In our consumer culture, we have the ability to buy a plethora of convenience items, but does that mean that we should? Being able to go without some things or make your own versions at home will not only save you money, but also be better for the environment and your health. This list is specific to my family and lifestyle, but I hope it makes you stop and think about which products you could go without in your own life. I’m not trying to judge or say that you should never buy these products, only get people to think more about what is necessary for them and what they could do without.
The truth is we don’t need as much as we think we do and simplifying the amount of products that we use is a great step toward balance and contentment. Check out my post 30 Items You Can Make at Home to Save Money for more recipes and ideas. Here is my list of 15 Products that I Make at Home or Simply Go Without to Save Money.
I haven’t used shaving cream in years because, why? I feel it’s a luxury in life that I can go without and I use bar soap instead which gets the job done just as well.
On the same note, I rarely buy body wash because I don’t feel that it’s necessary. I have bought it in the past when I got a good deal with coupons, but for the most part I simply buy bulk packs of soap instead.
I make my own powder laundry detergent for pennies per load. It’s healthy, saves me money and also saves all those plastic detergent bottles form ending up in the landfill.
I’ve never used dryer sheets because I just don’t understand the need. They’re unnecessary in my opinion and cause damage to dryers, plus they’re filled with chemicals and fragrances that I just don’t care to bring into my home.
I stopped buying cleaning products long ago and have since replaced them with vinegar, baking soda and water. They’re environmentally-friendly, healthy, cheap and get the job done so what’s the point of buying store-bought? If you don’t like the smell of vinegar then you can make your own Homemade Citrus Cleaner or add essential oils.
Boxed Macaroni and Cheese
I used to keep a few boxes of macaroni and cheese on hand because it was a cheap and easy dinner, but I haven’t purchased a box in ages and haven’t looked back. Having a few things on hand such as cheese, diced ham, fruit, etc. for a snacky dinner is a much healthier and quicker option for those busy nights. Also, you can try making your own with my Homestyle Mac and Cheese Casserole.
I found out long ago that most store-bought broth is made from concentrated powder so it’s not worth the money. I keep chicken base powder on hand and also make my own using leftover chicken bones and veggie scraps.
I really can’t stand canned biscuits. It’s just one of those things that tastes NOTHING like the homemade version in my opinion. Instead of popping the can, try making my Southern-Style Homemade Biscuits , Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits , Cinnamon Roll Biscuits or Homemade Pumpkin Biscuits instead. You won’t be sorry.
I love the convenience of a lunchable, but if you stop and look at the ingredients why pay so much for meat, cheese and crackers??? Make your own at home for a more frugal, healthier option. I feed my kids homemade lunchables practically everyday for lunch.
I started making my own seasonings in bulk a few years back and it’s been GREAT. I don’t have to worry about keeping those packets on hand all the time and I can control what goes into my mixes. Check out these homemade versions of Taco Seasoning, Ranch Seasoning, Chili Seasoning and Spiced Chai Seasoning.
I’ve never been one to buy bottled because I prefer ice water instead. Try carrying around your own reusable bottle with you wherever you go and make it a practice not to buy plastic bottled water because it’s expensive and also plastic = bad for the environment.
My kids LOVE oatmeal for breakfast, but I’m not a fan of buying those packets filled with sugar, fake flavorings and preservatives. Plus, homemade oatmeal tastes SOOO much better than instant. For a quick breakfast I mix oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and milk in a bowl the night before, pop it in the fridge and have easy soaked oatmeal ready to go the next morning.
Boxed Baking Mixes
I rarely buy boxed mixes such as muffins, brownies, cornbread, cake mixes, pancake mix, etc. because they’re so easy to make at home! Plus, I enjoy cooking from scratch way more than from a prepackaged mix. Think about what you’re paying for when you buy a mix. It’s basically just flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Couldn’t you take a few extra minutes to mix that up yourself at home? Plus, homemade baked goods are way better tasting than store-bought mixes.
We drink a lot of iced-tea around here, but I normally skip the pre-made gallons of tea because it’s so much cheaper and better for the environment to brew my own. I buy the family-sized tea bags and make about a gallon per week. Plus, did you know there are so many things that you can do with tea bags once you’re done? Click here for 10 creative ideas.
Individually Packed Snacks
I won’t say that I NEVER buy individually packed snacks, but it’s pretty rare. I try to buy the bigger package of something and divide them up myself if I need too. Think of all that wasted packaging for the convenience of a pre-portioned snack. Not worth it in my opinion.
What items would you add to the list? I’d love to know!