Bread is a straightforward food to make, and it only requires five ingredients. But if it’s so easy to make, why is it so expensive?
To prevent being ripped off by stores, some people buy bread machines, but does a bread machine actually save money?
On average, store-bought bread costs about $1.99, while ingredients and electricity for machine-made bread cost only about $1.20.
However, just because bread machines save money doesn’t mean they’re necessarily a good investment for you.
How much bread do you have to eat for the machine to pay off? And how much do the ingredients and electricity cost?
Time to find out.
Table of Contents
How Much Electricity Does a Bread Machine Use?
Taking Breville’s “The Custom Loaf” as an example, it only costs about 53 cents to make bread.
We used this particular model because it’s on the higher end of bread maker electricity expenditure with 830 watts per hour.
This bread maker uses more electricity than other bread makers, and it’s likely more expensive than the bread machine you have at home.
As of February 2023, the average price of residential electricity in the US is 15.96 cents per 1 kWh. Keep in mind that different zones have different rates. Electricity in New England, for example, is much more expensive than electricity in the Midwest.
If we multiply 3.32 kWh by 15.96 cents, we get 52.98 cents.
After running for 4 hours and making a single loaf of bread, your above-average bread machine adds about 53 cents to your electricity bill.
Now, let’s say you have a big family, and you easily eat one loaf of bread a day. In a single month, you’re going to make 30 loaves. At the end of the month, that’s still only $16 (15.9) for 30 loaves of bread.
Comparing that to the average price of a single loaf of bread in the USA in April 2023, which is $1.99, we can easily see that making bread with a bread maker is almost four times cheaper than buying your bread every day – at least in the electricity department.
However, electricity isn’t the only aspect of this equation.
How Much Do Bread Machine Ingredients Cost?
To make bread, you only need a few ingredients that more-or-less everyone has in their home: water, flour, sugar, salt, oil, and yeast.
You may notice slight differences in recipes, but they’re all mostly the same.
You need 1 cup of warm water, ¼ cup of sugar (white), ¾ teaspoons of salt, 2 tablespoons of oil, 1 yeast pack (a standard pack is 0.25 ounces), and 3 cups of flour.
|1 Cup of Warm Water||$0.0014 (most expensive option – San Francisco)|
|¼ Cup of Sugar||$0.07|
|¾ Teaspoons of Salt||Less than $0.01|
|2 Tablespoons of Oil||$0.15|
|1 Yeast Pack||$0.02|
|3 Cups of Flour||$0.43|
Returning to our previous hypothesis, if you make 30 loaves of bread a month, the ingredients alone will cost about $20.
Keep in mind that there’s a margin of error here, depending on where you buy your ingredients, not to mention that the market changes constantly and these prices might not be applicable in six months.
Initial Costs – Price of Bread Machines
This is a thing that people often overlook, but you have to keep in mind the price tag for the bread machine you’re buying.
While you can easily find good bread machines on sale, these appliances are not cheap.
It’s important to see the bread machine as an investment – it may set you back by a few hundred dollars initially, but it’ll pay off in the long run, especially if you eat a lot of bread.
For the sake of the argument, we’ve been taking the most expensive figures into account, and we’ll do the same with the bread machine.
Let’s say you bought a $300 bread machine – how long until it pays off (and will it ever pay off)?
Does a Bread Machine Save Money?
The average price for a loaf of bread in the USA is about $1.99 (currently – this could easily change soon). To make this calculation clear, let’s say you and your family eat 1 loaf of bread a day.
That’s $726 of your hard-earned money you’ll be spending on bread each year.
Now, let’s say you buy a bread machine in an attempt to save money.
First of all, you initially spend $300 on the bread machine itself. Then, you spend 53 cents on electricity to make 1 loaf of bread, which amounts to $193.45 a year, which will be reflected on your electricity bill.
You also have to spend about 67 cents on the ingredients for your bread, and on a yearly basis, that comes up to about $244.55.
Put those three numbers together, and you get exactly $738, which is only $12 more than what it’d cost you to buy bread in a store every morning.
So, does a bread machine save money?
Absolutely! Expensive bread machines ($250-$300) will take about 13-14 months to start saving money, while cheaper bread machines ($100-$150) will take about 6-9 months to start saving you money in the long term.
The initial cost of the bread machine is what’s setting you back the most.
If we take a look at a longer period – let’s say you use your bread machine for at least 5 years before it breaks down or you simply stop using it – a bread machine is definitely worth the money.
Multiplying both of these figures by 5 (and adding the one-off price of $300 for the bread maker), gives us $2,490 for bread machine bread and $3,630 for store-bought bread over a five-year period.
The disparity is even larger if you buy a cheaper bread machine, if you don’t eat an entire loaf a day, and if you store bread properly!
To Conclude – How Does a Bread Machine Save Money?
Bread is heavily overpriced in stores, mostly because most people don’t have the time to make it. Bread machines save money because they turn cheap ingredients into bread (with the help of electricity).
If you eat a lot of bread, investing in a bread machine is definitely the right move as it can save you thousands of dollars down the road!