Baking on a budget: our top money saving tips

On your marks, get set, bake!
Brownies by the Weekend Bakery

The Great British Bake Off bug is about to hit us all again, inspiring us to put on an apron and get baking.

But trying your hand at macarons or even a croquembouche doesn’t need to cost you a fortune. As a big home baker, I’ve got some tips that’ll save you money on your way to becoming a star baker.

When does The Great British Bake Off 2023 start?

The Great British Bake Off 2023 starts on Channel 4 at 8pm on Tuesday September 26th.

You don’t need a fancy mixer

Every year when Bake Off starts I see those snazzy KitchenAid mixers and I want one to sit proudly on my worktop. But then I see the price and it’s “woah”. Between £400 and £750 just isn’t something I can justify and fortunately you don’t need to. There are plenty of comparable options out there with better price tags. 

The Kenwood kMix is a popular choice and can currently be bought new for around the £219 mark (down from an RRP of £480) at Marks Electrical

If you look at the number of positive reviews it gets, it looks as though its performance is as good as the KitchenAid when it comes to baking, but at a lower price. 

There are also a lot of lesser well known stand mixers on the market, at less than £100, including a Salter one from Robert Dyas currently on offer at £59.99. Granted, none of them look quite as nice on the work top as a gleaming Kitchenaid but performance wise, they’ll do the job!

What’s on my worktop I hear you ask? Well, I still use my trusty Tesco value hand mixer I bought over 10 years ago for just a few pounds. It was a temporary purchase to cover my baking needs before I invested in a bigger, better mixer.  

The thing is, it’s never stopped working and I refuse to replace it until it does. And although it cost less than a tenner, it helps me make perfectly risen cakes every time!

Save on the baking basics

When it comes to equipment you need for baking, you don’t have to spend a fortune.  Poundland has a great selection of cake tins and I’ve managed to pick up some good quality baking tins and sheets from Home Bargains over the years.  

Also, check your local TKMaxx as they often have a varied selection of good quality brands at a marked down price and in a variety of shapes and sizes too, if you want something a little different. 

But if you’re really wanting to up your game, then try catering retailers Nisbets who will have all those next level gadgets and professional items you won’t always easily find.

Hand washing and drying your tins rather than putting them in the dishwasher will keep them rust free for longer, and lining them with greaseproof paper is a must to easily remove your cakes. Don’t pay more to buy the pre-cut sheets and rounds, instead follow this simple hack to line a round cake tin. 

Spend less on ingredients

You don’t have to buy the most expensive ingredients to make a good cake. Many supermarkets feature value ranges of flour which I’ve found to be no different when baking compared to the more expensive brands – which is really handy considering how much prices have risen in the last year.

For example, Tesco’s Stockwell plain flour is a quarter of the price of the branded plain flours yet scores just as high in its customer reviews. And Asda’s caster sugar is 60p cheaper per kilo than Silver Spoon. And I always pick up my baking powder and bicarbonate of soda from Lidl or Aldi as it is less than half the price of the more popular brands.

When it comes to chocolate chips, it really pays to buy a bar of chocolate and just chop it up roughly. It doesn’t have to be the best chocolate either. If chocolate is just an addition to a recipe, like in chocolate chip cookies, then you can get away with using a cheaper one.  

I find Sainsbury’s own brand Lovett’s milk chocolate is great in cakes and cookies and at 45p for 100g it is a bargain. Compare that to their own label chocolate chips which are double the price at 90p per 100g and have similar cocoa solids.

But there are some ingredients I just won’t sacrifice. For instance, I will always pay more to use free range eggs in my baking for ethical reasons

Another is vanilla. I pay a little bit more for a quality vanilla extract over vanilla essence as I can really taste the difference in cakes. And a little goes a long way so it lasts for ages. But hey, I saved on my mixer so I deserve to splash out when it comes to vanilla!

One area which has seen a big increase in price is butter. It’s an ingredient worth shopping around for the best price or you could try margarine instead. If that’s one step too far then stick to own-label butter as it is almost always cheaper than the popular brands.

PS – If you’re looking for cheap sprinkles and cake decorations, head on over to Poundland.  They have a great selection and seem to have stocked up in preparation for the Great British Bake Off.

The best deals

Find our picks of the best offers in our dedicated deals library

You don’t need the book

The Great British Bake Off release an accompanying book for each series. So, if you’re tempted to purchase one to help turn you into a star baker, why not consider purchasing one of the previous season’s books instead.  

Older copies of the Great British Bake Off recipe books (and those by other bakers) can be bought second hand in excellent condition. Here are our tips to save money on books.

But even better, the Great British Bake Off website has hundreds of the recipes from previous series and contestants that have featured.

And don’t forget, you can always get inspiration from Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest and blogs! Tell us your favourites in the comments section below.


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