Inflation has reached an all-time high and is still skyrocketing. So it’s a wise idea for just about everyone to figure out new ways to save money on groceries. Especially when you are feeding a family, groceries can cost hundreds of dollars a week. However, in the case of prepared foods, it can be much less expensive to get the ingredients for these foods and make them on your own. In this article, we’ll be going over ten foods from the grocery store that you can start making yourself to save money.
1. Pancake Mix
If you usually use Bisquick or other prepared pancake mixes, it might be time for you to try your hand at making your own. Bisquick can be $5 or more a box, but taking the dry ingredients and mixing them beforehand can be a perfect way to make your own pancake mix. Combine all-purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar to make your dry pancake mix. When you want to actually make the pancakes, mix the dry mixture with eggs, milk, and butter.
Granola (especially when organic or small-batch granola) can get to $10 a bag or even more! However, it’s almost silly to buy pre-made granola at the store when it is so easily made yourself. Additionally, granola that you make yourself is easy to customize to your wants and needs. Combine oats, nuts, dried fruit, and other raw ingredients to create simple granola. You can even add some honey and form it into bars for some homemade granola bars.
Hummus is perhaps one of the easiest things on this list to make yourself at home. While hummus can run you up to $5 for a small refrigerated container at the store, you can easily make it in large quantities yourself at home for only a dollar or two. At its most basic level, hummus is made from blended garbanzo beans (chickpeas) and tahini. It’s only around $1 for a can of chickpeas, and you can often find good deals on tahini. Aside from those two ingredients, you can easily customize your hummus with additions like garlic, olive oil, sun-dried tomatoes, pine nuts, and more.
Packaged fresh salsa can cost up to $.40 per ounce or more at the store. Despite being a great healthy alternative to traditional snacking, fresh salsa can be a costly food to purchase pre-made. One great way to make your own traditional salsa is to stock up on fresh or canned tomatoes and chop them up as the base for your salsa. You can also use other fresh ingredients like peppers, onions, cilantro, limes, and other veggies to add to the mix. If you know how to make your own corn tortillas or can buy them for cheap, you can also make your own tortilla chips for dipping.
While you often find them pre-packaged at the store, breadcrumbs are precisely what they sound like: crumbs of bread! But it’s incredibly cheap and easy to make them yourself at home, especially if you have a loaf of bread that’s gone stale or is about to go bad. Break or chop up your old bread into tiny pieces, pour some melted butter and spices over it, and bake it in the oven until it’s crisp and brown. Then, just crush it and store it in an airtight container for your recipes. Similarly, you can make croutons by chopping your bread into larger pieces to use atop your salad.
6. Potato Chips
Potato chips are a pretty straightforward food, despite often costing $5 a bag at the grocery store. And considering this snack food goes fast, making your own potato chips at home is well worth it. If you have a mandoline, you can easily slice potatoes or sweet potatoes into chips and then bake/fry them to have your own crispy potato chips. However, you can also just use a sharp knife to make thicker slices and add salt before baking or frying them to have thicker chips. And don’t forget, if you got in on the air-fryer phase, making homemade chips is one of the best uses for this small appliance.
7. Taco Seasoning/Sloppy Joe Seasoning
Premade spice mixes like taco seasoning, sloppy joe seasoning, or steak seasoning aren’t very economical. Often, the contents of these spice mixes are nothing more than a combination of spices you probably already have at home! Additionally, making your own seasoning avoids the high MSG content in many store-bought mixes. Spices are inexpensive, so this is an ideal way to save money painlessly. Consider doing this for other packaged seasonings as well.
8. Chicken Broth/Stock
Chicken broth or stock is incredibly easy to make at home with leftover ingredients, and it often tastes much richer and better than the stock or broth you’ll find in the store. Whenever you bake a chicken or turkey at home, don’t get rid of the bones and other unwanted pieces. Instead, once you’re finished with the bird, take all the leftover bits and cook them down with salt, pepper, onion, water, and vinegar to make your own stock. The resulting flavor is delicious; freeze it to make soups or other recipes later.
9. Salad Dressing
Typical store-bought salad dressing might only contain a few ingredients, such as salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, mustard, and other everyday budget-friendly foods. So, instead of buying an expensive salad dressing bottle for a few salads (especially when you might not even use the whole thing), try making your own! For example, you can make a basic vinaigrette with olive oil, vinegar, dijon mustard, honey, garlic, and salt and pepper.
While preserved jams or jellies, especially fresh or organic ones, might cost a lot in the store, it’s much cheaper to make your own at home by cooking fruit and sugar. You can use many types of fruits to make jams, including strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, grapes, oranges, and more. If you combine sugar and fruit (minus the stems/peels) in a pot and cook them down, you will eventually have a sweet and sticky jam that tastes even better than the store-bought version.
Making Food From Scratch Can Be Better
While this article focuses on making foods at home to save money, nearly all of these foods are guaranteed to taste better than the ones you buy at the store. A lot of grocery store food is mass-produced, preserved, and made with many additives. But homemade food and condiments will be fresh and customized to what you and your family want to eat. So rather than waste time and money at the grocery store hunting down deals for your favorite foods, make them yourself to save money and get exactly what you want.