When you walk into a grocery store, the baked goods section is one of the most exciting.  The smell of bread and the visual display of cookies can overwhelm the senses.  The truth is items in the bakery department can often be found elsewhere in the store for less because you are paying for convenience and variety.  Here are a few tips by for navigating the products in the most tempting corner of the store.

Cookies

The average cost for a dozen cookies in the bakery is $2.99.  That is not a deal.  Making them from scratch is of course the most economical, but if you don’t have that kind of time, you can still purchase refrigerated cookie dough for $3.00, and that makes TWO dozen cookies.

*Beware of the cookies in the cases versus the cookies in the clamshell packages.  These giant cookies often cost over $0.99.  Save yourself the money and the calories and enjoy a smaller version for less.

Bread

If you are looking for a loaf or baguette for a special occasion, the bakery is a great place to go.  For everyday bread options, look near the sandwich supplies and spreads.  These pre-packaged loafs are pre-sliced, freeze well, and are often on special with either sales or coupons.

Bagels

The advantage of buying bagels in the bakery department is quantity and mix.  If you only want one bagel, or if you want multiple flavors, this is where you should go.  Know that the price per bagel in the bakery is more than if you bought pre-packaged bagels.

Cakes

Bakery cakes are beautifully decorated, but they are also more expensive than making one in your kitchen.  With a little time and creativity, you can bake something just as appealing at home.  Great resources for interesting birthday cakes are The Happy Housewife – who has shared her Barbie Cake and Star Wars Cake - and Life As Mom, who has written an e-book on how to make your own cool cakes.

In summary, go to the bakery department when:

  1. You are not hungry
  2. You are looking for something unique
  3. You are strapped for time and need convenience

What do you do to navigate the bakery department?

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