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How to get bread for $1 or less

Bakery outlets sell multigrain loaves and lots of other products for as little as 50 cents. And no, it's NOT "old" or "stale."

By MSN Money Partner Jun 4, 2014 12:22PM

This post comes from Donna Freedman at partner site Money Talks News.

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyChecked bread prices lately? When the staff of life costs $4 or more per loaf, your food budget suffers.

To avoid paying top dollar, search for a bakery outlet in your area. The savings are always good, and sometimes great:

Toast in a Toaster © Fuse, Fuse, Getty Images 

  • Recently I paid just 50 cents for an 18-count package of "stadium rolls," high-end buns that turn on-sale turkey burgers into a tasty (and frugal!) supper.
  • I routinely buy multigrain loaves for $1 to $1.50; since my life partner packs his lunch every day and often has toast for breakfast, the savings are noticeable.
  • Every now and then I'll get Little Debbie snack cakes for just a buck a box, as a fun treat for my great-nephews. Or, yeah, a bag of chocolate doughnuts (50 cents) as a treat for the grownups.

But isn't this stuff really old?

Nope. "Shopping at a bakery outlet doesn't mean settling for stale or moldy bread," says Erin Huffstetler, frugal living expert for

"Products may be closer to their sell-by date than you're used to, but there's still plenty of time to enjoy them, and you can always freeze bread to enjoy later."

Some "Killer" deals

Think of them as "bread thrift stores," used by bakeries to sell extra items. Sometimes that means factory overruns or holiday-themed products (e.g., Christmas cookies or Halloween Tastykakes). And yes, it can also mean bread and other products that are approaching their best-by dates.

Having seen close-dated bread on supermarket shelves -- where you'd expect it to be super-fresh -- I have no problem with this. Then again, I grew up watching my mom buy a dozen loaves at a time at a South Jersey bakery thrift shop.

Now that I live in Alaska, where food prices are high, the price break really makes a difference. We've purchased dark rye and pumpernickel as well as 12-grain loaves, and also tortillas, Boboli pizza shells, bagels, hot dog rolls, English muffins, doughnuts and onion rolls.

Depending on the outlet you may find non-bread items, from Bob's Red Mill baking mixes to Asian spices. Here in Anchorage we've found good-quality coffee (a pound and a half for $6), candy, corn chips and even canned sardines at our bakery outlet.

The lineup varies from week to week. Sometimes I get my pick of sandwich rolls and on other occasions find no rolls at all. One week Dave's Killer Bread was available for 50 cents a loaf; how else are you going to get a deal like that?

Where to find outlets

Looking for discounted bread in your area? Try these locators:

  • Aunt Millie's Thrift Stores. A Midwestern brand with shops in Ohio, Indiana and Michigan.
  • Bimbo Bakery Outlet Stores. With locations in 44 states, this company's brands include Arnold, Ball Park, Boboli, Earth Grains, Entenmann's, Freihofer's, Marinela, Mrs. Baird's, Oroweat, Sara Lee, Stroehmann, Thomas and Tia Rosa.
  • Franz Bakery Outlets. They have stores in Alaska, Washington, Oregon and Idaho. Labels include Holsum, Seattle International, Seattle Sourdough Baking Co. and Svenhard’s.
  • Holsum Bakery Outlets. Six locations, all in Arizona.
  • Oroweat. Outlets in Alaska and Washington.
  • Pepperidge Farm Bakery Outlet Stores. Stores in Maine, Connecticut, New York, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, North Carolina and Wisconsin.
  • Schwebel's Bakery Outlet Thrift Stores. Stores in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and Indiana; makers of Cinnabon, Country Hearth, 'taliano, Roman Meal and Sun-Maid.

Huffstetler also suggests checking the Yellow Pages (actual or virtual) for Flowers Bakery Outlet Stores and Master Bread Outlets. (These two have no aggregator site.)

Note: A local baking company might have its own thrift shop. Check the Yellow Pages for bread outlet or bakery outlet.

Best practices for bakery outlets

A few more slice-of-life tips:

Think ahead. If you find your favorite loaves, extend the savings by getting a couple of loaves for the freezer.

Experiment with flavors. Not sure you'd like onion rolls or Russian rye? It'll cost only a buck or so to find out. (Hint: Varying the breads keeps those brown-bag lunches interesting.) Fancier breads like cinnamon-raisin or thick-cut sourdough make great French toast for weekend brunches or too-tired-to-cook-much dinners.

Keep good rolls in the freezer. Those stadium rolls make tuna salad seem more interesting than it actually is (especially if you toast the rolls and add a little relish and chopped hard-cooked egg to the tuna). Leftover soup, or even canned soup, becomes a decent meal when served with dinner rolls, especially if they're brown-and-serve. The aroma will trick your belly into thinking you're livin' large.

Check sell-by dates. Different tag colors mean different days. While I'm not above eating bread with two days left on the meter, I always look for loaves with the longest shelf life (even if I plan to freeze them).

Look for special deals. Some outlets have punch-card systems: Collect enough stamps on your loyalty card and you'll get free products. Huffstetler notes that outlets may further sweeten the deal -- "senior stamp day," "double-punch day" -- so be sure to ask.

No outlets in your area? If the local supermarkets have their own bakeries, check the "yesterday's baked goods" rack for discounts of 50 percent or more. These often include unsold focaccia, garlic bread and other fancy stuff -- which, as noted above, can do wonders for an otherwise ordinary supper.

Another good habit: checking the weekly store ad. For example, I recently saw multigrain bread at two for $5 with coupon. Normally such loaves cost $4.29 each.

Bottom line: There's no need to break the bank for sandwich makings. Visit the bread outlet and save.

More from Money Talks News

Jun 4, 2014 2:19PM
Make your own bread and it will be a delight both for you and others around the table....
Jun 4, 2014 1:41PM
if you buy store brand bread you can get fresh soft bread for $1 every day. look for coupons as well. Here bread is on sale at leaset once a month, for the good deli type bread,
Jun 4, 2014 1:31PM
There is a store about twenty minutes from my home where it sells out dated bread, donuts and cakes at discounted prices. Sometimes the bread is pretty good. But, I'm a creature of convenience mostly so I opt to drive to a store nearby and just save the gas and time, instead.
Jun 4, 2014 4:46PM
Using a bakery outlet is a good way to save some money. But just beware of some of these "discount grocery" stores. Some are legit but I recently patronized one  called Mcgregors, just happened to drive by one and wanted to save some time since it was on my way home. Picked up various food items and realized that ALL of them were expired by several years and a few were literally rancid! I didn't know having rancid food on your shelves for folks to purchase and eat was actually legal. Disgusting -_- . Anyway inspect the discount food before you buy, guys
Jun 4, 2014 1:55PM
I remember when you could buy three boxes of mac and cheese, a loaf of bread, and a dozen eggs all of them together for $1.
Jun 4, 2014 5:54PM
Big Lots and Dollar Tree both have cheap bread, Big Lots has the Pepperidge Farms outlet products at outlet prices. Many people have these stores nearby, and you can get other stuff cheap as well. Big Lots has the Bob's Red Mill products as well. Surprised the author didn't mention these, as these stores are national. 
Jun 4, 2014 4:56PM
My bread is free. When I get out of my box in the morning, I raise the lid of the big green container and like magic, bread, lettuce, donuts, etc are there most everyday. Lifes good...........
Jun 5, 2014 11:06AM

What the hell is a "life partner" Donna ?

He's either your husband or some guy you're shacked up with.

Jun 4, 2014 3:30PM
Shop-Rite white bread ... family loaf ... $1.00 everyday here in NJ.
Jun 4, 2014 1:44PM
I don't eat grain anymore, but when I did...I baked my own bread with handground wheat and/or grain.
Jun 4, 2014 6:11PM
our leaders say "let them eat cake!"..."err um..what's that big wood frame thing with the nice shiny metal blade sitting outside the capitol"
Jun 5, 2014 2:51PM
Get a bread maker, experiment and enjoy. COSTCO for yeast ($5 a year), Trader Joes for good quality flours, whole grains, chopped nuts, raw seeds etc. Stay away from bleached white flour it's not much better than a pack of Marlboros for your health.
Jun 4, 2014 3:01PM
With Obummercare and Orrcare, how can anyone buy bread anymore?  Insurance out of pocket going from about 1000 yearly to 12,700 yearly, I may have to get bread from the dumpsters.  Why do more than 300 million Ameicans even allow just 535 clowns and a king to rule our lives as they do?  We deserver what we get when we allow one clown to lead 600,000 people, or mare, into oblilvion.
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