18 People Share Items That Are Cheap to Make, but Expensive to Buy

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Sticking to a budget is hard. But once you see this AskReddit thread about how many things are WAY cheaper to make/manufacture than they are to buy from the store, you might get inspired. From food to medical items, here are 18 items that are expensive to buy, but cheap to make.

1. Eyeglasses.

There’s like a 300% mark up. I used to work at an eyeglasses store and your getting ripped off period but especially if you shop at big corporations like Lenscrafters. They charged double the price for the exact same lenses the family optical i worked for sold. Just because they could, tell ppl bs about their quality over competitors but the lenses all come from the same manufacturer. They will also upsell you on more expensive lenses you don’t need. Typically called hi-index lenses but they might put some fancy name on it like super thin or lightweight or bs but fact is you don’t need thin lenses unless your prescription is higher than like a +3.00 or -4.00.

So where do I shop now? Online lol. You can get the exact same brand name frames as you see in store for half the price. Just make sure your shopping at a legit online store… As for lenses they’re honestly all coming from the same place.”

2. Dinner.

“At least where I live, the difference between going out and eating at home is BIG. You can save A LOT of money by cooking. The only problem is the time sink.”

“Well, it’s cheap to make at home. The restaurant industry has very thin margins outside of booze.”

3. Herbs.

“Not sure if this counts, but growing your own herbs (basil, parsley, etc) is way cheaper than buying at the store. The plants are easy to grow, can be kept inside, and instead of spending 5 bucks on a jar of seasoning at the store, you just pluck off a couple of fresh leaves when you need them.”

4. Explosives.

“Afghanistan taught me that. Just about everything you need can be easily scrounged up from a nearby moped. It’s actually terrifying.”

5. Soda.

“Soda at a restaurant or fast food place, that $2-4 dollar soda costs pennies.”

“Guy who owned a pizza place told me that he made all his money off the soda.”

6. Beef jerky.

“Get a dehydrator and go to a butcher and get thinly sliced top round. You can make pounds upon pounds for less than a quarter of what you’d pay for a single pound of commercial jerky.”

7. Insulin.

“Cheap to make. Expensive to bring to market. The FDA fucks us on this. There are no generics because insulin can’t be generic.”

“If you’re American. You get it for free in normal countries.”

8. Candles.

“Super cheap to melt your choice of wax and add essential oils for scent. Also makes a great homemade gift…”

9. Saline.

“Bags of saline in hospitals. It’s about one dollar to make, bag and all, but american hospitals/ ambulances charge anywhere from $100-$500 PER BAG.”

10. Kombucha.

“Once you have the SCOBY (the bacteria/yeast culture), it’s literally pennies for tea and some sugar. They sell it for $6/500ml though.”

11. Furniture.

“Furniture. It has an incredible markup from manufacturing. The same is true of mattresses, hence why so many startups are disrupting the space.”

12. Fudge.

“I made so much fudge for Christmas gifts this year, it’s expensive in a candy shop.”

13. Hard candy or caramels.

“Hard tack candy. Make a butt load of it for work and they think I spend a lot on it.”

“Same with caramels. I make a few batches every year for Christmas and people rave about them. To the point where my family starts asking at Thanksgiving when I’ll be making them. $30 in ingredients makes me 4-5 batches, each of which makes 80-100 caramels.”

14. Batteries.

“Those things cost pennies to make and sell for dollars.”

15. Pesto.

“Buy a big bunch of basil during the summertime at the farmer’s market. Make pesto by basically just processing basil, nuts, cheese, and olive oil in the food processor. Freezes spectacularly well if tightly wrapped.”

16. Limoncello.

“Alton Brown has an excellent recipe for limoncello (they’re all about the same): zest about 10 lemons, put said zest in a jar with 750 mL of 100 proof vodka. Let it sit for about a week, gently agitating the jars every day. After a week strain out the zest and add ~1 cup of simple sugar solution. Makes for great Christmas presents.”

17. Designer clothes.

“For example,a Louis Vuitton bag is priced between 800%-2000% from it’s manufacturing cost. So,the cost to manufacture the bag could be around $200-$400 with retail price ranging around $1500-$40,000.”

18. Hot sauce.

“I stopped buying Frank’s and Tobasco when I learned how to make my own. Simply buy chilies. Brine that shit in vinegar and sea salt or regular salt. Chop the chilies and throw that in the brine. Leave for a week or two. Take it out, strain out the brine and blend the chilies for every two parts use 1 cup of brine, bottle that shit and flex when your girl’s dad calls you over for his BBQ…The amount of sauce you get is totally worth it, especially cause it’s cheaper. You get more control on the ingredients that go into it, and you could totally experiment like a college freshman.”