A few years ago, I found myself in a financial crisis. I had lost over 70% of my income and things weren’t just tight; they were rope around your neck tight. That year, I almost lost everything, and if I hadn’t done some fancy footwork, I would have. This list of things to make and some extreme frugal living tips are the only reasons I didn’t.
I started with finding new ways to save money on groceries. I’ve always been good at cutting food costs; my father taught me well, but I wanted ways that I had never used before to stack on to what Dad taught me when I was growing up.
So with that in mind, I started with making a list of things to stop buying and make. There’s not much debate that making something homemade is almost always cheaper than buying it.
30 Things to Make at Home to Save Money or Make Money
As it turned out, learning to make the things to make on this list was not only the key to saving my budget, but to earning more money as well. When I combined these things to make with my favorite money saving tools, I won big time.
By the end of 2015, I had saved over $2500.00 and made quite a bit too. I know that it might seem impossible that I saved that much, but the truth is that none of us actually stop and think about how much those everyday items add up to each month and year.
30 Things I Simply Stopped Buying (and Why You Should Stop Buying and Make Too!)
Aside from the fact that we saved so much, my family ended the year feeling much better. You would not believe some of the stuff that is put into our foods and the other items that we use on our bodies or in our homes.
In the time since then, we have started making things, stopped buying things, switched to raw milk and learned how to eat gluten free. Combine all our efforts has made a huge impact on our health and how we feel in general.
Things to Make at Home
You might be asking how 30 things to stop buying and make helped me save $2500.00 in a year. The answer is simple; there are more than 30 things that I make.
This post, however, focuses only on 30 of the most common. If you’re interested in learning how to stop buying and make more than these, you can check out 30 (more) things to stop buying and make right HERE and 200+ things to stop buying and make right HERE.
Both posts contain even more things you can make at home to save money and they’re a great place to find ideas no matter if you’re new to saving money or have been saving for years.
How to kick your savings into high gear
If you eally want to cut your cost of living and save even more money? Be sure to check out my book, Six Dollar Family HERE. It is packed with amazing tips to save money, my own personal DIY recipes (more than you’ll find in this post) and so much more!
You can also scroll to the bottom of this post and join our email list. Doing so will get you a FREE copy of my e-book, “The Ultimate Guide to Cutting Your Household Expenses.”
Do things you make at home cost more than buying?
Another thing I want to address quickly is the thought that making homemade products costs more.
While it is true that most of the time, the ingredients will cost you more to get started, in the long run, you actually save money. You may pay $11.00 for a pound or two of beeswax, but you will use such a small amount for each product that you will get more than 20 uses out of that $11.00.
When you look at it that way, you’re really spending $0.55 per use for those beeswax pellets.
Needed supplies to make things at home to save money
The only thing you’ll need to worry about when buying your supplies is that they are pure and aren’t mixed with anything that could harm your family.
For the most part, you won’t really need to worry too much about that, but when you purchase essential oils, you do. It doesn’t matter which brand of essential oils you use as long as they are pure essential oils.
Despite what some people would have you believe, there is no grading system for essential oils to rank one as therapeutic and others are not. Therapeutic is a word most often used to get you to pay more for a bottle of EO.
In my case, I personally use and trust Plant Therapy Essential Oils. They are by far the best priced and easily just as “quality” as some of the more expensive brands. You can check them out HERE if you would like.
Coupon codes for natural products
Another great way to save money on supplies needed to make homemade products is by signing up for a Thrive Market account over HERE. Thrive Market sells organic, natural products and you’ll save up to 25% on your first 3 orders. I get a lot of my own supplies from Thrive Market.
I also shop Grove Collaborative. Grove is another amazing all natural marketplace that has amazing prices. When you sign up for Grove using THIS link, you’ll score a FREE 5-piece Mrs. Meyers cleaning set with your first order of $25 or more.
Finally, if you’re going to be shopping online for your ingredients at all, make certain to take the time to sign up for an Ebates (Rakuten) account. Ebates is a cash back shopping site that will pay you a portion of your qualifying purchase back as a check (or Paypal).
Plus, new Ebates members receive a FREE $10.00 gift card of their choice with their first qualifying purchase of $25 or more. Confused about how Ebates works? Check out my post Ebates 101 – How Ebates Works HERE for all the details.
Things to Make at Home to Sell
Homemade Shave Cream with Shea Butter
Shave cream is shave cream and I’ve never really seen the point of paying $2.50 or more per can when it is so simple to make at home. Grab your stand mixer and make THIS homemade shave cream recipe for pennies on the dollar.
It whips up perfectly and leaves your skin silky smooth. It can even be customized for men or women depending on the essential oil you use for scent!
Homemade Coconut Milk Shampoo
Both my daughter Emma and I have crazy thick hair, and shampoo can get really expensive for us pretty quickly. Since I have a bad reaction to most budget friendly shampoo options, I was spending more than $6.00 per bottle of shampoo and another $6.00 for conditioner that didn’t break me out.
To combat the high prices, I started making THIS homemade coconut milk shampoo at first. Since then, I’ve also added THIS homemade shine boosting shampoo for when my hair needs a bit of a shine boost.
Homemade Dishwasher Detergent
Dish tablets are usually pretty expensive and frankly, they don’t always work the best. That’s why we started making THESE homemade dishwasher detergent tablets. They work better than most commercial tablets I’ve found and are significantly cheaper. If you prefer liquid dishwasher detergent, you can make THIS homemade liquid dishwasher detergent instead of the tablets.
I love the smell of a home with candles burning, but good quality ones are expensive. Instead, I learned how to make homemade candles. They’re much cheaper and smell better since I can control the amount of scent.
These homemade cinnamon vanilla candles are my favorites to make. They smell amazing!
If you’re going to be outside, these homemade citronella candles are great for keeping mosquitoes away – all while smelling amazing!
I am diabetic and as anyone who is diabetic can tell you; dry skin is often a major problem. I could spend a ton of money on a store bought diabetic lotion or I could make my own homemade lotion recipe.
Homemade Laundry Detergent
Washing clothes is a necessity, but paying crazy prices for laundry detergent isn’t. We started using THIS homemade powdered laundry detergent recipe and haven’t looked back since! It mixes together so easily and our clothes have never been cleaner!
For those that prefer a tablet or pod for laundry, THESE homemade laundry detergent tablets are perfect!
Homemade Dryer Sheets
When I stopped buying laundry detergent, I also stopped buying fabric softener sheets. What followed was THESE homemade reusable fabric softener sheets made from upcycled t-shirts or microfiber cloths.
They’re quick to make, last a while on the shelf and soften our clothes fantastically! Plus, they take care of any static cling!
Homemade window cleaner
Homemade All Purpose Cleaner
Want a super quick and powerful all-purpose cleaner that won’t harm your family? Make your own homemade all-purpose cleaner with THIS recipe for pennies on the dollar over the store bought stuff. We switched completely and I don’t regret it at all.
If lavender and lemon aren’t your favorite scents, this homemade orange oil cleaner works as an all-purpose cleaner and is one of the cheapest things to make on this list!
Homemade Floor Cleaner
If you’re looking for a good floor cleaner, skip the store bought stuff. THIS homemade floor cleaner recipe costs less than $1.00 per gallon and disinfects, cleans and smells better than the commercial stuff!
It is white vinegar based making it another of the cheapest things to make at home on this list. Plus, white vinegar has been shown in several studies to be just as effective at disinfecting as bleach.
Homemade Bathroom Cleaner
Things to Make and Sell
Homemade Body Wash
A lot of people are loyal to their body wash and would never consider making a homemade one, but THIS homemade body wash recipe is simply divine! It’s also one of the best things to make and sell on this list.
If you’re looking for a more scented version than the regular body wash, this DIY Earl Grey scented body wash is divine!
It softens your skin and cleans so well! Unlike some commercial body washes, it actually is soap. Believe it or not, that bottle you have in the shower may not be and if it isn’t, it will say so right on the side of the bottle.
Homemade Liquid Castile Soap
A lot of the things to make on this list use liquid Castile soap, but it can be expensive to buy.
It works just as well as the commercially made liquid for a lot less money!
Homemade Beauty Products to Make at Home
Make Homemade Pasta Sauce
Jarred pasta sauce is full of preservatives and other things that aren’t great for your body. Even the cheap stuff is expensive at around $1 a jar and tastes pretty bad!
Instead, I make THIS homemade pasta sauce recipe. It saves around $2.00 per jar if you usually buy the expensive stuff and tastes amazing!
It even cans well if you’re looking to learn how to can your own food. You will just need to follow the instructions for canning anything with meat. 15# PSI – 75 minutes for pints or 90 minutes for quarts.
If you eat pasta once a week, the savings on this along is around $100 a year!
Homemade Graham Crackers
If you’re planning on making a dessert recipe that involves graham crackers soon, why not give THIS homemade graham cracker recipe a try? It makes graham crackers taste amazing and I promise; once you add them to your list of things to make at home, you’ll never go back to store bought!
Make Homemade Toothpaste
Toothpaste is a necessity in life, but buying it is not. THIS homemade toothpaste recipe tastes great, cleans and protects your teeth and is significantly cheaper to make than it is to buy. We love it now and our teeth have never looked better!
DIY Cleaning Recipes to Make to Save Money
Make Homemade Mouthwash
Like toothpaste, mouthwash is a super easy thing to make at home.
When you make THIS homemade mouthwash recipe, you get a product that cleans your mouth, gets rid of germs and tastes amazing. Plus you can make it for less than $1.00 per batch.
Homemade Bug Spray
Every summer, we all become a buffet for mosquitoes and other creepy crawlies. With THIS homemade bug spray though, that doesn’t have to happen. Plus, it is far cheaper to make yourself than to pay $7.00 or more per can.
Homemade Antibacterial Cream
We all get scrapes and cuts that sometimes need a little bit of help healing. When you make THIS homemade antibacterial ointment, you give it that healing boost it needs for much cheaper than you can buy the stuff in the tube.
Homemade Heavy Cream Substitute
I love making my Copycat Olive Garden Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo recipe, but I don’t like buying a whole container of heavy cream when I know I won’t use it. Instead, I now use THIS homemade heavy cream substitute recipe instead. It works great in just about any recipe I’ve used it in!
Make Homemade Soups
I love a hot bowl of soup, but I don’t want what is in the can. Not only are canned soups expensive, but they’re full of salt and other junk that isn’t great for our bodies.
Instead, I make THIS homemade chicken noodle soup recipe or THIS Copycat Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup recipe when I want a soothing bowl. My favorite soup recipes not only taste better, but they’re much cheaper on my wallet too.
Recipes to Make at Home that Save Money
Homemade Chicken Strips and Nuggets
Most kids love chicken nuggets, but buying frozen nuggets and chicken strips can be very expensive. A single bag of nuggets can cost you as much as $10.00 a bag depending on what brand you buy.
Instead, make THIS homemade chicken strips recipe! They’re absolutely delicious and your kids will never know the difference!
Here in Texas, sunscreen is a must pretty well any time of the year, but have you looked at the price of it lately? It is crazy expensive.
Luckily, I can make THIS homemade sunscreen instead to keep my costs down and still stay protected from the sun!
Make Homemade Deodorant
None of us want to go around smelling bad, but commercial deodorants are filled with aluminum and other nasty chemicals that can do more harm than good.
Instead, make THIS homemade deodorant and you’ll smell great plus save money while being healthier!
It’s the most popular DIY beauty recipe we have here on the site for a reason!
Make Homemade Ricotta Cheese
Making a recipe that calls for ricotta like homemade lasagna? Instead of buying it, make a batch of THIS homemade ricotta cheese recipe. The flavor is so much fresher than store bought and the cost is only around $0.25 per batch!
Make Homemade Mozzarella Cheese
You would not believe how much mozzarella cheese my daughter and I eat. It’s literally insane the amount of cheese the two of us go through since we eat it on meals and snacks!
Homemade Sleep Medicines
Anyone that knows me knows that I don’t sleep very well most nights. Let me correct myself; I used to have trouble sleeping.
When I use it, I drift right off to sleep without a single problem!
Homemade Vegetable and Fruit Washes
Fruit and vegetable washes are incredibly expensive, but you can make THIS homemade vegetable wash for pennies on the dollar. It works the same way, just soak or dunk your fruits and vegetables then use a vegetable brush to clean them.
Homemade Makeup Brush Cleaner
Do you buy makeup brush cleaner? Stop spending so much and make THIS homemade makeup brush cleaner instead. For me, this was one of those unnecessary expenses that was super easy to replace with a homemade version.
Make Homemade Hand Soap
Hand soap isn’t expensive to begin with, but if you’ve already got the ingredients to make THIS homemade hand soap, you can save that $1.00 or so by skipping it at the store.
Make Homemade Chapstick
Make Homemade Cleaning Wipes
Those disposable cleaning wipes are great to have around, but they’re also expensive for what you get. Instead of paying a bunch for something you’re going to toss in the trash, make THESE reusable cleaning wipes and save your money!
Make Homemade Sore Muscle Cream
Bengay does wonders for sore muscles, but you can make THIS homemade sore muscle cream for less money and with less chemicals. Just use it like you would the store bought stuff and your muscle aches will ease in no time!
Homemade Perfume with Essential Oils
I love perfume but the kinds I normally like are super expensive per ounce. Instead, I learned how to make homemade perfume with essential oils!
My homemade perfume smells amazing and can be customized anyway you want!
They’re a great thing to add to your list of things to make and sell too!
Enjoy this post? You may like these:
- How to make homemade lavender soap
- How to Make Homemade Soap – 33 Homemade Soap Recipes
- 17 Best Homemade Cleaners with Essential Oils You Should Stop Buying
- 28 Green Beauty Products to Stop Buying and Make
- 109 Things to Make with Ground Beef
- DIY Burlap Wreath with Sunflowers
- How to Make Homemade Whipping Cream
As I said earlier, these things to make are just the tip of the iceberg. If you’re really looking to save as much as possible, you can do so by adding these 30 things and then some!
Which do you plan on make first?