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Don't Buy It, Make It

October 20th, 2015 at 05:38 pm

I came up with that title because I wanted to share that my husband finally decided to buy his own coffee to take to work and make in a machine that makes one cup at a time. Work doesn't provide coffee like some places and he can't plug in his own coffee maker like he could at some other sites. He had been buying coffee at the shop in the building for a minimum of $2.32 per day. Some days he spend up to $4.54. So for about 20 work days a month he was spending $46.40 up to $90.80. He was good about putting the transactions into YNAB for the last month, too. I think that is what put him on this new path! Smile

We bought a can of ground coffee that cost us about $7. I think one can could last him an entire month at least. But even if he needs twice the amount, we will be saving some cash.

Another thought I had on my title was regarding Halloween costumes. So many are store bought these days. And I did notice that Walmart has some VERY reasonable prices, but with a little creativity a costume can be made with items you already own, thus making the costume FREE!

I'm sure we could take this Don't Buy It, Make It title further. Do you have some thoughts on when it is cheaper to make something than buy it?

20 Responses to “Don't Buy It, Make It”

  1. ceejay74 Says:

    I made a table for behind the sofa this month! Even the shorter ones were several hundred dollars, and I was having trouble finding one that would span the entire sofa (7.5 feet). So I bought some lumber and brackets for about $45, borrowed my neighbor's sander to sand it down, used paint, paintbrushes/rollers that we were buying for another furniture refinishing project, bought screws for a few bucks, and used a drill we already had.

    Then I followed an easy tutorial online. With help from NT and my neighbor, built a behind-the-sofa table for about $50 (not counting supplies we already had or would have bought anyway). It's kinda rickety but it's just to rest drinks on, so it doesn't need to be really strong. It's perfect.

  2. CB in the City Says:

    Here are three things I've learned to make instead of buy: granola, salad dressing, and barbecue sauce. All of them so easy, and much cheaper than the prepared items.

  3. ceejay74 Says:

    Ah, that reminded me of some things I always make. Refried beans (I make them from dry and can make and freeze a huge batch for the price of one can) and mock duck/seitan (unless you're vegetarian or eat at Vietnamese restaurants a lot, you might not know this stuff, but I can make 2 cans' worth for less than half the price of one can -- and we have the option of cutting into a wider variety of shapes and sizes!) AS always makes pizza crusts when we make homemade pizza, which I know is a huge cost saving.

  4. creditcardfree Says:

    Those are good ones ladies! I know how to make salad dressing, but I don't. Want to try the granola, but not something I normally eat, so not exactly a savings. Refried beans I need to do. I've never had success with dried beans...but I'm determined to try again soon. I do make homemade pizza crust.

  5. crazyliblady Says:

    A couple of years ago, I needed row markers for my garden. I could have bought some at Home Depot, but was inspired by something I saw online. I had an old, decrepit set of blinds and cut up the slats to make markers.

  6. ceejay74 Says:

    The great thing about making refried beans from dry is that if you overcook and they start to fall apart, they're going to get mashed up anyway (in fact, I do mine in the blender so they're totally smooth). I posted my "recipe" somewhere; if I can find it I'll post it here.

  7. Ima saver Says:

    Well, my husband has been making his lunch and brown bagging it to work all of his working life. I am sure it has saved us a ton of money. His co workers usually go into town to a restaurant for lunch. (Then they wonder why we have a paid for nice house and car)

  8. creditcardfree Says:

    My husband takes his lunch most days as well. There are occasional meals out though. Luckily not every day!

  9. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    Hmm ... My main thing I guess would be taking my lunch from home 99.99% of the time rather than buying out. I should try doing the refried beans though ...

  10. crazyliblady Says:

    Is the machine your husband is using a Keurig? He might need a reusable filter.

  11. PatientSaver Says:

    CB beat me to it, i've been making my own granola for years...i used to bring in my lunch most every day but that has somewhat fallen by the wayside with mom-related stuff going on. just no time anymore...

  12. creditcardfree Says:

    @crazyliblady, I think the machine is a Keurig and there is a reusable filter. So he's just adding his own ground coffee. I won't let him buy the fancy disposable Keurig pods...too much plastic and a waste of money in my opinion!

  13. Kaycee Fisher Says:



    I always take my lunch/snacks/beverages from home. Every day.

    My one co-worker eats fast food for breakfast and lunch. Every day.

    Granted she is 50-ish and married with no kids. Both she and her husband work. And I am sure she makes good money. Nonetheless .....

  14. crazyliblady Says:

    I also take my own lunch nearly every day in a reusable fabric tote. Whenever I need something for our house and I don't really need it to be brand new, just useable, I go to the Reuse-it shoppe, a place that is affiliated with the local recycle center. It is a thrift shop of sorts that seems to have everything under the sun. I have bought used flower pots their to use for my garden, fabric that I needed for Halloween decorations, dishes, file folders, file cabinets, etc. I also "reuse" green onions by cutting off the bottom inch and planting it soil so it will grow again. I have bought green onions since about April this year. Eventually, they don't look so good and I have to buy new ones, but they last a good long time.

  15. ceejay74 Says:

    Refried beans (all measurements approximate & flexible)
    1 lb dried beans, soaked for 24 hours or overnight, drained & rinsed
    3 T shortening
    4 cloves garlic, minced
    2 t salt
    1 T cumin
    optional: diced onion, chili powder, paprika, cayenne, oregano, black pepper

    Cover soaked beans with plenty of water and bring to a boil, then lower to a medium simmer and cook until soft (sometimes an hour, sometimes two). You want them really soft but not quite falling apart. If not making the meal until the next day, leave them overnight soaking in the bean water for even more softness!

    Drain beans, reserving the liquid. Put beans in blender and add just enough cooking liquid to cover. Blend until smooth (you could reserve a cup of cooked beans whole or blend up the whole batch.

    Melt shortening in large pot w/ lid (I'm fond of nonstick pots for this).

    When it's hot add the garlic and (if using) onion, and saute until tender, about 5-10 mins.

    Add blended beans and (if you saved some) whole beans. Stir. Warning: they will splatter and make a big mess so for most of the cooking time I keep a lid on, but you want some water to evaporate, so keep the lid ajar. Protect yourself with the lid when you scrape the bottom of the pot, so you don't get splattered with burning hot beans!

    Add salt, cumin and any other spices and stir well. Cook for a few minutes and taste; add more of anything you want more of.

    Cook until desired consistency is reached; if you want them really thick you just have to cook longer. Occasionally scrape the sides and bottom and mix the dry/lumpy bits back in; that will help them thicken. (If you want them really creamy, you can start with them thinner using more bean juice, and cook even longer.)

    Stores well in the fridge for about a week; also freezes and thaws well.

  16. creditcardfree Says:

    Thanks for sharing ceejay! I do want to try these soon.

  17. livingalmostlarge Says:

    Yum you can also do in a crock pot I've been told. We've always bagged lunches and DH usually gets coffee free at work. Or now at home. Although since he's been at "home" he's spent more drinking coffee at starbucks because he feels confined and wants to get out and study outside the house.

  18. My English Castle Says:

    One of my little luxuries for years has been purchased coffee at school. It's wonderful, but the price has gone up and I'm about to start bringing my own in a week or two. It's too much for me carry from home as I walk a long way for the free parking, so my office mate and I are about to get a used Keurig from a colleague.

    We make our own pizza crust, and I make a lot of food. We'll be canning applesauce with a friend this weekend.

  19. creditcardfree Says:

    Good plan to get the used Keurig for your office, MEC!

  20. crazyliblady Says:

    @My English Castle. Another option to buying coffee if you can't find a Keurig are those instant coffee packets that you just dump into hot water. They As long as you can get hot water somewhere, it works well. One of my coworkers has been doing this for years and has probably saved thousands not buying coffee.

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