Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Cost of Homemade

I love to figure out how much things cost. Maybe that's why I like couponing. It's funny though, because I'm not a math lover or anything. I just love facts!

We often assume that making food at home is cheaper than eating out or buying premade things at the store. But is it really? What about all the time and energy I spend cooking? I had these questions on my mind as I was baking pizzas and some free-form bread loaves. How much am I really saving by making these things from scratch?

We'll start with the cost breakdown of the pizza. Below I list the price I paid for the ingredient at the store (without coupons), the number of batches of dough I could make from what I bought, and the price per batch of dough.

Dough  (One batch of dough is approximately 6 pizza crusts.)
Cost   Item                           # of batches     = price per batch
$3.50 10lb. White Flour   = 7.3 batches       = $ .50 per batch
$3.00 5lb. Wheat Flour    = 20 batches        = $ .15 per batch
$5.00 Yeast                      = 5.3 batches       = $ .94 per batch
$1.50 Kosher Salt            = 53 batches        = $ .03 per batch
$ .00  Water                                                (less than .0001 cent/batch)
                                                             Total: $1.62 per batch of dough

Now let's take the cost of dough and add the cost of the whole pizza (including toppings) together.

Pizza Ingredients
Cost   Item                        # of pizzas       = price per pizza
$1.62 Dough                   = 6 pizzas          = $ .27 per pizza
$1.00 Tomato Sauce       = 4 pizzas          = $ .25 per pizza
$2.50 Block Cheese       = 3 pizzas          = $ .66 per pizza
$5.00 Soy/Dairy Free Cheese = 8 pizzas          = $ .63 per pizza
$3.50 Pepperoni             = 6 pizzas          = $ .58 per pizza
$2.00 Mushrooms          = 3 pizzas          = $ .66 per pizza
                                                         Total: $3.05 per pizza (for ingredients)

Next, how much does it cost to use the oven to make the pizza? We have an electric oven and it takes 20 minutes to preheat. The pizzas then cook for 12 minutes. To calculate how much it costs me to use my appliances, I head over to Saving Electricity, where there are calcualtors and formulas for cost-of-use for just about everything in your home. The formula listed there is  

wattage x hours used ÷ 1000 x price per kWh = cost of electricity

2500     x .5               ÷ 1000 x $ .07 per kWh = $ .09 per pizza    

A caveat here, ovens are not constantly "on". Once an oven reaches its target temperature, it goes off until the temperature goes down enough to trigger the oven to come back on. Also, we never bake only one pizza, so we shouldn't factor the pre-heat time into each and every pizza we bake.

Okay, so the Grand Pizza Total is $3.14 per pizza.

So is it worth it? For me, absolutely. I know I only save about a dollar over Little Ceasar's Pizza (or whatever), but the ingredients in my pizza are all approved by me! There is no soy or dairy (I use Daiya soy-, dairy-, and gluten-free cheese on my part of the pizza) or other ingredients that I can't pronounce. It's a lot healthier, too!

How about the bread?
If we take a look at the cost of baking a loaf of bread, we find that the homemade bread is obviously cheaper than buying bread at the store. I use the same dough to make bread as I do for pizza, so the cost for one batch of dough is $1.62, which makes 4 loaves of bread at $ .41 each. The cost of the oven to preheat (20 minutes) and cook the bread for 20 minutes is about $ .13. That comes out to about $ .51 per loaf, so that's encouraging! Plus, homemade bread has the same benefits as the pizza: ingredients that are selected by and approved by me.

Overall, the cost and health benefits of cooking at home put up good competition against the convenience factor of eating out. I can feel happy that we are making healthy, earth friendly choices and saving some money in the process. I hope that this breakdown of costs has been interesting and informative!

Happy Calculating!

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