9 Foods You Should be Making Instead of Buying!

July 2015

One of the easiest ways to save money on groceries is to cook food from scratch. But sometimes that’s easier said than done.
By making these few items from scratch on a regular basis and making sure to use them up in your monthly meal plan, you can save up to $480 every year!


Store-bought bread is often hidden with unhealthy fats and processed sugar, which seems silly when you can make bread with as little as four ingredients.

Time: 90 minutes for Man Bread; 5 minutes + overnight rise + 90 minutes for No-knead Overnight Artisan Bread

Cost: as little as 72¢ per batch

Savings: 78% over store-bought

Work Smarter: Make either recipe when you’re already in the kitchen working.  If you bake bread the same day every week, it makes monthly meal planning a whole lot easier!

Ranch Dressing

Time: 5 minutes

Cost: 20¢

Savings: 80%

Work Smarter: Make a double or triple batch of the dry seasoning mix at the start of the month. Use it on veggies or meats as desired and when you’re ready for dressing, measure out a couple tablespoons and mix!


Time: 2 minutes

Cost: $1.21

Savings: up to 90%

Work Smarter: You can make this in literally 2 minutes, so there’s no need to make it until you actually need it.

Chicken Stock

As the basis of homemade soups and filled with great nutrition, chicken stock is a real food staple. Plus since you’ll already have bones if you buy chicken, no special ingredients are needed.

Time: 5 minutes hands-on, 24 hours cooking, 10 minutes packaging

Cost: 1¢ per quart

Savings: 100%

Work Smarter: Make a batch of stock at the beginning of the month and store all the remaining bones in a freezer-safe bag, in the freezer. Add additional bones to the bag as the progresses, and when you’re down to one quart of stock, start another batch with the bones before you go to bed using the slow cooker method. Repeat this process and you’ll never run out of bones for stock!

Apple Cider Vinegar

A few weeks of hiding in the cabinet turns apple cores and peels – originally destined for the trash – into delicious and versatile homemade apple cider vinegar. In our kitchen, apple cider vinegar is most often used for homemade salad dressings and chicken stock.

Time: 5 minutes hands on, 3 weeks fermentation

Cost: 2¢ per quart

Savings: 98%

Work Smarter: Collect apple cores and peels as you go through apples, storing them in a freezer-safe bag in the freezer. When you have about a half-quart worth, make a quart of vinegar.


I haven’t met a single kid who didn’t like a popsicle, and parents can join in when they’re made at home without all the fake sugar. 

Time: 5 minutes hands on, 4-6 hours to freeze

Cost: as low as free

Savings: up to 100%

Work Smarter: Since any fruit juice and puree can be turned into a popsicle, save the juice from all canned fruit and puree any beyond-ripe fruits and freeze separately in an ice cube tray. Store frozen cubes in a freezer-safe bag and when there’s enough, re-blend cubes to achieve the desired flavor popsicle.

Bonus Tip: Add homemade yogurt to the popsicles for a boost of probiotics!

Green Onions

Okay, so we don’t exactly “make” green onions, but it’s close! Green onion, lettuce and 8 other foods will regrow in water.

Time: 1 minute to “plant,” 1-3 weeks to regrow

Cost: free

Savings: 100%

Work Smarter: Cut off the bottoms of the vegetables when you bring them home and immediately “plant” in water so you get a jump start on growth. Wash veggies and dry with a salad spinner. Store in a sealed bag or container with a paper towel and they’ll last twice as long. (Be sure to change the towel if it becomes saturated.)

Oat Flour

Time: 2 minutes

Cost: the equivalent price of oats

Savings: 100% over buying pre-made flour

Work Smarter: Make oat flour when you already have the oats out, making traditional porridge or oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. Run the blender while you’re already in the kitchen waiting on the oats to cook or as the cookies bake.


Time: 4 minutes

Cost: $2.18

Savings: 50%

Work Smarter: Save random, small bits and pieces of nuts for this recipe instead of using whole nuts.



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