There are so many things that you can DIY at home instead of buying! Start creating your ungrocery list!
You are wasting SO much money at the grocery store, buying convenience foods that are actually JUST as easy to make at home, almost almost far less expensive and always healthier.
This is not an exhaustive DIY list by any measure, but this should get you started on creating your own ungrocery list. Many of these recipes (well, the food-related ones) can be found in my cookbook A Cabin Full of Food, and if you are interested in increasing your food self-sufficiency, I urge you to get a copy.
However, in the meantime, I would like to share some great ideas from friends of mine.
DIY Homemade White Bread
There is such a difference between store bought bread and homemade bread that they almost shouldn’t be called the same thing.
Find out how to make a basic white bread from my friend Kim. This is really one of the first skills you should master when you are learning to be more self-sufficient. Knowing how to make basic white bread means that you never have to buy pizza dough, sandwich bread, rolls, cinnamon buns … the list goes on.
Croutons and bread or cracker crumbs
Do not buy muffins.
Once you have a basic muffin recipe like my Banana Muffins and understand how to modify it, a batch of muffins can be mixed and in the oven in five minutes.
Jam, jelly and preserves of all kinds
My friend Cari has a recipe for Grape Jelly.
You can home-canned or purchased grape juice. (And yes, you CAN make your own grape juice, too!)
DIY Canned stew and soup
With home-canned meat and vegetables in the pantry, making soup and stew literally takes minutes.
Get the canned stew off your grocery list and onto your ungrocery liste. Fnd out how to make homemade beef stew in fifteen minutes.
Chip and Vegetable Dip
But, but, but doesn’t it come in a little package that … well, it can, but it shouldn’t.
This classic dip was made long before those dried mixes. Learn to make your own Onion Dip.
Perhaps you’ve had store-bought pickles. Or, what they call pickles. But have you ever had real, old-fashioned, lacto-fermented dill pickles? Let my friend Holly show you how she does it. You’ll never want store bought “pickles” again.
Take a few minutes to mix up some biscuit mix and you will walk right by those boxes at the grocery store!
Find out how easy it is to make your own Vanilla Extract from my friend Cari.
Canned Baked Beans
Chocolate Syrup should definitely be on your Ungrocery list!
Hot cocoa mix
DIY Soap Concentrate
You’ll kick yourself when you find out how easy it is to make your own Castile Soap Concentrate – at far less cost than buying it!
DIY Laundry Soap
Not everyone has the same results from homemade laundry soap, but if you’re interested in trying it, my friend Kim tells you how to make it
Not only can you make a fabulous all-purpose cleaner at home, but it’s safe and all-natural. What’s not to love? My friend Ally at The Speckled Goat tells us how to make the cleaner she uses every day. It’s my favourite cleaner, too!
Don’t limit yourself by only having cranberry sauce at Christmas. Homemade Cranberry and Fruit Sauce is delicious all year round!
Don’t buy that Ranch Mix from the store. Really – you can make your own quite easily with ingredients that you recognize.
People have been making this since forever, but it really became easier with modern appliances. Check out my friend Lisa’s directions for making Mayonnaise with an immersion blender. (Mayo uses eggs, and Lisa knows a thing or two about eggs!)
Don’t do it. Just don’t do it. The purchased mix doesn’t actually save you any time and it certainly won’t save you money. Learn how to make your own Pancake Mix.
Paper towels, paper plates, paper napkins, etc
Really? WINE? If you like drinking wine with your dinner, you need to realize just how easy and affordable it is to make at home. My friend Danielle has instructions for making your own wine.
Although you can make other types of soda (like root beer), the easiest and healthiest has to be ginger ale. It’s so much better than the commercial type. Check out Lisa’s directions for making Ginger Ale. As a bonus, she’ll show you how to make candied ginger, too!
There are so many wonderful ways to make your own tomato products, and the flavour is usually much better than anything you can buy.
My friend Cari has a great tutorial for making DIY Tea Tree Deodorant. She even has a short video to show you how easy this is to make!
Chicken or beef or vegetable broth
DIY Lip Balm
Everyone loves soft lips (or rather, no one likes having dry, cracked lips!), but why buy tubes of what-is-in-this lip balm when you can easily DIY Peppermint Lip Balm with ingredients you can actually pronounce?
Here’s a home security tip I wrote down in my “Frugal Notebook” years ago:
“Put a pair of worn, dirty, size 14 work boots outside the front door. Wet often so they always look freshly used. Hey – would *you* break in?”
If you like the idea of cooking from scratch and eating food that “remembers where it came from”, you really need to check out A Cabin Full of Food.
Almost a thousand recipes will keep you busy for a long time!