Make homemade vanilla in minutes. It is totally simple and tastes better the longer you leave it to steep. What I like about it, is that you can generously use vanilla in recipes, without having to be so frugal, since it's also super inexpensive to make your own. The only drawback? It takes weeks to become all rich and vanilla-ish.(In fact, I just used this batch of vanilla today, August 7, over a month after making the vanilla in the above pic).
If you can swing it, buy some fresh-oily vanilla beans. The dried ones from the grocery store are just lame.
1 Glass jar with lid
5 or 6 fresh vanilla beans
Vodka or your spirits of choice