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POLL: S/O:Why do you make things from scratch?

What is your #1 motivation in making homemade items?  

  1. 1. What is your #1 motivation in making homemade items?

    • to save money
    • to cut out preservatives
    • to live more green
    • to have a higher quality product
    • to be more self-sufficient
    • simply because it's enjoyable despite any drawbacks
    • other

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Many, many years ago I made many food items from scratch that aren't typical: grapenuts, yogurt, bagels, marshmallows, etc. along with the more typical baked goods, soups, etc.


My motivation was primarily to save money. However many things were so time consuming and were not favorites with my family. They prefer store-bought yogurt and marshmallows and bagels.


So as my family grew and time got shorter and dh got a raise here and there I dropped doing these things. It makes my skin crawl to think about making homemade marshmallows again. I would rather just not eat marshmallows. But I am obviously not like other people in this regard. I just wonder what motivates people. Is it possible to pick one primary motivation?

to save money

to cut out preservatives

to be more green

to have a better quality product

to be more self-sufficient

it's just plain enjoyable despite any drawbacks


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I checked "to cut out preservatives," but it's also to cut out as many food additives as possible. I don't want modified food starch in my mayo or hydrolized vegetable protein in my tuna, KWIM? So I make my own mayo, and read labels carefully on other things I buy (I cannot make canned tuna, lol).

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I was going to post in the other thread that I have a book called Cheaper & Better by Birnes that tell how to make many things from scratch. She even gives how much money you'll save on each recipe. There are so many things that I will not make. I choose 'higher quality' in the poll. I love homemade bread. I love many cooking from scratch items (cakes, cookies, brownies, candy). Also love home persevered items like freezing garden produce. But we also do it to reduce preservatives in our food, controling things like keeping HFCS out of our food, more local/green. If I can save some money too, it is all good.


I wouldn't make things that take a lot of work, the family doesn't like and will just sit around uneaten or unused. That doesn't save money and wastes my time.

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When I do this, it's a combination of several of your choices. It's not one thing all of the time. I chose "to be more self-sufficient," because that is a strong motivation for me. I have done things that are not cheaper for this reason, such as canning vegetables. But all these reasons apply some of the time:

* to save money

* to reduce trash

* to have a purer product

* I like the homemade better

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All of the above for various reasons. I can make bread cheaper and I like it better. I do not need the amounts of sodium that are in processed foods. I like knowing what is in my food and who touched it (because I KNOW my hands were washed and I did not fertilize my plants with human waste or run off from nasty places). I like that the meat I raised formy family was treated humanely, living it's life as it should. I know that there is not much that we eat in our home that's been tampered with by any big business. I also do not like relying on someone else to provide my food should an emergency arise. I can do it myself if need be.

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It's probably a combination for me--there have been some economic considerations, but I like the quality of homemade and I love being able to do things--self-sufficiency I guess? Some things I do all the time, other things I do for a while. Some things that initially seem difficult aren't really that hard once you are used to making them. I guess making more money wouldn't really keep me from making my own most of the time.

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I have several answers, but could only choose one on the poll. Overall, it all works toward a better product, so I chose that one.


We have always avoided HFCS, artificial colors, flavors, MSG, etc.

Dh chooses a low sodium diet.

Often times homemade taste better.


If you want 100% whole wheat bread, homemade is definitely better!

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~I can reduce additives of all kinds - coloring, flavoring, preservatives, salt, etc.

~I can reduce or minimize sugar, and eliminate other added sweeteners. This is a big one for me.

~I can minimize added fat.

~I can squeeze in many more fruits and veggies (for example yogurt parfaits from frozen berries rather than so-called "fruit" on the bottom that includes lots of sugar and very little fruit).

~I can use local, organic produce, which all green-ness aside, TASTES way better. It's also more fun to shop at the farmer's market, where I always see friends, than to shop in the grocery store.

~When I use local produce, our food naturally changes as the seasons change, giving us variety and interest and helping us minimize getting stuck in a rut.

~I can make tastier, higher-quality food at home than at chain restaurants. I hate going out to dinner and having food that's not as good as I can make.

~Several family members have dietary needs or preferences, which are more easily accommodated at home.

~I learn when I try to make new things, which makes me a better cook.


I have to say a lot of this applies to other things I make myself - higher quality, custom-made to fit my needs, increases my DIY skills, and, if it goes well, gives me pleasure in a job well done.


I often make presents for parties rather than buy them; it usually takes about the same amount of time but results in a higher-quality gift.


All that said, I think DIY is a genetic thing. If you have the DIY gene, you can't help but think "I could make that!!! But I could make it BETTER! CHEAPER! We have the technology! (Or can get it with a quick trip to Joanns/Michaels/Hobby Lobby/Home Depot!)."

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Thanks ladies. I've enjoyed reading your replies. I've already shared that my diy experiences have been mostly to save money, but I do enjoy knitting - nothing fancy. I happen to love homemade dishcloths. I like them better than anything in the store and I enjoy the process of making them as well. So maybe there are some things in this world that are not "all about the money" for me. Perhaps I just don't enjoy being in the kitchen. (unless I'm wiping something down with my homemade dishcloth :D)


Maybe it just depends on the type of DIY thing. I didn't really take that into account in the poll because I was really hung up on homemade marshmallows. Yuck!


We DIY guy haircuts here too. I know I bought the clippers thinking of all the money I would save, but now that I have the clippers and am good at using them I couldn't imagine paying someone to do something so simple especially multiplied by 5 even if I was a brazillionaire. O.K. maybe I would pay someone to clean up all the hair after I was done. I hate that part.

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My kids have bad reactions to many preservatives, additives, colorings etc. so we avoid processed foods as much as possible.


But many of the answers would apply for us: better quality food, I enjoy cooking most of the time, fewer pesticides, saving $ (not always, but often).


Another reason is that I want my children to know how to cook and manage a kitchen and so I teach them by doing it for and with them.

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I enjoy cooking and it tastes better. It is not typically cheaper in my experience. I can get brownish mix for $1.00, the chocalate alone for homemade brownies is more than that. I can buy a can of chili for less that $2.00, mea alone costs more than that. I but enjoy it.

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I voted "higher quality product" but, for me, that means controlling the ingredients, substituting healthier ingredients for unhealthy ones, etc. I have never made my own marshmallows or yogurt, nor do I plan to. But, we try not to eat too many convenience foods. Cereal, crackers, and pretzels are the convenience foods we buy most often, but we only buy them from Trader Joe's because they have a good selection of palatable, high fiber, high protein, low sugar items that don't cost an arm and a leg.

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Primary motivator depends on the day.

Perhaps my most common reason: because we ran out of the store bought alternative, and it's easier to make it from scratch with ingredients I have around the house than get to the store at that time. I buy bread, but I also make it from scratch between grocery store trips.


As to saving money...I know some items are cheaper from the store, HOWEVER, while it may technically cheaper to buy a particular item, but it seems every time I set foot in the grocery store, I spend at least $100. I save money by staying out of the store.

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I put other, but must include: Save money, and better quality product.


My other reasons are that my family usually doesn't like certain processed foods. Many times they feel those foods are too salty, or have no flavor. Things like yogurt, marshmallows, and ice cream I do not make at home. I am not that motivated. Plus we rarely eat marshmallows. I would say once a year.... And that is being generous.



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Higher quality product. My family prefers my bread over anything store bought, for example. Now that I have making refried beans down, you won't catch me buying canned. I used to love Rosarito canned beans but now they just taste gross to me. Homemade baked goods beat out anything I can buy at the store.


If it too expensive or time consuming or I haven't learned to make it yet, I just buy it. Some things we just don't have an interest in doing homemade at this point, as well.

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almost all of the list items, except save money. We are also gluten free and allergic to chocolate (you would not believe the things cocoa shows up on), so need to also add that to our list of reasons. I also, personally, think homemade tastes better, or in terms of non-food items like moisturizer, works better.

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Why is a really good question. I think a lot of it is habit now, but began out of frugal necessity. There are many things that I don't particularly enjoy making from scratch much anymore. I enjoy cooking good food, but I could do without making soap anymore, and I recently realized that I don't actually like to knit. It's a chore, not a pleasant pastime.


Your question prompts me to re-evaluate how I spend my time. I'm not sure some of these "from scratch" things are worth my time anymore.


Food for thought, certainly.

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for food items, it's other --- we make those things which are not available to us here in Brazil. This would be things like good salsa/picante sauce, pancakes from scratch not mix, whole wheat pizza crust, etc....


for non-food items, like laundry soap, it's to save money. Although, I've not tried it yet, but the ingredients are on my shopping list for my next grocery run.

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