A lot of budget-conscious people make pizza at home from scratch – but are they really saving money by doing this? If this is you, have you ever sat down and actually figured out the cost of making a pizza pie?
Don’t worry – we’ve done the work for you and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised…especially if you’re
a “cheapo” budget conscious like I am.
After a lot of research and calculating, we were able to price out a pizza made from scratch at home to be $2.36. Below you’ll see how we did it so you can copy our example, save a lot of money and eat a delicious pizza pie!
Our Costly Pizza Restaurant Story
We don’t go out to eat very often but about a month ago, we were out as a family around the lunch hour and everyone was hankering for pizza.
We had heard about a pizzeria close to where we were that had great reviews and served authentic wood-fired brick oven pizza. After paying $10 for parking, we entered the restaurant and found it to be clean and charming, and were excited to try out their pies.
The prices on the menu were high but we expected 2 adult pizzas and 2 children’s pizzas to easily feed our family of 5.
Sadly, it was barely enough…not because we are big eaters but because the serving sizes were so small. After we had gobbled everything down, it came as no surprise that everyone was still hungry.
I mentally calculated where we were at in terms of spending and decided that ordering more pies was out of the question.
When the bill came in ($70.58) and I added in a tip ($10) and the cost of parking ($10), I was shocked that our little pizza lunch meal (2 big pizzas, 2 little pizzas, and 3 drinks) came in at $90.58…and we were still hungry!!
The whole experience disappointed me. For that much money, I could’ve bought enough supplies to make more than 30 pizzas at home…yup, you read that right. For $90 I could’ve easily fed my family well over thirty delicious and healthy homemade pizzas.
Before You Start, Shop at Home
I love Dave Ramsey. If you don’t know who he is, look him up – it’ll be worth your while. He has helped thousands of families save money and get out of debt.
If you’re reading this article, perhaps you are looking for ways to save money (eat pizza and save money? yes!). One of my favorite budget boosters comes from a tip I read on Dave’s website years ago – use what you already have on hand.
Seems pretty simple, but so often we get lazy and buy a more expensive ready-made meal (aka frozen pizza) instead of taking the time to use ingredients we have sitting in our pantry or cupboard and making something delicious, healthy and inexpensive.
Before taking one step out the door, write down what you already have on hand and use it up. You’ll already be further ahead just by doing this one simple thing.
(If you don’t already have a budget, Dave’s “EveryDollar” budgeting tool is fantastic – I highly recommend it – no affiliate links, just super happy with this tool and wanted to pass along some good advice!)
Let’s Break Down the Cost
Ingredients for our recipe called “Quick Perfect Pizza Dough” will be used for the sake of this calculation.
This recipe makes two 12” pizza crusts. We will also use a few other ingredients as toppings. All the ingredients listed are easily sourced at WalMart and can be purchased online or in person.
Here’s the breakdown of costs from Walmart as of July 3, 2018 (warning: lots of math ahead – don’t say I didn’t warn you):
Cost of the Crust
Flour – I found a 25-pound bag of Great Value All Purpose Flour for $7.76 making the cost $.02 an ounce. We require 11 ounces of flour in our recipe which equals $.22.
Yeast – Fleischmann’s Yeast comes in jars or packets. The jar would be less expensive but for the sake of convenience, I chose the packets. At the time of this writing, the cost is $1.34 for three packets. For our recipe we need one packet, making the cost $.44.
Olive Oil – A 24 fluid oz. bottle of Pompeian OlivExtra Premium Mediterranean Blend is $4.68 or $.20 a fluid oz. We need 2 TBSPS in our recipe which is .97 of an ounce making the cost $.19.
Sugar – A 4-pound bag of sugar costs $1.98 or $.50 per pound. We need a ½ teaspoon for this recipe and since there are 174 teaspoons in a pound we come up with $.003 – or, um, zero. We’ll just say $.01.
Salt – For a 26 oz. box of salt the price is $.54 or $.03 per oz. I won’t bore you again with the math but suffice to say, the 1 teaspoon we need for our recipe will cost very close $.0 so we’ll just say $.01.
Water – Our last ingredient is water and you’ll need one cup of it. If you pay for water, the cost of this one cup is negligible but we’ll say $.01.
Let’s add up all those numbers in bold now:
$.88 for TWO Pizza Crusts or $.44 for ONE
Now that’s what I call watching your pennies!
Cost of the Toppings
Let’s add some basic toppings and see where the calculations come out:
Sauce – One jar of Great Value Pizza Sauce is currently $1.58 or $.07 per oz at WalMart. We will need about 4 oz. of sauce for one pizza which will cost $.28.
Cheese – A 5-pound bag of Great Value Shredded Mozzarella Cheese at WalMart is currently selling for $13.97.
FIVE pounds? Yes, I know that’s a lot of cheese, but did you know that cheese can be frozen? Check out this article from the National Dairy Council.
If you have the freezer space, buy the larger bag as it will save you a considerable amount of money. Divide the cheese into one cup portions and wrap it well in freezer bags or plastic wrap so that the cheese won’t absorb other flavors from your freezer.
Per ounce, this cheese costs $.18. We will need 4 oz. for one pizza which will cost $.72.
Sausage – I love sausage on pizza…more than pepperoni…there, I said it! I found some Great Value Mild Italian Sausage selling for $3.24 for 19 oz. which makes it $.18 oz. We will need 4 oz. of sausage for our pizza, making it $.72.
Let’s add up our total cost for the toppings.
$1.72 for toppings for one pizza
Cost of Electricity
There’s one more category we haven’t included in our homemade pie calculations yet and that is the cost of electricity.
Most people will need to bake their pizza in an electric oven. The cost for this will vary widely depending on where you live, which appliance you choose to use (stove, toaster oven, wood-fired pizza oven) and the cost for electricity in your area at the time you’re using power. In our area, electricity is cheaper on weekends and weeknights.
If my oven uses 2400 watts at $.12 per kW hour, it would cost $.30 to run my oven for an hour.
If my oven uses 1200 watts at $.10 per kW hour, the cost would be $.12 for one hour.
Since the costs vary so widely, I will put in a value of $.20 to cover the cost of electricity.
I must admit I was surprised when I first figured out the total cost of making one pizza at home. I thought the cost would come in around $4 or $5. Instead, here are the final numbers:
Crust – $.44
Toppings – $1.72
Electricity – $.20
Grand Total for One Home Made Pizza:
The good news is that you can shave even more off that number. Read on if you want to know how.
How to Save More
The following three ways to save more money are all ones I have personally implemented in my own life.
Buy in Bulk
Yeast, flour and olive oil can all be purchased in bulk saving you even more.
I usually purchase yeast in bulk. All but one cup goes in the freezer. The one cup goes into a jar in the fridge.
Yes, yeast will survive the cold – even the deep cold of the freezer. Kept in the fridge, it is recommended to use your yeast up in four months. If it’s in the freezer, yeast can be stored up to six months. This issue can open the door to a whole other discussion about how it may be beneficial to buy a small chest freezer for your garage to save money (and offer convenience) in spite of the added cost of electricity – but we’ll save that for another article!
Personally, I have found yeast to last much longer than even six months! The way I can tell if it’s still active is by “proofing” it…see our recipe for Quick Perfect Pizza Dough for instructions on how to proof yeast.
Flour purchased in bulk is also best kept in the freezer to maintain freshness. Wrap it well so it doesn’t absorb flavor from other foods. It will keep indefinitely if left in the freezer.
Olive oil will keep for up to two years if stored properly. Keep it away from light and heat as these will speed up the rate of deterioration.
Join a Co-op
No, not coop as in chicken coop… co-op! I belong to a food co-op in my area and it has saved me hundreds of dollars.
Co-ops can run in different ways but for the one I belong to, it’s pretty simple: I receive a list of bulk items to buy and either purchase the whole amount or share with others in the co-op who want to share a particular bulk product. For me, it’s usually raisins or dates. They come in packages too huge for me to eat in a year, so I share a package with 3 or more others so we each pay less, get the amount we want, and nothing gets wasted.
For example, to save money in making pizza, I purchase raw kernels of wheat and do the grinding at home with a NutriMill (I use mine at least twice a week as I bake). I can either buy a 50-pound bag of kernels myself or share the bag with 4 others, each of us receiving 10 pounds. The cost is then split 5 ways.
Where do you find a co-op? Check Craig’s List, local Facebook Groups, the Classifieds section of your newspaper or just ask around. A friend told me about the one I’m in years ago and I’ve been a member since!
Grow Your Ingredients
Okay so I’m not suggesting you grow a field of wheat in order to make flour – that would be quite the undertaking. A few tomato plants, however, can set you up with enough of a crop to use them as a fresh topping, can some for sauce, and make some as sun-dried tomatoes, saving your hard earned money.
What about basil? I LOVE basil on my pizza…to me, pizza is not pizza without fresh basil. The combination of fresh tomato sauce, mozzarella and basil makes me wild with delight. Basil is super easy to grow too. Most Garden Centers carry basil plants, but starting with seeds is even more cost-effective.
The same thing goes with sweet and hot peppers, onions, garlic, and most other vegetables…they are easy to grow, save you money and give you gardening satisfaction!
I’ve done the legwork for you and proven that making a pizza at home is very economical. I’ve even given you ideas of how you can save more.
So I’ll leave you with this challenge: what is the cheapest you can make a pizza for?
Can you beat my numbers above? Show me the money! Write to me in the comments and share your homemade budget pizza tips!