Recently we realised that our older sons, the ones supposed to be independent and make their own way, have been getting in debt. Yep, both of them.
Because I realise that young people today have it rather hard – jobs gone, pay gone down and the rest – I got only mildly irritated rather that fly into a full blown tantrum.
Our conversation went like this:
Me: ‘What do you have for lunch at work?’
Son 1: ‘I buy lunch in the canteen.
Me: ‘Let me get this right; I earn five times more than you and take lunch to work; you pay £5 daily to have lunch there. This is £25 per week, £100 per month.’
Son 2: ‘Well, we don’t have bread for sandwiches.’
Alarm bells started to ring!
Me: ‘You’ll have to rationalise your housekeeping. Did you know that soup offers most nutrition per pound spend?’
Son 2: ‘We don’t make soups. Don’t have bread; and they are not very nice with ‘plastic’ bread.’
I spotted a pattern: it seems that most of my sons sloppy housekeeping is about bread.
So, I made a deal with my sons: I’ll buy them a breadmaker.
Why a breadmaker or a lesson in advanced Bread-o-nomics
When we got our breadmaker about three years ago our friends had two reactions:
- Why do you have to spend about £100 to get a machine when you can make bread by hand?
- You’ll use it for three weeks and the novelty will wear off; then you’ll have one more useless thing cluttering your house.
As it happens we haven’t bought bread since we got our breadmaker. As to making bread by hand, it is great and damn side cheaper than paying for therapy.
But it doesn’t make much economic sense as a regular house-keeping fixture. To make bread takes about 30 minutes (this doesn’t include the time it takes to raise). Since I am not likely to take pleasure in doing this all the time, we’ll have to see it as ‘work’ – at my rate of pay we’ll be eating extremely expensive loafs and loads of resentment.
Buying a breadmaker, on the other hand, makes a lot of financial sense.
A good one is likely to cost you about £100 though you can get one for less. This is an example so let’s stick with £100.
Making bread at home saves you money in two different ways:
- By cutting down the price of really high quality bread; and
- By making eating cheaper meals like soups and stews much more attractive.
Marks & Spencer’s bread prices
Wholemeal loaf (800g): £1.29
Ciabatta (270g x 2): £2.50
Wholemeal loaf (800g): £0.43
Ciabatta (270g x 2): £0.24
(and, yes, this includes the electricity used)
Assuming that a family uses four loafs per week and has Ciabatta once (Sunday salad lunch, for instance) this is a saving of £5.70.
(Yes, you could get cheaper bread; but please look at the ‘ingredients’ section and don’t be surprised that it sounds like half of the Mendeleev table. Some chemical elements are not meant to be eaten.)
Correction: ALDI just reduced the price of their strong bread flour: white (1.5 kg) is £0.75 and whole meal (1.5 kg) is £0.99. This reduces the cost of a whole meal loaf to £0.35 and ciabatta to about £0.20.
Eating soup and fresh bread three four times a week can shave off over £15 from a family’s weekly food budget but let’s be conservative and say a saving of £10 per week. (Most soups work out at about £0.15 per serving; not many other meals compare.)
Buying a breadmaker – and using it regularly – can save a family £15.70 per week. This means that it takes six and a half weeks for the Bread Maker to pay for itself.
There is a wide variety of breadmaker on the market at the moment. According to a recent article in The Telegraph the absolutely best make is Panasonic.
If Panasonic are the Rolls-Royce of breadmakers, this is absolutely top of the range. It has 11 programmes that make all sorts of bread and dough. Gosh, it even makes gluten-free bread. Apart from it functionality, this baby is sleek and pretty.
There are two downsides to it though: it is Panasonic’s most expensive bread-making machine and, reputedly, David Cameron has one of them. Naturally the first I can vouch for, the second – who knows. Politicians are slippery.
This is another great make of bread-making machines. This one comes with 15 programme, a super rapid baking programme and an automatic ingredients dispenser.
Best of all, it is an incredibly good deal: it costs £79.99 (down from £139.99)
This is not simply a breadmaker; it is a culinary miracle. It makes cakes and even jam. It has 12 programmes and allows choice of loaf size.
If the Kenwood was a good deal this is a real come-up: it is not only one of the cheapest bread makers around but you’ll also be saving £84.94. Isn’t this grand!
This is a very basic bread-making machine: it has only five programmes, no frills. It still can make bread, pizza dough and rolls. It makes only small loafs which is perfect for one or two people.
Good value for money.
Which one do I have, you may ask?
I have the Panasonic SD-2501 WXC and it’s been wonderful – you can also get it for less than £100 (£98 to be precise).
Getting a breadmaker makes good financial sense. Frugality or folly, my sons are getting a breadmaker for Christmas: probably the Andrew James or Morphy Richards one.
Would you think of getting a loved one something like that for a Christmas?