When you read articles about saving money at Christmas time, people always suggest homemade gifts. Sure, homemade gifts are a lovely thing to give but are they actually any cheaper? As someone who bakes goodies for my loved ones every year and who is, let’s face it, a bit of a nerd, I decided to do the math .
As absurd as it is to eat a hot, rich pudding in high Summer, it wouldn’t be Christmas without one and this recipe, while being fairly economical, makes a cracker of a pud.
Considering you can pick up a 1.2kg pudding for less than $20, it’s pretty close. Is the home-made better? Well, that depends on how good a cook you are…
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Mince Pies (makes 20)
I can’t get enough of mince pies and when the festive season rolls around, I stock up and pig out until it is I who rolls around. You can make them with jarred fruit mince and frozen pastry but if you want the real deal, you have to start from scratch.
A box of ready-made mince pies ranges from as little as $2 to $20, depending on how gourmet you want to go. With the average box costing around $5 (that’s about 83c a pie), the home made version is actually a little bit cheaper! It sure is a lot of work though…
Shortbread (makes about 16 pieces)
A Scottish classic, I never used to love shortbread… until I discovered how easy it was to make! Now it’s a staple of my Christmas gift repertoire.
These bikkies are simple to make and always taste better home-made. A box of premium shortbread shapes would set you back around $3.50 so at face value, these are definitely a bit cheaper!
This, my friend, is the clincher. You see, all those pre-bought foodstuffs we snubbed were already packaged, needing only a yard of gift-wrap or a festive bow to spruice them up. To gift your home-made foods, you’ll need food-safe packaging and the wrapping on top of that. This is where thrifty ideas of home-made gifts go horribly wrong, prices spiralling out of control as you search for that perfect cake tin or the cellophane bags that are inevitably sold out come December.
Once packaging, petrol, the cost of running your kitchen and of course, your precious time are taken in to consideration, hand-made gifts can turn out to be more expensive than the bought variety! I’m not telling you to stop making rum balls with tender, loving care but do it because you want to, not because it’s cheaper. It ain’t!