10 Common things to make instead of buying

There are many reasons to make household and food items but the three major ones that come to mind are Cost, Health and Waste.

More often than not it’s cheaper to make household and food items.

The food items are healthier for you and your family because you’re in control of the ingredients.

Plus it tastes better than store-bought!
The household items such as cleaners are healthier as well because you aren’t using harmful chemicals.

Everything comes in plastic of some form or another. If you make your own items, you’re in control of where you obtain the ingredients and how they are stored.

Here are 10 rather random but common things you can make instead of buying.

Corn Tortillas

It took me a while to figure out how to make them because the dough needs to be just right. If they are too wet they won’t cook well
Too dry and they will break apart… You want the dough to feel like play-doh.

Here’s how to make them:
You’ll need 2 cups of Masa Harina – It’s a fine corn flour(you can find this in the Hispanic section of most grocery stores)
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups of warm water
Mix the ingredients until it forms a dough.
Add more water or masa as needed to get the play-doh texture.
Using a cast iron tortilla press, press a golf-ball sized piece until thin
Warm a pan over medium heat. Once hot, add the tortillas and cook on both sides for a few minutes until toasted.
Place warm tortillas in a clean towel to keep them warm. The steam generated will make the tortillas flexible. Enjoy!


I can not find a jar salsa that I like. They all have a funky flavor and added sugar. Sugar in salsa?! – Ew.

It’s really easy to make salsa from scratch.
All you need is:
1 can of diced tomatoes (or 4 romas)
2 Slices of Jalapeno (or more if you like it hot)
1 handful of cilantro
1 Clove of garlic
1/4 small onion
Salt to taste

Blend all the ingredients and enjoy!
If you want a smoky salsa swap a chipotle pepper in adobo for the jalapeno.

Nut Butter

Nut butter is really easy to make!
You’ll need:
2 – 4 cups nuts of choice and a food processor (if you have a magic bullet, that’ll work too)
Blend until smooth! Add salt to taste.

Corn Chips

Corn chips are so easy to make!

Cut your homemade corn tortillas into fourths.
Heat a pan with oil over med/high heat or heat the oven to 375°F
Once the pan/oven is hot place the cut tortillas in the pan or oven and cook until crispy.
It won’t take long in a pan so keep an eye on them. Flip the chips to brown both sides. Place cooked chips on a place with a napkin to help drain access oil.
If you’re cooking them in an oven flip the chips a few times to brown them evenly.
When the chips are cooked, sprinkle salt to taste.
They are super easy to make and delicious!

Pasta Sauce

Another food item that has way too much sugar added to it. We don’t use store-bought pasta sauce because it’s too sweet, so we make our own.

It tastes so much better and has fresh herbs! Use it for pasta, cheese sticks, pizza, or whatever you like to use pasta sauce for!

Get the recipe from my post Homemade Pasta Sauce


Every once in a while I get a craving for these greasy sticks of crunchy goodness.
Turns out they are easy to make!
Scale the recipe up depending on how many fries you need.
You’ll need:
1-3 Potatoes (I like to use red potatoes but any kind will work)
Oil of choice (I use olive or avocado)

Cut the potatoes into fry-shaped pieces, as thick or thin as you like. If using russet potatoes remove the skin. If you’re using red or yellow potatoes leave the skin on.
Place potatoes in a pot and cover with water, add a 2 tsp salt to the water, and bring to a boil.
Cook the potatoes until soft, time will vary depending on the potato and thickness.
Once potatoes are soft, remove them from the pot and pat them dry with a rag.
Heat a pan with 4 tbsp oil over medium/high heat.
Sprinkle your potatoes with any seasoning you like, I like to use Cajun seasonings.
Place the fries into the hot oil in a single layer, let them brown for about a minute before flipping.
Once they are brown and crispy, enjoy!

Ginger Ale

I love ginger ale, but I don’t love the sugar that’s in it.
If you feel this way too, you’ll love this recipe!

You’ll need:
Carbonated water – I recommend plain La Croix, Topo Chico, or unflavored Clearly Canadian. Club soda will work too!
Fresh Ginger Root

Wash and Peel a 1-inch chunk of ginger root
Using a zester, grate the ginger over a cup or small bowl.

Place ginger in a cup and pour the carbonated water over it (you can also put the ginger in a metal tea strainer)

Stir until the water becomes cloudy, strain, and enjoy!

We love making this when we’re feeling under the weather for its medicinal properties. We call it Ginger Aid 😛

If you’re not familiar with ginger, it’s spicy. Not like a hot pepper per se, but it’ll get the back of your throat.

Laundry Detergent

This one has been a game-changer for us!
It’s so much cheaper and my skin doesn’t break out from the chemicals anymore!
Find my recipe in my post Eco-Friendly laundry detergent. It’s borax-free!

All-Purpose cleaner

There are a couple of ways to make cleaners. Each of them are chemical-free and cheaper than buying them from the store.

One way is by mixing white vinegar with some water to make a bathroom cleaner.

You can also use white vinegar as is to clean sinks, toilets, and the shower. Just be careful cleaning around metal because it will cause rust if not rinsed well.

Another way to make a homemade cleaner is by using Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap. Check out my post Homemade All-Purpose cleaner for the recipe and a review of Dr. Bronner’s Castile soap.

Stainless Steel Cleaner

This cleaner works on stainless steel appliances!

You’ll need:
1 Tsp. Cream of tartar 
1/2 Tsp. Water 
A dab of baby oil 

Mix cream of tartar and water in a small dish. It should be like a paste.
Buff onto Stainless steel surface with a sponge and wipe clean with a wet towel.
Put a dab of baby oil on a clean towel and polish.

Making these items by hand takes some work, but it’s so worth it in the end!

What items do you make instead of buying?

Whitney Stokes

Whitney is a naturalist who started Willowbottom.com in 2018 to encourage natural and sustainable living.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Heather

    Whoa, never would have thought to make my own ginger ale! I love having some around the house for sick days.

    1. Whitney

      It’s one of our favorites! Hope you like it! 🙂

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