There are many things we routinely buy that we don’t really need. Not to mention that we buy way too many things we can easily make ourselves—and for a lot less money.
Not only do you save money when you make things yourself, but you also get to create items designed specially for you.
Don’t like that flavor? Use your knowledge to adjust your sauce to make it agreeable to your taste buds. Plus, you’ll know exactly what’s in each item you make.
We often avoid DIY because it seems easier and more convenient to buy something. But this isn’t always true.
When we learn a new skill, such as making our own salsa, we discover it isn’t nearly as hard as we imagined it to be. And, if you grow peppers, it is extremely convenient.
Take a look through this list of items and see what you can stop buying and start making today.
During the pandemic, we remembered the joys of baking bread.
First, we needed to because grocery stores were emptying, and it reminded us that we need to be more self-reliant.
Then, we remembered how much better fresh bread tastes!
Invest in a bread maker or learn how to make it by hand.
2. Salad Dressing
Stop buying salad dressings when you can make your own using items you likely already have.
For example, if you have olive oil, vinegar (white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, etc.), salt, and pepper, you can whip up a quick and delicious simple vinaigrette salad dressing.
3. All-Purpose Cleaner
Here is a recipe for All-Purpose Vinegar Cleaning Spray from Misfit Gardening:
- 3 ounces of hot water
- 1/2 cup of distilled white vinegar (5%)
- 10 drops of lavender essential oil
- 20 drops of lemon or another citrus essential oil
- Spray bottle
- Mix all ingredients in a spray bottle.
- Spray on the surface then wipe away with a clean cloth.
4. Laundry Detergent
Here is a recipe for Homemade Laundry Detergent and Rinse Aid from Better Homes and Gardens:
- 1 bar laundry soap (Castile Soap)
- 1 cup borax
- 1 cup washing soda
- 1 cup oxygen bleach
- Grate bar of laundry soap; you should have about 2 cups of grated soap. (Or look for soap flakes online.)
- Mix all ingredients in a large container. Store in a lidded jar.
- Use 2 tablespoons for a light load and 4 tablespoons for a large or dirty load. Wash as normal.
There has been a lot in the news lately about the toxic ingredients found in store-bought deodorants. You can avoid these issues and save money by making deodorant yourself.
There are many recipes online, but most include the following basic ingredients:
- Shea butter
- Coconut oil
- Essential oils
- Baking soda
6. Body Scrub
Coffee grounds work well as an exfoliant for the skin, making it a good body scrub. Mix with water or coconut oil, then scrub on dry areas of your skin to moisturize.
A quick, cheap, and easy product replacement for toothpaste is baking soda. Mix baking soda with water to form a paste. Dip your toothbrush into the paste, then brush your teeth.
[Related Read: Keeping your teeth clean when the SHTF]
Instead of buying mouthwash, make your own. Simply combine 1 cup of filtered water and 4 teaspoons of baking soda.
9. Lip Balm
As you go through this DIY list, you will find some of the same ingredients pop up over and over.
For instance, shea butter and coconut oil. When you combine these two with beeswax pellets and essential oils, you can create a personalized lip balm.
Many homesteaders enjoy soap-making as a hobby.
In addition to making their own soap instead of buying it, it also makes a great source of income when sold at farmer’s markets.
[Learn More: How to make cold-process soap at home]
If you learn how to sew, you can stop buying clothes and start making your own using patterns.
If you just learn how to mend, you can buy secondhand clothes and mend them to fit your family.
12. Tomato Sauce
If you grow tomatoes, don’t let any go to waste!
In addition to using fresh tomatoes in your cooking, use them to make your own tomato sauces, pizza sauces, and spaghetti sauces. Can and store for use throughout the year.
13. Livestock Feed
Visit your local farmer’s market or feed supply store to get ingredients to make your own livestock feed.
Look for ingredients such as:
- Split peas
- Sunflower seeds
- Wheat berries
- Cracked corn
- Flax seeds or meal
- Pumpkin seeds
Try out different feed mixtures to find the right one for your livestock.
[For recipes, see: How to Make Your Own Livestock Feed]
Like soap-making, many homesteaders enjoy making candles. Not only are these a fun, lucrative hobby, but they also provide a light and heat source should you ever need one.
Instead of buying beer, start brewing your own! It’s a fun process and you can adjust your recipes until you’ve got the perfect brew for you.
[See Healthy Homebrewed Beer for detailed instructions.]
16. Powdered Sugar
Here’s a trick: put granulated sugar in a blender for 10 seconds or so, and you have powdered sugar.
You will never buy powdered sugar again.
17. Brown Sugar
Brown sugar does not have a great shelf life, so unless you are going to make a lot of bakery items that require brown sugar, you shouldn’t buy a bag of it at the store. Especially not when you see how easy it is to make at home.
Mix one cup of granulated sugar with two tablespoons of molasses until combined.
Ta-da! You’ve got brown sugar.
18. Spice Mixes
Instead of buying different spice mixes or flavored seasonings, stock your pantry with must-have spices so you can create your own spice mixes as needed.
This recipe for seasoning salt is from Mama’s Homestead:
- 4 tablespoons salt
- 4 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
- Measure all ingredients into a small jar and shake well.
- Store in an airtight container.
- Use for seasoning beef, chicken, fish, and vegetables. Add to soups and casseroles, too!
[See More: Standard Spices for Every Homesteader’s Pantry]
19. Face Cleanser
Whether you want a spa day or simply an everyday facial cleanser, there are many recipes for DIY face cleansers.
Most of these require ingredients you likely already have at home.
Take all your leftover peppers, onions, and tomatoes to create a signature salsa.
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