I have had a breadmaker sitting in the closet for a while, which I whip out on occasion when the thought comes to mind. I started thinking that I could just keep that breadmaker out, and make my own bread. When you figure out the price of the ingredients, it costs about half the price to make a good healthy bread. I even talked a friend of mine into getting her machine out, and she likes it so much she is using it every day or two. Not only does it cut the cost of the bread in half, but you aren't having to run to the store as often when you run out of bread, and there is less packaging waste. I just keep reusing the same ziplock bag.
There are some great breadmakers out on the market now. This Sunbeam machine at Amazon is similar to mine. It makes up to a 2 lb. loaf and has 12 cooking functions and 3 crust colors. This particular model is on sale right now and ships for free. But Amazon has more than 100 different machines on their site, so there is sure to be one that suits you.
I also purchased some bread machine mixes in bulk at Amazon. These are great if you just want to drop it in the machine and go. This 9-grain bread from Hodgson Mill was delicious! But I have moved to making it myself with my own ingredients. I received this cookbook as a gift for Christmas a few years back, and decided to dust it off. While I originally started with the basic wheat recipe, I have found many wonderful recipes that I have tried or want to try. The Cornmeal Bread is to die for, and I love the Oatmeal Bread too. It has been a fun adventure going through the book trying to decide which one will be the next loaf I make. I'm glad that I started the process of reviewing what items I buy and looking for ways to cut the budget. Not only has this been less expensive, but, I must admit, I like my bread better than the store bought variety, and I know that it doesn't have all the preservatives and chemicals in it as well!