With grocery prices rising and no end in sight, spending less at the store has become more important than ever. These 52 things you can make to save money at the store are sure to help you spend less even though everything costs more.
Things are so expensive these days and unlike other times prices have risen, this time it is everything across the board. If it was only a few items that had risen in price, I truly believe that most people’s budgets could handle it. But, when it’s everything from the bread you eat to the lumber homes are built with, it can put a serious strain on the finances of families that may already be struggling.
What is the Best Way to Save at the Grocery Store?
One of the best ways to fight rising prices is to buy less. That’s brilliant of me, right? But it is easier said than done. During the Great Depression, people learned to buy less because they did not have the money to purchase more. While we are not in that same situation, we can take our cue from them.
Instead of buying things, make them yourself.
Easy to say, right?
It may seem as if it will be harder, but most items you’re already purchasing can very easily be made at home. There aren’t really any necessary skills needed other than the ability to read and follow directions.
And when you make as much as you possibly can, you not only live a healthier life, but since you no longer need to buy those items at the store, you’ll save money at the store in a big way.
What Type of Things Should I Make ?
If you’re making things at home to save money on groceries, you will want to make as many items as you possibly can.
While this list of things to make to save money will help you, I also highly encourage you to consider replacing those items you may not have the skills to make at home with their reusable counterparts.
These types of items can include switching to:
- Unpaper Towels
- Family Cloth
- Cloth Diapers
- Reusable Mops and Mopping Pads
- Reusable Facial Cloths
- Reusable Cloth Baby Wipes
But we’re here to talk about things you can make to save money. The 52 things below are a great place to start and most are so easy that anyone could do them without much trouble at all.
I chose fifty-two for this list because it is the number of weeks in a year. This way, you can work on learning how to make one new item each week. By the end of the year, you’ll have built up a library of what you like making and will know which items you don’t like making. If you find one that isn’t quite the right fit for you and yours, you can either look for new recipes or add that to your “continue to buy” list.
No one will fault you if you want to keep buying something because you don’t like a DIY version.
Make Homemade Shave Cream
One of the first five DIY products I ever made was THIS DIY shave cream recipe. That was six years ago and I have never gone back to store bought. I love that I can create any scent I want or target any specific skin issues we may be having such as when I make it using Ho Wood Essential Oil for my husband’s psoriasis.
Make Homemade Deodorant
Another one of the first products I ever made for myself was THIS Homemade Deodorant recipe and even after all these years, I still think it’s amazing. My recipe HERE has a lavender scent but you can make it in any scent you want. It is aluminum free as well for those who are concerned with that.
Make Homemade Diaper Rash Ointment
For those with littles still in diapers, THIS homemade diaper rash ointment recipe is a great option for saving money. Not only will you not have to purchase it, but you’ll also know exactly ingredients you are using on your baby.
Make Homemade Hand Soap
Hand soap is actually fairly cheap when you buy it at the store, but it is even cheaper when you make it yourself. THIS Copycat Soft Soap recipe is perfect for anyone who wants to save that $1-$2 per bottle. Make it in any scent you want. It’s even antibacterial!
Make Your Own Bengay/Icy Hot
As someone with Ankylosing Spondylitis, my muscles and joints hurt pretty much on a daily basis. THIS homemade muscle cream is fantastic at helping to relieve some of that pain. It works as a homemade Bengay or a homemade IcyHot. At more than $7.00 per purchase, the homemade version is much cheaper even for someone who only uses it occasionally.
Make Your Own Home Canned Pasta Sauce
Pasta sauce is super simple to make in your own home and is just as easy to preserve. THIS is the recipe that I have used for years. Its so simple and flavorful! If you want to preserve it, simply pop in the freezer or use the pasta sauce canning instructions in the post.
Make Homemade Chicken Nuggets
If you have kids, you know how expensive store bought nuggets can get. Luckily, homemade chicken nuggets are easy to make with THIS recipe. Plus they only use three ingredients plus seasonings, so you’ll always know exactly what you’re feeding your children.
Make Home Canned Chicken Noodle Soup
Chicken Noodle Soup is almost always a fan favorite but a can of good, quality soup will run you $2.00 or so on average for an amount that will only feed around two people. However, for not much more than that can, you can make an amazing homemade chicken noodle soup recipe that will feed the entire family. If you’re interested in canning it for later, just follow THESE chicken noodle soup canning instructions.
Make Homemade BBQ Sauce
Every parent knows the important of BBQ sauce when it comes to things such as chicken nuggets or grilled foods, but good, quality BBQ sauce can be expensive. THIS homemade BBQ sauce recipe is incredibly easy to make and tastes so much better than anything that comes in a bottle.
Make Homemade Ketchup
Along with BBQ sauce, ketchup is another grocery item that kids love, but it can be surprisingly expensive for what it actually is. Even worse is that most store bought ketchup, especially cheaper varieties, are packed with sugar. Instead, make THIS homemade ketchup recipe. You’ll never know the difference and you’ll save money at the store while doing it.
Make Homemade Peanut Butter
The more prices rise, the more a simple jar of peanut butter seems to cost. Counteract some of that cost by making THIS homemade peanut butter recipe. Make it creamy, crunchy, thick or thin, it’s your call!
Make Homemade Hairspray
Why pay an average of $4.50 per bottle for a good hairspray when you can make your own hairspray using THIS recipe for so much cheaper? And yes, it DOES work as well as store bought!
Make Your Own Shampoo
Like hairspray, you can make your own shampoo for far cheaper than you can buy a good, quality shampoo. The plus side is your homemade stuff is only full of ingredients that you can pronounce! THIS homemade coconut milk shampoo is by far my favorite!
Make DIY Bubble Bath
There’s nothing quite like a warm bubble bath to help you relax and take some stress of your body. Instead of winging your homemade bubble bath recipe, use THIS DIY bubble bath recipe instead! It’s simple to make and fills your tub full of bubbles!
Make Homemade Aftershave
If you have someone in your life who enjoys the cool feeling of aftershave on freshly shaved skin, making THIS homemade aftershave will help you save money at the store. You can make a small batch for pennies on the dollar versus spending multiple dollars to buy it.
Make Your Own Laundry Detergent
Making your own laundry detergent has been a long sanding way to save money at the sore. Whether you prefer to make homemade powdered detergent like THIS one or a homemade liquid laundry detergent like THIS one, you’ll save quite a bit on each load and still have clean clothes that smell great.
Make DIY Fabric Softener Sheets
I love a good fabric softener sheet. They have so many uses, after all! But for what they are, they’re actually kind of expensive. Instead, grab an old t-shirt and make THESE DIY dryer sheets instead. They work so well nd you can change the scent to whatever you prefer! Plus? Each batch works up in just a few minutes for less than $1.00 each.
DIY All Purpose Cleaner
You knew there had to be another cleaner on this list, didn’t you? Making all-purpose cleaner is incredibly easy. If you have extra lemons, limes or oranges, you can make THIS homemade disinfectant cleaner. If not, THIS lavender lemon all-purpose cleaner works with just a handful of ingredients and disinfects plus cleans!
Make Homemade Bread
Bread is not too terribly expensive at the store, but with prices rising, who knows how long that will last. That’s why I have always considered learning how to make your own bread a skill that everyone should know. Making homemade bread that tastes amazing all comes down to the recipe you use.
THIS homemade bread recipe is my all-time favorite! It can be made as white bread, wheat bread and even gluten free!
Make Your Own Scented Candles
I love , love, love a good scented candle! Steve even takes them on the truck with him to help keep the smell of oil and diesel out of the sleeper. But, not only are store bought candles full of chemicals that can cause harm when released into the air, but they’re expensive too.
That’s why I started making my own scented candles. THIS DIY Scented candles tutorial will teach you how to make them in my favorite scent, but the beauty is you can create any scent you want once you know the basics. You can even make homemade citronella candles like THESE for the summer months if you want!
Make Homemade Butter
A few years ago, my family switched to drinking raw milk. Because it is so much more expensive per gallon, I made it a point to get as much use from each gallon as possible. One of those uses was to learn how to skim the cream off raw milk. This cream can be used for everything including making homemade butter!
If you’re looking to learn how to make your own butter, THIS tutorial makes it very quick and easy.
Make Homemade Buttermilk
When you make homemade butter, you will automatically make homemade buttermilk. Buttermilk is a simple by-product of the butter making process, but the cost of it in store is outrageous. Instead, head HERE and let me show you know to separate your homemade buttermilk from butter.
Make Homemade Heavy Cream or Homemade Whipping Cream
Homemade butter and buttermilk start out with the richest of ingredients. Heavy cream. Luckily, if you have raw milk, you have ready made homemade heavy cream – also known as homemade whipping cream. In this post HERE, I share with you how to separate real cream from milk so you can use it for whatever your heart desires.
Make Homemade Hot Pockets
Hot Pockets make very quick breakfasts or lunches but not only are the store bought ones super expensive but they’re also filled with things you may not want to feed your family. Making their homemade version, however, is much cheaper and honestly, they have so much more flavor! THIS is the base recipe I use. You can easily change out the seasonings and fillings to make any variety you want.
Make Homemade Toaster Strudels
Like hot pockets, homemade toaster strudels are very tasty and very quick. They can also be filled with all sorts of different fillings to create a variety that keeps you and your family from getting bored. THIS recipe is the simplest I’ve found and freezes amazingly so you can make a bunch ahead of time to eat later on.
Make Homemade Ricotta Cheese
No lasagna recipe is complete without ricotta cheese, but why spend the money to buy it when you can make it at home super easily and save money at the store? For this one, you can use regular milk or heavy cream to simply make it fresh as you need it. When you’re ready to use it, use THIS recipe to make homemade ricotta for the freshest version you’ll find.
Make DIY Neosporin
Bumps, scratches and bruises are a part of normal life. Antibacterial ointment helps them heal, but there is no reason to pay an average of $5 per tube when you can make an equivalent yourself for far cheaper. My recipe for a DIY antibacterial ointment found HERE heals, softens and smells great; all for far cheaper than the tube.
Make Homemade Mozzarella Cheese
I love a great tasting piece of cheese as a snack and there is not much better than a fresh piece of homemade mozzarella. Making homemade cheese may seem hard, but it’s really a simple and frugal skill to have; especially if you’re looking to save money at the store. THIS is my favorite homemade mozzarella recipe and if you give it a try, I’m sure it will be yours too!
Learn How to Make Cloth Feminine Pads
It’s not something most women want to discuss, but as I talked about HERE, making the change from disposable feminine products to a reusable option has more than one benefit. Not only are they cheaper in the long run, but your cycles will tend to lighten up, be less painful and more. If you’re interested in making your own, HERE is the free sewing pattern I use.
If you would rather look into buying cloth instead of making them, your out of pocket cost will be more, but you will still save money over disposable. You can find many, many cloth pad sellers HERE on Etsy.
Make Homemade Mayonnaise
My family loves Hellman’s mayo but at over $3.50 for a 30 oz. jar, I can’t justify the cost. However, when I began making my own homemade mayo with THIS recipe, they never even noticed the switch and I get to save money at the store!
Make Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
Ranch dressing is already fairly cheap at stores such as Aldi, but the taste isn’t always great when buying cheaper ranch. The better option is to use THIS buttermilk ranch dressing recipe to make it at home.
Make DIY Cleaning Wipes
Those disposable cleaning wipes sure are handy, aren’t they? They’re also very expensive. But, using THIS tutorial, you can make them yourself at home for significantly cheaper. The best part is that not only are they cheap, but they’re frugal and reusable too!
Make Homemade Instant Oatmeal
Instant oatmeal packets are very quick and easy but they’re rather expensive per ounce and to be honest, they don’t have much flavor. If you really want to learn how to save money at the store, consider learning how to make homemade oatmeal yourself. For those that love strawberries, THIS strawberries and cream oatmeal recipe is fantastic. If you’re more of an apple cinnamon kind of person, check THIS recipe out. They’re both amazing!
Make Homemade Dog Treats
My pibble Little Bit loves her treats, but I don’t like the cost of the number of recalls that commercial pet food can have. That’s why I make THESE homemade dog bones for her. This recipe is her favorite flavor, but you could definitely switch it up if you wanted to.
Make New Crayons Instead of Buying Them
I would be willing to wager that your kids probably have a lot of broken crayons. Instead of buying new ones when this happens, use THIS method to recycle old crayons and make them into new and usable ones! You could make them in any shape your kids may want.
Make Homemade Uncrustables
If your kids (or even you) like those frozen pb&j sandwiches called Uncrustables, you can make the same thing at home without the added cost. In fact, they’re very simple to make when you follow THIS copycat Uncrustables recipe!
Make Homemade Cough Drops
Cold, flu and other sickness season can be rough on even the healthiest people. Making THESE homemade cough drops when your loved one is sick can not only help soothe sore throats and cough, but will also help boost their immune system using natural ingredients.
Make Homemade Frozen Taquitos
My kids love beef and cheese taquitos and Steve loves to take them on the truck. But they’re over $6.00 a box at the store for a box of 20. I get around this by using THIS taquito recipe to make them homemade instead. Make them with beef as written or change it up and add whatever ingredients you wish. THESE Chicken and Black Bean taquitos are great too!
Make DIY Bug Spray
Bugs are no fun no matter where you are, but store bought bug spray is full of things that are toxic to both you and the bugs that come with a high price tag. Instead, make THIS DIY Bug spray at home for a fraction of the cost.
Make Homemade Pizza Rolls
Pizza rolls are like a party in your mouth, but they’re uber expensive for tiny bites of pizza. Instead, use THIS recipe and make them yourself. They freeze perfectly and can be reheated just like the “real thing.”
Make DIY Fruit and Vegetable Wash
Most of us are already aware that fruit and vegetables we buy need to be washed. For some, using a fruit and vegetable wash is second nature. Buy why spend your hard earned money to buy it when you can make THIS DIY fruit and vegetable wash much cheaper?
Make DIY Mouthwash
My husband used to be loyal to a certain mouth scorching, scream inducing expensive brand of mouthwash. Well, he was until he tried THIS DIY mouthwash instead. Now he only uses my homemade mouthwash!
Make Homemade Toothpaste
When you make your homemade mouthwash, take a few more minutes to whip up THIS homemade toothpaste recipe. It’s fantastic for cleaning your teeth. It even has whitening properties!
Make Homemade Yogurt Snack Bites
When my daughter Emma was little, she loved those Gerber yogurt snacks, but the cost of those can really add up. Instead, use THIS recipe to make them yourself. They taste so much better and are cheaper too!
Make Homemade Fruit Rollups
If you have kids – or are like me and never lost your love for them – you know that having Fruit Rollups on hand is always an option for a quick snack. But the ones they sell at the store are packed with food dyes, preservatives and who knows what else that you may or may not want your kids to eat. That’s all aside from the cost. Instead, make THESE homemade fruit rollups right in your kitchen with nothing but fresh fruit! There’s nothing tastier than homemade fruit leather!
Make DIY Dishwasher Tablets
Dishwasher pods make life just a bit easier, but frankly, what they charge for them is just this side of ridiculous. Instead, head HERE and learn how to make your own dishwasher detergent pods. They work amazingly well and will cost you a fraction of what they do in stores.
Make DIY Dish Soap
The same could be said for liquid dishwasher detergent or hand washing detergent. THIS DIY dish soap recipe is perfect for either option! Plus side is it disinfects as it cleans and you can make it in just about any scent you want. I love making lemon! It always leaves my kitchen smelling amazing!
Make Homemade Yogurt
My husband eats a ton of Greek yogurt, but I absolutely refuse to pay over $1.00 each for a small container of it. Instead, I grab my Instant Pot and make him homemade yogurt!
FYI: A 3 qt Instant Pot is perfect for making a gallon.
For just a little over the cost of a gallon of milk, I use THIS yogurt starter/probiotic powder to make it a gallon at a time.
In other words, I get around ten times the amount of yogurt for the same price as buying in stores! Looking for a full tutorial on how to make yogurt? Head HERE.
Make Homemade Hair Detangler Spray
If you have never seen a photo of me, I have very long, very thick and very curly hair. It tangles extraordinarily well and tangles super fast if I don’t get it brushed right away.
Thankfully, I keep THIS homemade hair detangler spray on hand for those moments. It helps the tangles get smoothed out without a ton of hair pulling and helps my hair brush to glide right through!
Make Your Own Makeup Brush Cleaner
If you wear makeup on a daily basis, check your brushes. Unless you make a point of cleaning them, they’re probably pretty funky. You could pay an average of $20 or more for a good, quality makeup brush cleaning solution. Or you could make THIS homemade makeup brush cleaner and save money at the store. It cleans and helps your brushes to be soft and workable again; or a fraction of the cost.
Make Homemade Cornbread Mix
Cornbread is a great addition to so many dinner recipes and to be honest; it’s already pretty affordable in the store. But, the stuff you get in the store has nothing on homemade cornbread in taste or texture. For around the same cost, you can make THIS cornbread mix recipe to create the single best batch of cornbread you’ve ever tasted!
Pro Tip: Be sure to cook your cornbread in a cast iron skillet or cast iron cornbread pan. It enhances the taste and you’ll be so glad you did!
Make Homemade Sauerkraut
Gut health accounts for a huge percentage of our overall health. If your gut is unhealthy, your body is unhealthy. One of the best ways to help rebuild the good bacteria in your gut and maintain good gut health is by eating fermented foods.
Sauerkraut is my absolute favorite fermented food and it’s super easy to make at home. At an average of $2.00 per quart, making your own is a fantastic way to save money at the store. I can make a half gallon of homemade for not much more than that!
Ready to learn how to make your own sauerkraut? HERE is a full tutorial. Once it’s done fermenting, be sure to experiment with different ways to serve it!
The whole point of making things at home over buying them at the store is to save money at the store. While you may or may not want to do all fifty-two of these ideas, even choosing a few will help you save money at the store and may even help you live a healthier life.
After all, aren’t we all looking for a lower cost of living and a higher standard of health and happiness in the end? Small steps like the ones in this post are great for helping you to achieve all of those things and more.