Are you tired of spending a fortune on grocery bills for foods you could easily make at home? It’s time to take back control of your kitchen and your budget. By DIYing these 15 staple foods, not only will you cut costs, but you’ll also enjoy fresher, tastier versions of your favorites. Let’s get into which foods to start with and how you can easily make them yourself.

A woman with blue and purple hair tasting food from a pot in a kitchen, holding a wooden spoon and lifting a pot lid.
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Pickles

Spicy dill garlic pickles in two mason jars.
Photo credit: Running to the Kitchen.

Pickling your own vegetables is a simple and fun way to preserve seasonal produce, with the added benefit of controlling the flavor and crunch. You won’t find food dye (yes, check your pickle jar label) in homemade pickles and you can experiment with different spices and herbs to create your favorite kind. We love a good sweet and spicy pickle!

Applesauce

A bowl of homemade applesauce with cinnamon sticks and fresh apples in the background.
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Homemade applesauce beats the jarred stuff hands down, and when you’re up to your eyeballs in apples come fall it’s the best way to make use of them. Applesauce can be made on the stove-top, in a slow cooker or even a pressure cooker. Make it in bulk, adjust it to your tastes and save it to enjoy throughout winter by canning it.

Spaghetti Sauce

A bowl of meaty tomato sauce beside fresh ingredients and uncooked spaghetti.
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Store-bought spaghetti sauce often comes with added sugar and preservatives. Making it at home means you get to play with flavors, adding your own mix of herbs and spices, and letting fresh seasonal tomatoes shine. Your pasta dishes will get an instant upgrade with a homemade batch of sauce.

Chicken Stock

A bowl of broth and carrots next to a bowl of broth.
Photo credit: Depositphotos.

Simmering your own chicken stock is a great way to get more bang for your buck, utilizing leftover bones and vegetable scraps. It’s healthier, richer in flavor, and free from the high sodium and additives of many canned or boxed stocks. Plus, it can be frozen in portions for easy use in recipes.

Bread

A loaf of bread sitting on a towel.
Oat Bread. Photo credit: Running to the Kitchen.

Baking your own bread can be incredibly satisfying and surprisingly simple, with numerous quick recipes that don’t require extensive kneading or rising times. Homemade bread is free from the preservatives found in many store loaves and you can make an organic loaf for much less money. This oat bread recipe is a great place to start.

Granola

A stack of granola bars on a white plate.
Chocolate Granola Bars. Photo credit: Running to the Kitchen.

Baking your own granola means you can handpick wholesome ingredients, avoiding the excessive sugar and oils common in commercial brands. Your kitchen will smell amazing and you’ll wonder why you ever shelled out $10+ for the tiniest bag before when it was this easy to make yourself. This coconut almond granola is a favorite.

Jam

A jar of jam and toast with a spoon.
Photo credit: Depositphotos.

Homemade jam lets you enjoy seasonal fruit without the high fructose corn syrup or preservatives of many store-bought options. It requires minimal ingredients and is the perfect recipe to get into canning. Although, refrigerator jams will last weeks even without traditional canning methods. This one’s a no-brainer!

Honey Mustard

A jar of homemade salad dressing with a whisk nearby and a fresh salad in the background.
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Whisking together your own honey mustard sauce is incredibly easy, allowing you to balance the sweet and tangy flavors perfectly. It’s a healthier alternative to processed versions, free from artificial colors and flavors, and versatile enough to be a dip, dressing, or glaze. Drizzle it over some pecan chicken for dinner.

Hummus

A bowl of hummus garnished with paprika and whole chickpeas, accompanied by carrot sticks on a wooden surface.
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Homemade hummus is not only cost-effective but also allows for customization that can’t be matched by the pre-packaged variety. With just chickpeas, tahini (although you don’t even need this ingredient if you don’t have it on hand), lemon juice, and garlic, you can create a fresh, creamy spread that’s perfect for snacking.

Guacamole

A bowl of guacamole surrounded by tortilla chips.
Pineapple Guacamole. Photo credit: Running to the Kitchen.

Making guacamole at home is a game-changer. Not only do you control the freshness and the flavor balance—think just the right amount of lime and cilantro—but you also avoid the preservatives found in many store-bought versions. Whipping up a batch is as simple as mashing ripe avocados and mixing in a few key ingredients.

Nut Butter

Peanut butter in a bowl on a wooden table.
Photo credit: Depositphotos.

Making nut butter at home is surprisingly easy and allows for complete control over ingredients and texture. Without the added oils and sugars of many commercial nut butters, you get a purer, more flavorful spread that can be customized with different nuts and seasonings. All you need is a food processor and some nuts! This macadamia nut butter is so creamy and decadent and would’ve cost a fortune in the store.

Vanilla Extract

Two jars of amber-colored liquid, possibly homemade syrup or honey, on a kitchen counter.
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Creating your own vanilla extract might take patience, but it’s a straightforward process that results in a richer, more flavorful baking ingredient than many store-bought extracts. With just vanilla beans and alcohol, you can have a cost-effective, high-quality extract without artificial flavorings. It’s also a great DIY holiday gift for friends and family.

Pesto

A bowl of green arugula pesto on a wooden table.
Arugula pesto. Photo credit: Running to the Kitchen.

Homemade pesto is fresher, more vibrant, and can be made with a variety of greens and nuts, not just the traditional basil and pine nuts. It freezes well too so it’s perfect for making in big batches, especially in the summer if find yourself with an abundance of herbs you have no idea what to do with. This arugula pesto recipe is a great place to start.

Seasoning Mixes

A variety of colorful spices and seasonings arranged neatly on a white plate with a wooden spoon, ready to add flavor to any food you make yourself.
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DIY seasoning mixes not only save money but also allow you to adjust flavors to your taste and skip the unnecessary fillers or high sodium levels of commercial packets. Whether it’s taco seasoning or a herb blend, homemade mixes are quick to put together from spices you likely already have.

Croutons

Fresh caesar salad with croutons and shaved cheese on a white plate.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Since you’re making your own bread now, homemade croutons are a tasty way to repurpose any of it that’s gone stale, and they’re far superior to the store-bought version in both flavor and texture. With just a little oil, seasoning, and oven time, you can have crunchy addition to salads and soups.

13 Reasons Why You Should Grow Your Own Food (Even Just A Little!)

Hand picking ripe red bell peppers from a plant.
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Growing your own food isn’t just for those with sprawling gardens; a small container or patch of dirt is all you need to start. Replacing even a few items from your grocery list with homegrown produce can inject fun and flavor into your meals. It’s a transformative experience that brings unparalleled freshness to your table and connects you more deeply with the cycle of nature. Let’s explore the many benefits of turning even the smallest space into a flourishing garden.

Read it Here: 13 Reasons Why You Should Grow Your Own Food

15 Foods You Should Be Buying At The Dollar Store To Save Money

Hand holding cash with an empty shopping cart in a supermarket aisle.
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Dollar stores can be a treasure trove for savvy shoppers looking to cut down on grocery bills. From breakfast staples to snack-time favorites, they offer an array of eats that will save you some cash. While inflation’s impact means not many items are actually just one dollar anymore, you can still score some great foods for significantly less money than shopping at the normal grocery store. Here are the top picks that make the extra shopping trip worthwhile.

Read it Here: 15 Foods You Should Be Buying At The Dollar Store To Save Money

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Founder and Writer at Running to the Kitchen | About

Gina Matsoukas is an AP syndicated writer. She is the founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.

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