Nifty Thrifty Week: Day #1 with Crystal Paine

Whoo-hoo! It is Nifty Thrifty Week!!!!

Welcome to those who hopped over from my Proverbs 31 devotion The Boomerang of Blessing about how God took care of our young family financially when times were t-i-g-h-t! Please click here to read it.

(And if you feel a heart tug to give financially to a young family in need, please click here for the amazing story of a newlywed couple in our life who are serving God through a traumatic brain injury and in whose honor two of our friends are running the Boston Marathon TODAY!)

Now, all week long I am going to be featuring some of my favorite money-savvy, live-on-faith, save-so-you-can-give bloggers sharing ideas and really fabulous giveaways. (If you don’t want to miss a thing, please sign up to get my post automatically emailed to you by clicking here.)

We’ll start off the week with the ever-thrifty Crystal Paine from Money Saving Mom.  I don’t remember how I first crossed paths with Crystal in the blogging world but we have done some online ministry together and I finally got to meet her in person this past January. She is a wealth of money-saving information and ideas whose passion is to help other women save too.

Here today she is giving us oodles of recipes for making homemade mixes  AND giving away a $100 Baking Ingredients Kit from This prize will be staple ingredients plus some fun goodies to help you get started making your own mixes. (If you comment on this post you will be entered to win her prize. Winner will be drawn randomly and all of the week’s winner’s will be announced next Monday)

Okay fellow saving-wanabees… is Crystal!

Making your own homemade mixes is such a simple thing, but the majority of families who don’t cook and bake completely from scratch would likely save at least $8-$10 per month by making their own mixes instead of buying them pre-made.

Of course, if you typically get boxed cake mixes for pennies with coupons, you’re likely not going to save too much. But if you’re routinely paying for cookie mix, biscuit mix, pancake mix, taco seasoning packets, and more, you’ll save quite a bit. And every little bit adds up.

Homemade Instant Oatmeal Packets

Not only are homemade mixes themselves much more economical than buying them pre-made at the store, but they can also save you money by encouraging you to eat at home. If you have pancake mix already made or pizza dough in the freezer, you have fewer excuses to go out for breakfast or order pizza.

Homemade Mixes Can Save You Time

Take a little time on the weekend or some evening to mix together the dry ingredients for your favorite homemade cakes, muffins, brownies, cookies, or pancakes. Doing this ahead of time will cut your prep time in half or more — and make cooking and baking from scratch a breeze!

Homemade Mixes Are Healthier

Aside from the time and money saved, one of the big benefits of making homemade mixes is that you have full control of what you put into the mixes. You don’t have to worry about chemicals or other unwanted ingredients. This is also a huge plus if you are dealing with food allergies at your house.

Freezer-Friendly Pizza Dough

How to Get Started Making Your Own Homemade Mixes

If you’re new to cooking and baking from scratch, don’t try to make everything from scratch. Just pick a few recipes that you think you’ll love and start with those. If they don’t work or you don’t like them, move on to another recipe.

Pinterest is a loaded with homemade mix recipe ideas. You could even create a board specifically to pin homemade mix ideas on as you find them. You can see a few of my favorite tried and true recipes below.

As you find recipes that work well, keep making them and slowly add new ones. Eventually, you’ll hopefully get into a nice rhythm of always having a good supply of mixes and doughs made ahead of time and waiting in your freezer.

Homemade Baking Mix

Be Sure to Label Your Mixes!

Make sure to label your mixes clearly, though, so you don’t end up having the disaster I had when trying to make rolls for guests with what I thought was flour, but was actually pancake mix!

Recommended Homemade Mix Recipes

Freezer-Friendly Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

Homemade Instant Oatmeal Packets

Homemade Taco Seasoning Mix

Homemade Baking Mix

Freezer-Friendly Pizza Dough

Knock-Off Betty Crocker Brownie Mix

Homemade Pancake Mix

Glazed Cinnamon Scones (I’ve made the dry ingredients as a mix, or made the scone dough and frozen it.)

Freezer-Friendly Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

What are your favorite homemade mix recipes? I’d love to have you share them in the comments so I could consider trying them myself! Or, if you’ve never tried any before, tell us that too. All comments will be entered in the drawing for my giveaway. :)

NOTE:  The winner of the Lead Like Jesus giveaway is AMY: comment left April 12 at 7:31 am. Please send your home address to [email protected] so she can get you your prize!



  1. I love homemade baking mix (bisquick) because of allergies, but I am definitely encouraged to branch out!

  2. I need to start doing this more often, especially since there are allergies in our family and I’m always taking so much time in the grocery store reading labels.Thanks for the ideas

  3. I’ve made taco seasoning when out of the packets…. I’m trying to save wherever I can, so this is FABULOUS!

  4. I’ve made my own onion soup mix, taco seasoning and chili seasoning. I also make a mix to make my own cream soups. I have a gluten allergy that prevents me from using store-bought canned cream soups, so this has been a lifesaver for me!

  5. I LOVE to make freezer meals. However, I just don’t find myself prepare to prepare! lol One of our favorite things to make is homemade “Tombstone” frozen pizzas. We purchase a Jiffy pizza crust mix and a metal pizza pan from the Dollar Store. Make the crust and prebake it. Put on your favorite toppings and then wrap it with Tin Foil. Write on the foil what type of pizza. (1/2 pepperoni 1/2 cheese, etc) Place it into the freezer. I also put on the foil the baking times/temp in case my DH or a babysitter needs to cook them. Which is, by the way, 400 degrees F for about 15-20 min. It depends on the toppings you use. Just watch for when the cheese is starting to lightly brown. Easy Peasy as my DD would say!

  6. This is great information, I always make pizza dough but not been quite so good with cookie dough and other sweet treats. I do try to make bread though, its always nice to have a bit in the freezer.

  7. I made my chili mix, but I need to find a new one because although it was good, we still preferred the store bought mix. I have also made Crystal’s freezer pizza & cookie dough.

  8. I cannot wait to try some of these. I am trying to “eat clean” so knowing what is in my food counts. Thanks!

  9. I’m one of those who say, “I only have a kitchen because it came with my apartment” and my apartment kitchen barely has room for my imagination which is a huge deterrent in wanting to be in it LOL! This actually sounds interestingly fun to me though. I tried the pre-made cookie dough from the store one time and the cookies were so greasy they were disgusting so i never bought it again. I also like the idea that by making pre-made mixes they are much healthier and chemical free. I am going to try some of these even if the kitchen isn’t my favorite place to be LOL! For a bit of my background i am a disabled senior sharing my home with my cat Max and i didn’t inherit any of my mom’s domestic qualities. My dear sweet mom passed on 6 years ago so i try to bake for my dad now and then and when i do he knows it is truly an effort of love. Thank you for sharing these recipes with us maybe they will fire up my love of baking once again! Have a great day everyone!

  10. I make my own baking mix…but would love to start making my own ranch and taco seasoning mixes.

  11. I loved your Proverbs 31 story today. Really reminded me of the many, many times the Lord has provided for us. On the homemade mixes, I have been doing this for years and it is a real money-saver and time-saver PLUS you KNOW what is in the mix. I make a taco seasoning mix that is way better (and cheaper) than the ones I have bought in the past. I do a lot of “pre-cooking” like big batches of soup, pulled pork (easy-peasy in the crock pot), Mexican-seasoned chicken etc. There is just two of us and we don’t eat nearly the amount we used to eat plus we are getting so we don’t like anything salty-tasting. So many of the boxed pasta varieties are too salty to us now. Amazing how our tastes change as we get older (we are seniors). Anyway, these are great ideas here and nice to find you both. :)

  12. I should be making my own mixes since I stay at home……though I don’t. I’ll have to look into these and try them, especially the frozen pizza dough. I’ve always had a rought time with yeast until this past Christmas when I made cinnamon rolls. They turned out wonderful, so I’m hoping my luck has changed for the better!

  13. Homemade Pancake Mix:
    6 cups all-purpose flour
    2 Tbs baking powder
    1 Tbs salt
    1 cup dry milk powder
    1 cup shortening
    1 Tbs. sugar
    In a large bowl (or stand mixer), mix together flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and dry milk. Cut in (or use paddle attachment) the shortening until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Store up to 3 months. To make pancakes, just add water until its the right consistency (almost equal parts). To make waffles, also add an egg.

  14. I haven’t tried mixes before, but we do eat most everything from scratch here at home. Thanks for sharing these recipes. I’m sure as we have more children, time-saving recipes like these will be even more important to me.

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