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10 Things I Stopped Buying From the Store

Posted by on July 27, 2016

As homesteaders, the hubby and I share the goal of becoming more and more self-sufficient. The less we have to rely on the grocery store and the barge system bringing things from the Lower 48, the better. Over the past three years, our grocery store list has shrunk. Check out these 10 things I stopped buying from the store.

10 Things I Stopped Buying from the Store - IdlewildAlaska


Between fishing, hunting, and local farmers, we haven’t bought meat from the grocery store in over a year, and the freezers are still pretty full. The hubby got a moose last year. We shared half of it with my parents as thanks for helping us break it down and get it home. (Breaking down an entire moose is no small job!) We still have a couple roasts in the freezer. (Check out the hubby’s moose summer sausage recipe!) We have a few jars of salmon from last year, but we just stocked the freezers with fresh Alaskan salmon a couple weeks ago, so we’re set for fish. We started buying a pig from a local farmer every year a couple years ago and love it! I’ve never been a fan of pork chops, but these fresh chops are AMAZING. We raised meat chickens last year for the first time and are again this year. There are currently 40 meat chickens in a chicken tractor in the backyard and 5 turkeys in the coop. We raised 2 turkeys last year and I swear that was the BEST Thanksgiving turkey I’ve ever had. If you aren’t in a position to raise your own, find a local farmer. Believe me- it is well worth it.



Along with those meat chickens, there are currently 2 roosters and 16 egg laying hens in two coops in the backyard. My girls give us a wonderful supply of delicious, extra healthy, organic eggs every day. I can’t remember the last time I bought eggs. Not only are they providing enough eggs for the hubby and me, but I am also selling eggs locally, which covers the cost of chicken feed.

Broody Hen - IdlewildAlaska

Barbecue Sauce

I wish I could share the recipe with you, but the hubby says I’m not allowed. He has perfected his mustard based barbecue sauce and it’s delicious. He’s still working on honing in his red barbecue sauce recipe, but I’m enjoying his trials. I made an Apricot BBQ Sauce recently, which is going to be so good with chicken… I made a Spicy Peach BBQ Sauce last year.

Homemade Apricot BBQ Sauce - IdlewildAlaska

Make it today!


I was never a big jam person, but after the hubby bought me an Automatic Jam and Jelly Maker, I love trying out new recipes. Check out my Vanilla Blueberry Jam and Strawberry Rhubarb Balsamic Jam.

Strawberry Rhubarb Balsamic Jam - IdlewildAlaska

Pizza and Pizza Sauce

I admit, we used to keep frozen pizza stocked in the freezer. But once I found this recipe for the most amazing pizza crust, and I promptly stopped. The hubby used most of our harvest of tomatoes last year to make pizza sauce. He didn’t write down the recipe, so I don’t have it, but I’m thinking we need to do that again, so I’ll be sure to let you know what our recipe will be. No more store-bought frozen pizzas for us!


Pasta Sauce

The hubby has spoiled me. I can’t eat canned pasta sauce anymore. He makes the best pasta sauce. He made this basic pasta sauce with fresh basil and I love it! No more jars for me! I occasionally make homemade pasta to go with it, but I admit, we still buy it most of the time.

Easy Homemade Pasta Sauce - IdlewildAlaska


I quit wearing make-up a couple years ago. My skin has been so much healthier ever since I did. My morning routine is much faster now too. I much prefer to keep my pores open and able to breathe. I’m quite thankful that the hubby prefers me without it anyways. No chemicals leaching into my skin now too!


I’m still working on finding an organic shampoo I like, but I’ve found my conditioner! I now use one of two things; either a tablespoon or so of lemon juice mixed with about 8 ounces of hot water, or the same ratio of apple cider vinegar and water. I love the effect on my hair. Between organic shampoo and my homemade “conditioner,” I’ve gone from having to wash my hair every other day, to twice a week. My hair is so much healthier and I love it!


Floor Cleaner

It took a while, but we finally got rid of all the old, nasty carpet and now we have beautiful hardwood floors throughout. I love it. I used to have a Bona floor mop with a built in sprayer. Once the Bona spray ran out, I made my own. I soaked orange peels in vinegar for a couple weeks, strained the peels and such out, and now use the vinegar to clean my floors. It does make the house smell like vinegar for a while, but once it dries, the smell is gone and my floors are shiny clean.

Laundry Soap

I LOVE making my own laundry soap. As opposed to spending $10-14 on a gallon or two of laundry soap, I make mine for less than $1 per batch. Not only is it cheap, but it works great too! Get my recipe HERE.

Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent - IdlewildAlaska


Is there anything you make from scratch that you used to buy from the store? Share in the comments below!

10 Things I Stopped Buying from the Store - IdlewildAlaska


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24 Responses to 10 Things I Stopped Buying From the Store

  1. Linda

    What a great list! We get most of our meat from farmers, and cook everything from scratch, but use produce from the store to do that. How do you manage to get eggs in the winter?? We’re in winter now in Australia and our chooks have just started laying again..we’ve been buying from the shops again :/

    • IdlewildAlaska

      Chickens stop laying in the winter due to less sunlight. I add a single 25 watt light bulb to each coop on a timer, so they get a minimum of 12 hours of “daylight.” They still slow down a little, but we still get eggs. 🙂

      • Linda

        Oooh ok, so do they then become like battery hens? They have altered lighting? I mean I’m sure yours have loads more room than the factory farmed hens!! Mine are totally free ranged all year as we dont have predator issues with kids and dogs outside most of the days…so I’m not sure I could manipulate their light. I’m,glad you found a way though!

        • IdlewildAlaska

          I only have a light in the coop. I would love to totally free range my hens, but between neighborhood dogs, bears, fox, ermine, eagles, hawks… I don’t dare. Battery hens are when they are either kept in cages, almost squished in, or even the “cage free” hens, which are in a large complex with barely any room, and never see real daylight. Those complexes usually have 24 hour lights. I be sure to give my girls a “night time.” They have a fenced in and covered run outside of their coop, so they have the ability to be outside all year long. If your’s have a coop, you can put the light in there on a timer for 12 hours. That might be enough.

          • Linda

            Oh yes! I think we could have a light come on in the morning while theynarebstill locked up, and again in the evening. I will try this next autumn/winter and see if we get more eggs!

    • Athena

      i make my own chap stick, lotion and laundry detergent. I also stopped buying paper towels and toilet paper, we now use one set of dollar store wash cloths for paper towels and another set for toilet paper. I also make my own bug spray (using essential oils that smell so much better than store bought and works great).

    • Della

      If you have the storage room for refrigeration you can save the extras since they can last for a couple months. Just a thought.

      • Linda

        I think we need more chooks heeheehee, we never have eggs left over :/ but if we do I will hang on to them. Do you know if the nutrition changes over time Della?

        • Terry

          The nutrition does not change . I start saving back some of the eggs that I sell when I know that the hens are getting ready to molt . Keep them in the fridge and use the oldest first. Have a large family so when the molt is about over we are using eggs that are a month old . No difference in color or taste either.

  2. kelly

    I just enjoy reading your posts so much ! and this one especially I can relate to I have stopped buying: chicken, pork, eggs, bread , zucchini, cumbers, lettuces, tomatoes, corn, peppers, potatoes, sweet potatoes, beans & peas .

    The cucumbers & lettuce We grow in the house in the basement in winter the lettuce is actually endive & does fairly well.

    It sure is a pleasure to grow all of these items and know where they are coming from & how they were grown ! That to us is so important & much healthier I might add.

    Thanks for always posting such interesting things & sending such beautiful picture’s of the area in which you live.

    • IdlewildAlaska

      Thanks for reading! I would love to extend our our growing season for more fresh produce, but haven’t got that far quite yet. Good for you!

  3. Hannah

    Very interesting list! My husband and I are making the plunge and moving to rural Alaska (we’ve been living in an urban area there). This was a neat read and a good brainstorming tool for me. I can totally see stopping my purchasing of make-up, BBQ sauce, etc. I’m curious about the conditioner though. I have very curly, thick hair, and every time I try to make the switch I find that my hair begins to form natural dreads. Do you find this recipe to be good at detangling and moisturizing?

    • IdlewildAlaska

      Oh yeah. I refuse to go back to regular conditioner! My hair is just as soft, if not softer, and I have no problem combing it out. My hair, however, is no where near naturally curly. I’ve discovered over the past few years is everyone needs to try a few things and see what works for them. Our hair is all so different! I really want to try some homemade shampoo bars, but I just haven’t got around to it yet. Homestead Dreamer is down in Ketchikan. She did a similar post a few years ago. Our lists are a bit different to give you a few ideas!

  4. Liz

    My list is similar. We hardly buy anything now, especially as we’ve given up processed foods for health reasons. I just need to figure out how to grow mushrooms 🙂

    • Linda

      You can get kits to grow mushrooms from boxes that have the soil ready to go, just add water! Right through to inocculants that you can put into logs and prepared woods to grow certain types of mushies

  5. Kelly Bueker

    I was reading about what you stopped buying at the grocery store and the words auto-matic jelly/jam maker. What! I said, there’s automatic jelly/jam maker and I’ve not been told about this wondrous invention. Click on the highlighted automatic jelly/jam maker and away to buy mine too! I am so excited. I read about how everyone loved that now they don’t have to stir, worry that a batch isn’t going to set, and won first prize with there jams. Sweet! Now I can empty my freezer. And I gave my husband last years blackberries to make wine. 5 gallon. That’s ok, I have enough from this year! Thanks so much!

  6. Terry

    I make a soap stew with castle soap and add EO for my shampoo . I use the vinegar rinse that you do . Have better skin and hair now.

  7. julie

    I make most of our breads; our garden provides 75% of our produce – both fresh and canned; and we have a Jersey that provides our milk, butter, buttermilk and a few soft cheeses. This year, I want to branch out and learn to make others, like cheddars, swiss and provolone. We depend on wild hogs (which are a serious problem around here); grow our own beef and chicken, and occasionally go fishing in the pond. I love your website!

  8. candy swart

    I use vinegar on my hair as a conditioner and baking soda as a shampoo. Amazing difference since I started doing that.

  9. Venera

    I make my own laundry soap and it does a wonderful job. I also use vinegar as fabric softener. The one issue I have is that the washing soda says not to use on wool and silk.

    I don’t have anything silk, but I do knit my own superwash wool blend socks for winter here in South Dakota. I still have the first pair I knitted. They are in the regular wearing rotation and are going strong.

    Does anyone know a soap recipe for woolens? Even though they don’t need it, I have been washing them by hand in cheap shampoo, but would love to find a better way to wash them.

  10. Jaclyn

    That’s ok, I wouldn’t want to stray from my hubby’s secret BBQ sauce, which is far superior 🙂 Love your other ideas tho!

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