I know that there are 456,782,202 books, articles and advocates out there that bang the drum of “never buy this again since it’s cheaper/healthier/just as easy to make” so often that you want to put their head through that aforementioned drum (which is also probably homemade).

And, this post is going to be similar.


While this post will be in a familiar vein, I think it may have a refreshing tone because:

1. I just figured this stuff out for myself a few months ago.

2. You know me, and if it wasn’t incredibly simple and stupid-proof, I would not be recommending it.

3. I prefer a plastic, neon, store-bought kazoo to a drum, of course.

With that said, here are three foods that I have recently started making that you can easily make to save yourself a few bucks.


This one is definitely the easiest of the three.  While it does taste a little differently from the syrup that comes out of the lady bottle, it is still delicious, incredibly simple and is great in a pinch–even if you don’t decide to go exclusively homemade.

Credit goes to my Momma for this recipe!


1 cup white sugar

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup water

a splash of maple flavoring (to taste)


Pour all of the above ingredients in a pot, and put on the stove to boil.  Stir regularly while it heats up.  When it starts to boil, turn it off to cool and then transfer it into a cute bottle.  Can live in the refrigerator for weeks before crystallizing. Enjoy on all of your favorite breakfast foods, or poured on top of your homemade granola (coming up soon!).



Why is granola so expensive?  I have no idea, and I am even more puzzled since I started making my own.

The first time I made granola, I followed this recipe from the wonderful book, The Homemade Pantry, by Alana Chernila.  This book is yet another of the “make it better homemade” genre, but it reads like a welcoming memoir and includes fabulous and easy recipes.  I highly recommend it!

Anyway, Chernila’s recipe is a great one–but I must confess that I made it my own from the very beginning.  I do not have various seeds, canola oil or almond extract on hand, so I just left them out.  And it still turned out great!

The last time I made granola, I did not refer to the recipe at all (mostly because I had to return the book to the library …).  And it still worked out just fine!

(Note:  I have since purchased the book, so please do not sic publishers on me.  Also, I still rarely refer to the recipe with successful results.)

There are only a few things to keep in mind when making this recipe:

1. Chernila’s recipe makes A LOT of granola, just so that you are aware.  For our family, we cut the recipe in half, and it is still more than enough to last a week.

2. I follow the oven directions very closely.  They are time consuming, but it works out well.

3. When you are making your own mix for granola, feel free to include any amount or combination of dry ingredients.  We like to use coconut and sliced almonds primarily.  Just make sure that you include enough liquid ingredients to balance out the dry ingredients, and everything is evenly coated and begins to stick together.  I use any combination of the maple syrup (from above), corn syrup, brown sugar, honey, or golden syrup.

Good luck!


Okay, so this one doesn’t exactly follow the mold of the recipes above, but it is another food that we started making that is delicious and SO CHEAP.

The next time you are at a garage sale, BUY THE BREAD MAKER.  You will find at least one at each garage sale, so do yourself a favor.  They all cost $5–just buy it already.

I finally took the plunge and bought mine after years of attempting to keep  this Garage Sale Vow, because I found my beauty at the town priest’s sale, and figured that it was a sign from a  higher, doughy, power.

gaze upon my beautiful loaf!
gaze upon my beautiful loaf!

And we have plowed through several delicious and cheap loaves of bread since.  Thanks, Father!

Bread makers are easy to use and practical to have.  Just make sure the bread maker at the next garage sale you go to, COMES WITH THE RECIPE BOOK.  The ubiquitous bread makers may be lying in wait at future garage sales because the recipe book is gone–rendering it practically useless.  If it comes with the recipe book–you are good to go!  And if anyone knows how to circumvent the recipe book, please let me know!  We can save a lot of lonely bread makers … together.

Anything else that I should stop buying?  What go-to recipes do you have?



  1. bairloch August 26, 2013 / 8:15 pm

    Vinegar and water makes a great cleaning solution.
    Instead of spending all that money on scentsy and crap like that, put vanilla extract (optional lemon and/or cinnamon) in a saucepan and simmer on the stove. House smells good for days.
    These are courtesy of the lovely and talented Loubelle.

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