Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Things I don't buy anymore (cause I make 'em)!

Most times when you buy things you are paying for the convenience of the item. As I've started making more and more things myself, I've saved lots of money.


Here is my no-fail bread recipe:

3 cups all purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup warm milk
3/4 cup warm water
1/2 cup veg oil
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
4 1/2 tsp yeast

I mix this with dough hooks using my stand-up mixer, but you could also do it on the dough setting of your bread machine (if you half the recipe), or by hand. Let it rise until very puffy. Put in an oiled bread pan or form into buns or rolls on a cookie sheet. Let it rise again until very puffy. Bake at 400 until brown on top (about 12-15 mins).

LAUNDRY SOAP - this has saved me SO MUCH MONEY! It is so cheap and easy to make! You only need three ingredients and they are all found in the laundry isle!


Take out pizza is costly. I really struggled to find a pizza recipe that was crunchy enough for me. Here it is:

1 cup water
2 TBS oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp oregano or basil
1 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp yeast

Bake at 400 for 5-10 mins, then put toppings on and bake again until cheese is bubbly and slightly brown.


I get so many compliments on this cake recipe. I usually make it into cupcakes for a low mess birthday party.

3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup applesauce
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups sugar
2 tsps vanilla
1 1/2 cups milk


Making your own vanilla is so fun and easy. It impresses people and makes great gifts. All you need is 1/4 pound of vanilla beans and 750 ml of vodka. Put the beans in the vodka and let is set for a couple of weeks, lightly shaking it daily. When you start to get low, add more vodka! I know someone who's been using her same beans for years!


This recipe can be tricky. Start my making this small amount and see if you are happy with the results.

1/4 cup castile soap
1/4 cup water
1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 cup salt

Put in a container and shake. Instead of rinse aid, use vinegar.


Nearly everything at my house gets cleaned with equal parts vinegar and water: Windows, bathrooms, floors, countertops, you name it! I just keep it mixed up in an old spray bottle. (For windows and mirrors, you will need a microfiber cloth if, like me, you avoid buying paper towels. Newspaper works well, too!)

AND MORE . . .

Since I make most household and food items from scratch I could go on and on. I encourage you to try some of these yourself. I remember my first experience in making something from scratch that I normally would've bought was pancakes. After I made them, I realized I was only adding two more ingredients than I would've if I had started with boxed pancake mix! To me, it seemed silly to keep buying a mix that was only saving me 60 seconds!

What's your favorite thing to make instead of buy?


  1. Well, I didn't make them, but I did remark to Jon that I don't understand why handkerchiefs ever went out of style. Bad allergies means I always needed to carry tissues, and I got really tired of picking kleenex flecks out of the laundry. Now I have handkerchiefs in my purse, in my pocket, beside my bed at night, and we've cut our tissue consumption down considerably.

  2. Robby really hated the home-made laundry detergent...UNTIL...I used my Vita Mix to blend the bar soap to a fine powder (make sure you add some of the powders, and only mix for a few seconds or your soap will melt). I use 1/4 c. in each load instead of the 2T called for, but I still ended up with 121 loads of laundry soap for around $14. I also use Zote instead of Fels, I like the smell better.
    To all of you who hit "Happy Hour" at the Arches(or on the morning commute) or grab a 44oz-er at 1/2 price...May I suggest investing in a Vita Mix. I bought mine at Sam's during a Christmas special for $500, online reconditioned they are $379, but worth every penny! I have 5 kiddos, so they are always wanting a "Slushie" for the price of a packet of Kool-Aid and 1 c. of sugar, I have enough for 8 slushies. If you grind your own grains, there is a special canister for that. I am the Blender Tester Queen, I once broke one straight out of the box in less than 5 minutes! This bad-boy has 2.5 hp motor will boil water in about 9 minutes, and has a 7 year warenty, I've had mine 2 years (next month) and it's still going strong. And, unlike most appliances, I use it about 4 times a week. It's almost Christmas, put this on the list for the Hubby! Here's a link to the reconditioned ones:

  3. We make our own:

    Peanut butter (SUPER easy if you have a food processor) - Just use unsalted dry roasted peanuts and add salt to taste. Process until smooth. A cheaper and healthier alternative to storebought.

    Hummus - If you use dry chickpeas and a pressure cooker, you can save the bean broth and substitute it for the much more expensive vegetable or chicken stock used in soups, spreads, and sauces. The pressure cooker uses less electricity because instead of boiling the beans for hours, it only takes 15-30 minutes!

    Salad Dressings - Always cheaper than storebought. Plain olive oil and balsamic vinegar is our favorite, but adding herbs and citrus juices can bring a lot of complexity to the dressings.

    Ketchup - tomato sauce, tomato paste, sugar, and vinegar. Tada!

    That's all for now, but I agree with Bobbie - the list could go on and on. When we make our own items, we not only save money, but we also feel more pride in those items and our ability to create. That's important to us, so we'll keep trying new things bit by bit (starting with your bread recipe - Breadsmith is getting pricey as often as we are going these days).

    Thanks, Bobbie, for sharing!

    -Kelly and Devin

  4. Love your ideas, ladies! Katie reminded me that using cloth napkins has saved our family lots! Kelly, thanks for all the great tips! Making our own salad dressing is a big money saver--and it tastes SO much better than storebought! Jessi, I'm glad to hear you made the laundry soap work for your family. It is the cheapest laundry soap ever!!

  5. Love your bread recipe, thanks for all the tips!

  6. So excited to make the dishwasher soap...i already have all of the ingredients in my house! How easy :)

  7. i ust found ur website and i love the ideas .. i make my own laundry soap too .. i take a zote soap bar, 2 cups washing soda, 2 cups borax, and 2 little scoops of the (dollar store brand) oxy .. i use about a 1/4 c too .. (in the summer, i use a bit more (more like 1/2 c) on my son's clothes bc he works outside all day long and his clothes are really dirty and stinky thank ours.. and they always come out fresh smelling and clean .. and in the rinse cycle i always use a bit of vinegar ..
    i will try to make the bread recipe .. i love bread .. hubby's diet prohibits him eating bread but if its homemade i think he would enjoy a nice slice or two ..
    i used to live with a woman who "made" her own butter . she would take some buttermilk and put it into her yogurt maker and bc the yogurt maker would "shake" it made the butter .. it was really good ..

  8. Going to repurpose things this year. Bought a red quilted chair cover new/used for $3.99. I will make my daughter a sewing machine cover and hopefully a dog coat out of the piece.
    Also got 3 cotton tableclothes for $3. a piece. Hope to make several dishclothes and dish towels. I got patterns for both for .99.
    Where could I get Castille soap. and thanks in advance!

  9. Love re-purposing!
    We get Castile soap from our local Mennonite store. You can also order it on-line from If you are part of a bulk ordering group like Azure Standard or Unfi, it is reasonably priced there. You can also get it on Amazon, but its much more expensive. I'm sure there are other places that I don't know of. If anyone knows of a good place to get Castile for a good price, please chime in!

    1. FYI Target has it online $16.99/32 oz. free shipping for $49.00 orders. (peppermint,lavender,baby powder,eucalyptus) had it. I am hoping a smaller grocery that will stock it.

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