Tina Jordan
October 21, 2011 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Reese, a passionate cook, took a good look at her pantry a couple of years ago and thought, ”I bet it’s cheaper to make some of this stuff myself.” So she set out on an odyssey of bagel baking and beekeeping, acquiring two goats and a flock of chickens, turkeys, and ducks along the way. Some of her results weren’t surprising, like ”never buy your muffins and scones at Starbucks.” She saved the most money on everyday staples, though. ”You should make your own vanilla extract — it takes five minutes,” she says, as well as your own bread crumbs and croutons. ”Did you know that croutons cost more per pound than lamb chops?” But spend what you have to on ketchup and potato chips. ”You just can’t duplicate them at home,” she says.

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