Handy Tips on What to Make, What to Buy

Handy-Tips-on-what-to-make-what-to-buyHomemade food is coming back, and that’s good for your family and your budget! Still, it’s important to take advantage of the modern conveniences you have at your disposal. Make the most of your time in the kitchen by knowing what to make and what to buy!

Of course much of this is subjective.  If you enjoy making something, then go for it!

What to Make

Salad Dressing
Salad dressing is truly one of the easiest food items you can make yourself, and making it yourself can save you a ton of money! Start with oil and vinegar and season to your liking. It only takes a minute or two.

With the popularity of the breadmaker, there’s no reason to not make your own bread. Once you find the perfect recipe for your family, it’s simple to just throw the ingredients in your breadmaker and let it go.

If you can find a few minutes to slice up a bag of apples and throw them in a pot on the stove or the slowcooker, you have time for homemade applesauce that is far better than anything you could get at the store.  This is also perfect for using up fruit that is a little past it’s prime.

Ice Cream
An ice cream maker is an inexpensive appliance that can make the creamiest, most delicious treat you’ve ever had! As a bonus, this is a fun project to do with kids.  This tip is especially true for those who eat dairy-free ice cream since you can pay up to $5 a pint for it.

Try Frugal Living Mom’s easy Sugar Free Chocolate Almond Crunch Ice Cream.  It takes minutes!

What to Buy

Yes, you can make your own yogurt with milk and time. But it’s a labor-intensive process that may not yield the creamy yogurt you love. Find a good quality yogurt, buy it and spend your time elsewhere!  If you are going to make yogurt though, I think these would be the easiest way to do it.

It might seem like crackers are a good thing to make. But if you don’t get the dough just right, you end up with dry, tasteless snacks that no one wants. On top of that they are very time consuming for only a few crackers. In general, picking up a box of Ritz is a better bet in most cases!

Try our Parmesan Garlic Zucchini Chips for a fun new experience.

Making your own butter is one of those tasks that may actually cost you money rather than saving you money.  It might be a fun one time thing, but it’s not going to save you money.

Cheesemaking may be a fun hobby, but if you’re trying to save money and time, it may be easier to simply hit the cheese aisle at the grocery store.

What’s your favorite item to make at home? Is there anything you refuse to make?

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  1. stacey says

    Actually, the easiest way to make yogurt is in your crockpot, especially if your family eats a lot of it. Fill your crock pot with a half-gallon of milk. Heat the milk on low for 3 hours. Turn off the crockpot and let sit, undisturbed, for another 3 hours. At that point, thoroughly mix in a single serving plain yogurt that has “active and live cultures” listed in the ingredients list. Wrap your crock pot in a towel or two and place in a warm place over night or for 8-12 hours. (i’ve let mine sit as long as 24 hours) Line a collander over a bowl with a tea towel and place yogurt in the collander to drain. The resulting liquid in the bowl below can be used in drinks, to marinate meat, etc and the thicker yogurt in the colander is your yogurt. Place in containers and refrigerate. Mix in any fruits or sweetners as you consume it. Enjoy!

  2. barbara says

    I agree with your list! Salad dressing is such an easy one and saves so much money. I can’t stand the taste of most bottled salad dressings as i am spoiled by fresh ingredients… I am usually content with just a drizzle of olive oil and some balsamic vinegar or a bit of fresh lemon juice. I grew up with home made yogurt and remember the crockery bowl wrapped in dishtowels when my grandmother made it. When I first tasted commercial yogurt i remember thinking “THIS is NOT yogurt!!!!”

  3. barbara says

    correction to my comment: at one time I was considering a bread machine but decided NO as i did not want to eat bread for “fun” but for function… so i just get costco’s 100% whole wheat bread and the sandwich thins for sandwiches…that way I am not TEMPTED to gorge myself on BReAD!!!!

  4. mom929 says

    check out the book Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a day and you won’t even need a bread maker or any special equipment to make incredible bread in almost no time, with no kneading (I’m not affiliated with the authors or paid in any way, just love the book). Or check out their blog to try a few recipes before you even invest in the book. But if you are anything like me, after a loaf or two you will find the $15 totally worth it

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