17 Items You Can Make Yourself

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17 Things to Make Instead of Buy

homemade gift wrapping
Lukas Korynta/Stocksy United

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 17 things to consider making yourself.

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Beauty Products

Homemade Balms and Salves
Homemade Balms and Salves. © Erin Huffstetler

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.

Beauty Product Recipes

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.

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Soap

Homemade Soap
Homemade Soap. © Flickr user kahvikisu

Stretch your household budget by making your own liquid soapfoaming 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.

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Candles

Melt Down Old Candles and Make New Ones
Melt Down Old Candles and Make New Ones. © Erin Huffstetler

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.

Just pick up some wicks from the craft store, and you'll have everything you need to make container candles.

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Cleaners

Baking Soda and Vinegar
Baking Soda and Vinegar. © Erin Huffstetler

Stop lugging home overpriced cleaning products, and start making your own. If you keep a few basic ingredients, like vinegar and baking soda on hand, there's no mess you can't tackle. 

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Spice Mixes

Homemade Spice Mixes
Homemade Spice Mixes. © Erin Huffstetler

Use the spices you already have in your pantry to make the spice blends you need for recipes. Taco seasoning, pumpkin pie spice, poultry seasoning—they're nothing more than a handful of spices mixed together.

10 Spice and Seasoning Mixes to Make Yourself

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Sauces

Homemade Tomato Sauce
Homemade Tomato Sauce. © Erin Huffstetler

Homemade applesauce and tomato sauce is 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.

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Condiments

Homemade Ketchup
Homemade Ketchup. © Flickr user Rachel Tayse

Made-from-scratch condiments make any meal better. Discover how easy it is to make your own ketchup, mustard, salad dressing and more.

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Dairy Products

Homemade Cheese
Homemade Cheese. © Erin Huffstetler

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.

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Jams, Jellies and Spreads

Blackberry Freezer Jam
Blackberry Freezer Jam. © Erin Huffstetler

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.

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Baked Goods

yeastrolls.jpg
No-Fail Yeast Rolls. Photo © Erin Huffstetler

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.

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Extracts

Homemade Extracts
Homemade Extracts. © Erin Huffstetler

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.

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Gardening Supplies

Potting Soil
Potting Soil. Photo © Flickr user U.S. Department of Agriculture

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 these gardening supplies yourself, and you'll fall solidly in the savings camp.

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Craft Supplies

Oil Pastels
Oil Pastels. © Flickr user Evan Bench

Crafting is all about making things, so why not make your craft supplies, too? Here are some fun projects to try:

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Broth

Homemade Broth
Homemade Broth. © Erin Huffstetler

Real broth packs more flavor and nutrients per spoonful than boxed broth. Just toss some veggies and bones in a pot, and you'll be well on your way to your first pot of homemade broth.

On a low-sodium diet? Just scale back or omit the salt to meet your needs. When you make your own broth, you have complete control of the ingredients.

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Gift Wrap

homemade wrapping paper
Lukas Korynta/Stocksy United

Save money, and cut down on waste, by finding things around your house that you can use as gift wrap.

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Pest Control

Fruit Fly Trap
Fruit Fly Trap. Photo &copy Flickr user uberculture

Battling wasps, roaches, mice or some other pest? See if you can come up with a homemade solution, instead of paying for one.