Here is a method that will help you save money on food
While walking through the grocery store, I was looking for almond butter. I had purchased it another time and my family was IN LOVE with it. I had to find it again. I bought an amazing brand that was ONLY almonds – hard to find. There it was … I spotted it. I went to grab it and looked at the shelf cost?! WHAT?! I had mistakenly purchased it last trip for what I thought was around $6 for the jar. Unfortunately I had read it wrong last time – and turns out – it was a space over… and so the REAL cost was $15.99 for the jar! WHAT?! That’s insane. This is when you think – it must be cheaper to make this. And this my friend is what I am sharing with you today!
Making vs. Buying
If you are into crafting or anything that you are creating something from scratch – you know that often times (for the most part) it is always cheaper to make things from scratch. Of course you spend your time and energy in it’s production, but in terms of money out – much cheaper.
The same is true for many food items as well. Not only is this saving you money, but you are in control of the ingredients and you know for sure they are real and not processed. You know what you choose to make something and it’s in your control!
5 Things I Make Instead of Buy
1. Salad Dressing & Marinades
These are some of the most pumped up items with added sugar, and chemicals in the store. Seriously. There are many GMO components, plus loads of added sugar and other fillers in these sauces to provide flavor, texture and shelf life so you can just grab and go. The funny part is that it takes only a few seconds to toss together a dressing, and marinade. Of course you can choose something more complicated or fancy from time to time – but it’s even better having that from scratch at home, than the store anyway. But a simple Italian or Dijon or Honey Mustard takes just 30 seconds to a minute to toss together. Save your health, and your money (only a few cents per batch home made vs. $2-$5 premade), make it at home!
2. Coffee Creamer
Currently – there are so many different options for coffee creamer and nearly all of them that sound super cool and deliciously fancy are literally all chemicals. Take a look at the ingredients! It was shocking when I looked at what we had been buying for YEARS! I was so disgusted I hadn’t looked at that label like I did everything else. I assumed they used cream – I mean it’s creamer right? Nope no cream to be found.
We make our own: 1 c heavy cream, 1 c whole milk, 1/3 c maple syrup, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 2 tsp almond extract. Shake in a ball jar and use as needed.
3. Granola Bars
Our local grocery had to close for a construction project and I started shopping in a new spot during that time and I started really drilling down on the remaining few items I was still buying packaged and these were one. I took a look at what was in the store and I was SHOCKED at how much garbage was in these granola bars. It was much like the coffee creamer – hard to find a real ingredient anywhere. So it was time to make them!
I go for a no-bake version. Super simple. Warming some coconut oil and honey on the stove, and then adding the oats, and some flax. We stay away from nuts so they can go into the classroom as a snack. So we top with a sprinkle of dried cranberries and a couple chocolate chips.
4. Seasoning Blends
This is another one that is KILLER filled with chemicals. Take a look at the blends and you will be shocked to see all kinds of GMO and beyond in these mixes. It’s all about the flavor and texture and shelf life. So it’s so easy to blend yourself and they taste a million times better! Grab single herbs or grow your own and dry them, and then mix at home. Only singles and you know what everything is! Simple, cheap and lasts longer than buying a blend.
This is another one that if bought in a can or condensed is filled with so many modified parts and chemicals it’s crazy. It’s super simple if you need a “can of cream of chicken” to whip it up on the stove top. It’s just a thickener. Think of it that way. Easy to make at home with just a few pantry staples. (Need help with what real food pantry items are essential? Check out this post).
Beyond condensed, real home made soups are far heartier than a can, last far longer, and have leftovers (at least in our house). This means you cook less and go farther for the cents it takes to make the soup!
5 Things I Buy and Don’t Make
I don’t have the time, or the animals to make the yogurt at home. Sure could I buy what I needed to make it – yup – but am I going to spend the time on that – no I am not. I make plenty of other items above that fit into my lifestyle and time frame and yogurt just isn’t one.
My recommendations for purchase are about reading the ingredients. Be sure you are buying PLAIN yogurt (whether Greek or regular). You will add your own natural sweetener or fruit yourself to avoid added fillers and sugars. Choose the fat level of your liking and just remember you want to read the ingredients to be sure that the lesser fats are just lesser and not filled with sugar fillers.
I want to try to make my own someday but the thing with that is that it’s not an easy task and does go bad pretty quick. We don’t use a lot of mayo, but it is something that is used weekly so it would be a larger addition to what I need to make, and it doesn’t fit. I stick with Sir Kensington mayo only – it’s the cleanest I can find.
UPDATE! I made my own mayo for the first time this past weekend – what an interesting experience. I will probably stick with one less thing to make since we love Sir Kensington’s Mayo, but it was fun and delish to make my own.
3. Sandwich Bread
I do occasionally make bread in the bread maker for sandwiches, but it’s not my weekly routine. We have found a few brands of clean wheat bread and they work for the small amount we use each week. We make our own smaller specialty loaves, as well as biscuits, but our sandwich bread we go sprouted and seeds and organic. Read your ingredients, choose what you know.
4. Sour Cream
We love sour cream – and we are able to find it very clean where we live so we buy that. Again – no animals, not a farm, and have no interest in delving into purchasing the agents needed to make this treat happen. When you can find it clean and affordable like sour cream – save the time and make the purchase.
There are many real food people out there that do their own flour, but I am not one of them. I feel accomplished when I make the bread from it and that is a big deal to me, I can’t imagine adding on the time to actually make my own flour as well. I keep it clean and simple and it’s a very affordable item to purchase, so it’s not worth my time spent on that small $ purchase.
There are so many ways to save by making your own products at home. I also love making skin care and body products, and you will find it is far cheaper for ingredients, AND far cleaner. You will have so many more health benefits from making it vs. buying it!
Need to find the time to do home cooked meals? Just don’t know where to start, and does meal planning seem overwhelming?
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