Did you know that you can make your own yogurt? And if you're out of cream of mushroom soup, you can make your own in a pinch!
Making things from scratch instead of purchasing them ready-made can save you money because:
1. You save yourself a trip to the store. Time and gas money saved!
2. Often, the total cost of the ingredients is cheaper than the equivalent store-bought product.
Sometimes, I'm forced into making something myself because I'm out of the store-bought version. Other times, I make something from scratch because I've figured out it's cheaper.
There are a multitude of items that you can make yourself. When deciding whether to make it or buy it, consider the following:
1. Is it really cheaper? There are plenty of websites and blogs (including mine!) that offer recipes for everything from homemade Bisquick to hot chocolate mix. Many of them will say "It's more economical for me to make this than to buy it," and they might even tell you how much the item costs to make. However, your ingredients will most likely cost a little more or less than their ingredients. Maybe they've found a super cheap source for powdered milk, or maybe their bread flour is more expensive than yours. Do the math yourself to figure out if making this item is really cheaper than buying it.
2. How much cheaper is it? If you're only saving a few pennies, it might not be worth your time.
3. Do you need any special tools/equipment/gadgets to make the item? If so, consider how long it will take (how many batches of this item) to actually start saving money. As well, ask around to see if you can borrow the equipment you need...at least until you know for sure that you'll be making this on a regular basis.
4. Time is money. If it takes you two hours of hands-on time to make those freezer waffles and you're only saving 50 cents, it might not be worth your time!
5. It is healthier or tastier than the storebought version? Even if you are only saving a few pennies, you might still choose to make it yourself in order to avoid preservatives and other random ingredients you can't pronounce, or to avoid a "blah" taste.
6. Try, try again. If your first batch of a make-it-yourself item doesn't turn out, don't get discouraged. See if you can figure out what went wrong and try it again, or pick a different way to make it.
Here are a few items I have made from scratch, with good success:
(please note: not all of these items are cheaper than their store-bought equivalent)
- yogurt (heating pad method)
- white bread (in the breadmaker)
- whole wheat bread (no breadmaker needed!)
- English Muffin bread
- granola bars
- taco seasoning
- brownie mix
- pizza sauce
- Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
- hot fudge
- hot chocolate mix
- chai tea mix
- homemade Bisquick (shortening) or this one (real butter)
- yogurt (oven method)
- ice cream
- cream soups
- Ranch dressing mix
- Italian dressing mix
- freezer-friendly waffles
- oatmeal packets
What do you make from scratch? Do you make it from scratch to save money, or for health/taste reasons?
Looking for more great ways to Save Money in the Kitchen? Head over here to catch up on any articles you've missed!