birmingham, AL) and I can find prices very similar to these (I shop mainly Sams Club & Aldi). Also, the Aldi here has canned pumpkin for 0.89!!!!

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Jill October 21, 2010 at 5:17 pm

I think the key is the number of grocery stores in your area. I am in NW Ark and Walmart is KING here. Everybody goes there. Most moms I know won’t even give Aldis a try. Our other grocery store options (not Aldis) are higher than Walmart by quite a lot. I think what draws people to their stores are the smaller number of shoppers, wider aisles, specialty products and location. One store is located on the nicer side of town and gets a lot of upper class people along with well-off retired people. The other store is located on a much lower class side of town and gets many poorer people who walk there. It also happens to be across the street from a junior high and gets lots of kids walking over after school for a snack. Our Aldis keeps their prices just lower than Walmart. My mom lives 8 hours away and her Aldis prices are much lower. She also has several other grocery stores available and thinks Walmart’s prices are too high. She rarely goes there. However, here, most everybody goes to Walmart for everything. It’s interesting to read how everybody’s shopping compares across the country. Thanks for the post!

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Jenelle October 22, 2010 at 11:58 am

Hmm. Interesting that people from the East and West cost say they can only dream of these prices. I live in So Cal and find these prices are pretty close to what I get. During the holidays the Gold Medal Flour is included in the all the GM promos and getting it for $1.50 is easy. Wheat flour is not usually included, so I do pay more for that. I the the paistry flour which I can get at Henry’s for $.69/lb. C&H sugar goes on sale regularly for $1.99 for a 5lb bag. Usually there is also a coupon to make it an even better deal. Brown sugar you can get fora 1 lb box for $.89 at Fresh and Easy every day. Don’t even need a sale or coupon. As for butter I have noticed the price has been escalating lately. I used to be able to buy 4lb for $6 at Costco, last week I noticed that the price is almost $10 now! Ouch! I’ve noticed a similer price at most grocery stores as well, but I could probably get down to $2.00/lb with a sale and a coupon. Local honey is $15 for a 3lb jar, so that’s a little more expensive, but I have not sought out the cheepest place to get it. Oh and pumpkin?? Found that on sale at CVS for $.39 a can!!!!!! I bought 12! I don’t expect that I will see a deal like that again. Usual price is probably between $1 and $1.50. It’s really not that expensive here!

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Jennifer October 22, 2010 at 4:11 pm

Thank you for the general guideline! Very timely with the official baking season coming up and lots of people only needing thisone time a year.

I don’t think it’s a crackpot list… it seems very close to what my guidelines are, only I won’t pay over $1 for choc chips and nuts are @ 2.00 lb… and this year I am totally nabbing pecans off of a tree in my parents’ back yard (new house – yay!) and those will be free. Those pecans are the size of a small potato!

Something to think about: Costco has 2lb pkgs of yeast for $5 or so. That alone after you get sone paying ofr jarred yeast is an annual membership, but if you can, use a pass and pay the 10% svc fee and you still come out waaaay ahead.

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Jill B October 28, 2010 at 8:31 am

Brown Sugar Tip (that revolutionized my life): You can make your own brown sugar – very easily. It takes white sugar + molasses. And a mixer. That’s it. I suppose you could do it by hand, with a whisk or something, but that may take a long time. The trick is, after a minute or so, when you think, “I must have done something wrong, this isn’t working right,” you keep going. And then it transforms into what you’re wanting/needing. I keep the “recipe” written on a card, taped to the top of my brown sugar container. You can mix it to your preferred darkness, and it comes out just like it comes out of the bag, and keeps well. Joy The Baker has a post about it you can reference: http://www.joythebaker.com/blog/2010/08/how-to-make-brown-sugar/

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Andrea December 27, 2010 at 10:24 am

Thank you so much for responding to my email. I really Appreciate it. I actually just saw it for the first time. I am so glad you posted this because I just got the mixer I wanted. So Thank you SO much.

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