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Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Bake yourself rich

There's currently a list on my whiteboard that reads like a dieters bad dream. White choc blueberry, Triple choc, Apple cinnamon, Banana Coffee, White choc passionfruit... These are all the muffins I am making or have made with my fancy new silicon bakeware.

Oh, and I'm getting rich doing it.

The cost of a muffin

Muffins pretty much fall into a big fat no go zone for me. The main place I see them in cafes in those little glass cabinets. They sit they looking all soft and delicious while I'm trying to grab a (rare) latte and run. I know buying lattes out is a terrible idea when I could make them at home for a fraction of the cost so I'm also suffering spending guilt, and then there are these muffins tempting me.

There are two things horribly horribly wrong with these cafe muffins - price and disappointment.

Have you ever bitten into a muffin to find that it's dry and kind of powdery? Muffins that stick to the top of your mouth? I'm not sure if these are old muffins or just poorly baked, but when you're excited to bite into a great muffin and then it's dry and sad it's heartbreaking.

This is my normal experience for buying muffins in stores (maybe I need to shop in better places?). The biggest kick in the guts though is when you pay $5 - $6 for these sad dry disappointments. Generally they're pretty big muffins which makes me feel like they could almost replace a meal, but I don't think I've ever enjoyed eating one, and for that price I want some happiness from my muffins.

Muffin wealth

So, time to get rich on muffins! I have two basic muffin recipes that I use, a sweet recipe and a savoury recipe. My basic sweet recipe costs me $2.50 for 12 muffins, my savoury recipe is a little cheaper around $2.15, but since I generally stack it full of cheese the price goes up quickly, haha.

Before adding delicious fillers to my muffins, I'm looking at muffins that are a teeny tiny 4% of the price of a cafe muffin. Let's be generous and say cafe muffins are double the size of mine, so I'm making muffins at 8% of the cost.

But of course, I don't want boring bland muffins. I want to make delicious amazing muffins! This weekend I made savoury muffins with zuchinni, tomato, cheese and salami and sweet raspberry and white chocolate muffins. Take a guess what that cost me? The savoury filling cost a little over a dollar, and the sweet filling? A mere $1 for the chocolate, and 50c for the raspberries. Grand total for two batches of muffins?  $7.50 for 24 muffins. 

A grand total of 30 cents each. The sweet muffins make a delicious late night snack with a hot chocolate. Two of the savoury muffins makes a great afternoon tea.

Muffin maths

Because this is a personal finance blog, I always have to look at the maths. My homemade muffins are 30c a piece, but let's say they're half the size of a cafe muffin (for generosity sake) - so for 60 cents I can make something that sells in stores for $5. I wish I was on selling these muffins, but I'm simply cutting out one expense for another (much smaller one).

Swapping one muffin for another saves me $4.40 in a day. But I have late night snacks and morning tea 5 days a week, so I'm actually swapping out 10 muffins a week - if I bought them in a cafe my little muffins would cost me $50, made at home I save $44.00 a week. And that's just my half, Mr. FIRE is eating these too, so as a household we save $88.00 a week, $4,500 a year. On muffins! (tweet that!)

I'm also ridiculously lazy so you'll note that this calculation doesn't include any kind of muffin pans. Because I bought silicon bake ware. This stuff is possibly the greatest thing I've ever bought. I used to spend half an hour gouging muffins out of dodgy old metal pans and losing half the muffin as I did it. Or if I by some miracle hadn't forgotten to buy patty pans the mix would still rise over and stick to the tray.

At this rate if I bake a batch of muffins every week I'll make my money back. Not the greatest financial investment I've ever made, but a great investment in my time and sanity.

Baking benefits - it's cold over here!

There is one more cost to making muffins though - the electricity bill for while the oven is on. I have a very old dodgy oven with a poor seal that leaks a lot of heat and it cost me *drum roll everyone* 20c for the hour. We have a smart meter that shows us exactly how much power is used every hour and the hours that the oven was on we used just under 20cents.

It was great because it was freezing cold on the weekend, but I was dancing around the kitchen barefoot in a t-shirt. I bulk baked a variety of snacks (mostly muffins!) and cooked chicken for Mr. FIREs lunches all while watching television. It was warm, my belly is full and I'm richer for it.


  1. Hmmm! I think I need that smart meter you speak about - I'd be curious to know how much my appliances are costing me!

    The other good side about baking your own - you know exactly what goes into them and you can tailor them to suit your taste. No yucky preservatives for you!

    1. AGL installed a smart meter without asking me, or charging me. Which sounds great but the electrician shorted out two of my appliances when he was installing it! :(

      No yucky preservatives, but that does mean if I forget to eat them then they get fuzzy... I may have eaten a slightly fuzzy muffin once. I just thought the sheen was moisture, it was mould. Oops!

  2. I've grown to quite enjoy baking aswell. I look at baked goods as being a reward for putting in the effort to make them and clean up.

    The sections at Woolies and Coles filled with pre made baked goods I feel are quite problematic for society. The sort of instant gratification of wants with no need for any real effort, which can then lead to over consumption and being unappreciative. I also feel it removes some of the magic for children when cakes and cookies just come wrapped in plastic from the shop instead of seeing (and helping) put them together and having to wait for them to cook and then cool down all while the beautiful aroma fills the house.

    I say part of the magic for kids, but it is part of the magic for me too :)

    1. Let's not talk instant gratification - I just watched War on Waste after reading your post and I'm mad at everyone's complacency now.

      Besides, if you buy cookies from the shop, you never get to eat the batter! That's definitely missing out

    2. The whole thing is a bit enraging, it got me into one of my "I hate people" moods.

      The best we can do is continue to espouse low consumption lifestyles.

    3. Absolutely - I just need to be careful about stacking my soap box on my high horse. Trying to engage people without berating them can be tricky.

  3. I know exactly what you mean about those cafe muffins. I let myself get seduced by the way they look and then... booooring. Dry. Almost bread-like. You think I'd learn. The reason I probably don't is that I don't bake. That gouging out of tins is my usual experience, so now I don't bother!

    Not only are you saving money, but by making them half the size, you are reducing the kilojoule intake while still enjoying delicious muffiny goodness!

    1. Making them smaller might reduce the kilojoules per muffin, but if I eat two muffins at a time... haha, I can't be trusted!

  4. I had to come over to learn more about the muffins. Oh my goodness, how did I never think to make savoury muffins??? This changes everything!!

    1. Bacon and Egg muffins! English Breakfast muffins! They're all around you. Of course those examples require construction, because I'm super lazy everything gets mixed up in one big batch of muffin-ey goodness and then snacks are go!


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