Money is tight for everyone, but when you have kids who love to create things, you can save money and have fun family activities at the same time. Kids love to play in the kitchen and do science experiments, so they'll love helping you create your own products and saving money.

When you make your own food mixes and other products, you're able to:

  • Be in control of the quality of the products by selecting your own ingredients.

  • Cut down on the amount of packaging that ends up in landfills.

  • Use natural ingredients, rather than products made of chemicals and items you can't even pronounce.

  • Know how to make things so that you don't have to desperately race to the store when you run out of things.

  • Learn new skills about how to make things.

  • Save money. Yay!

If you want to cut food costs, skip all of the pre-packaged convenience foods. Packaging drives up the cost of even the most simple of mixes. It honestly doesn't take that much time to cook from scratch. Most mixes can be stored for a couple of months in your pantry, cutting down on the number of times you need to race to the store.

Here's an example: You could buy a chili seasoning packet for $2.38 or you could make your ownwith ingredients already in your kitchen cabinet for 18 cents.

You can even make your own cosmetics. If you buy high-end cosmetics, you'll definitely save money, but if you normally purchase inexpensive make-up at a drug store or super center, then you might not see as much of a savings. You and your kids can also learn how to make your own bath salts, perfume, natural toothpaste, insect repellent, and other personal items.

Craft supplies and toys can also be expensive. Consider making your own with your children. Your kids will love making things like silly putty, play dough. Bubble solutionfrom the store isn't that expensive, but considering how simple it is to make, you'll save money and won't even have to drive to the store to get it. A wonderful way to get siblings excited about a new baby's arrival is to involve them in making inexpensive baby supplies.

But wait! There's more. Would you believe an entire website exists to teach you how to make your own cat toys? Kids will get a kick out of making items for their pet birds and dogs,too.

If your friends want to cut their expenses as well, invite them to share a "Do It Yourself" mixing party. Everyone can bring ingredients and leave with prepared mixes to take home.

Teaching children how to make their own products teaches them how to better manage their money, be more self-reliant, and develop new skills. Homemade mixes and gifts make terrific Christmas and birthday presents, too.

What we call "Do It Yourself Mixes," our grandmothers called recipes. Getting back to basics will save your family money and create those delicious smells in the kitchen that grandma use to make.

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