Making things yourself can be both satisfying and cost-effective. As you run out of things that you normally buy, challenge yourself to come up with a homemade replacement. You'll be amazed at how easy it is to make many of the products that you're used to buying.
Here are 16 things to consider making yourself.
Commercial beauty products are expensive and full of questionable ingredients, so start making your own. Lip balm, lotion, shampoo—they're all a cinch to make at home. Pick and choose the ingredients according to your unique needs. Then, customize finished products with your favorite fragrance.
Tip: Hang on to your empty store-bought containers, and refill them with your homemade products. Even lip balm and deodorant tubes can be washed and refilled. Just be sure to relabel the containers, so you remember what's inside.
Stretch your household budget by making your own liquid soap, foaming soap and hand sanitizer. Then, whip up some treasure soap to give as gifts. Once you've cut your teeth on those projects, move up to hot-process soap. It's a bit more involved but will give you artisan-quality soaps.
Round up all the leftovers from the candles you've burned (those hunks of unmelted wax and almost-empty containers), and use them to learn how to make your own candles.
Homemade applesauce and tomato sauce are so much better than anything you can buy at the store. Load up on apples and tomatoes when they're in season. Then, make enough sauce to last you a year. Think you're too busy to fool with homemade sauce? Just pull out your crockpot, and it'll do most of the work for you.
Made-from-scratch condiments make any meal better. Discover how easy it is to make your own ketchup, mustard, salad dressing, cocktail sauce, steak sauce and more.
Cheese, sour cream, butter, yogurt—they're a heck of a lot easier to make that you might think. Start a batch of cheese now, and you could be eating it in as little as 30 minutes.
Jams, Jellies and Spreads
Grocery store jams and jellies are meh, so grab some jars and make your own. If the idea of canning intimidates you, make freezer jam. It takes minutes to make and requires no special equipment.
Don't settle for mass-produced bread when homemade is an option. It takes very little hands-on time to make a loaf of bread or a batch of pizza dough, and the difference in taste and texture is huge.
There's a big difference in price between real and imitation vanilla extract, but that doesn't mean you have to settle for second best. Just grab a bottle and a couple ingredients, and you'll be well on your way to your first bottle of homemade vanilla. You can even make your own non-alcoholic version.
Gardening can save you a lot of money, or cost you a lot of money—it just depends on how you approach it. Learn how to make fertilizer or compost yourself, and you'll fall solidly in the savings camp.