When you’re having a no-spend month you’ve got to get creative when you want or need something. We’ve talked about lots of great ways to get free (useful) stuff, and how you can borrow things instead of buying them. Today we’ll discuss how you can make things that you want and need instead of buying them!
Whether you’re a DIY diva or a creative klutz, there are many things that you can give up buying and make instead!
What are some of the reasons that people choose to make things instead of buy them? Here are some of the reasons I thought of:
- Fun– You get a creative thrill!
- Customize– You pick your own ingredients, design, size, color, etc.
- Because you can— There’s just something cool about being self-sufficient
- Save Money– Some things are cheaper to make than to buy (but some aren’t).
We are going to focus on what we can make to save money. Particularly, we will focus on what we can make so we don’t have to buy something.
Here is a non-exhaustive list of some of the things I have made instead of buying. I’d love to hear what you’ve done in the comments. You can leave a link if you blogged about it.
I’ve written a lot about cooking from scratch, so I won’t go in to great detail here. There are some food staples that we’ve pretty much given up buying in favor of making ourselves: yogurt, beans, tomato products (tomato puree, canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, etc), brownie mix, pancake mix, and bread. We also grow a garden, so we “make” our own produce for much of the year.
Home Cleaning Products
Pinterest is full of DIY cleaning products that really are money-savers. In fact, with just white vinegar and baking soda you can pretty much clean your entire house! Vinegar and baking soda are pretty dirt cheap.
I also use homemade laundry detergent and homemade dishwasher detergent. Because I have been making them for a long time, I keep the ingredients on hand and I never have to buy commercial laundry detergent or dishwasher detergent!
With the price of fabric these days, sewing doesn’t necessarily save money. I have a knack for getting fabric free or cheap though, so I’ve sewn many things instead of buying them. I especially like making dresses for my daughters (though I haven’t made any yet for the baby). I often make ties for my boys that match.
Personal Care Products
Once again, Pinterest has your back on this one. You could spend your entire day reading blog posts about making your own personal care products.
There are some personal care products too, that while fun to make, don’t really replace something I would buy. A few years ago I learned to make sugar scrubs, which are easy and feel really nice, but they were just an addition to my current routine, not a replacement for something I was buying.
On the other hand, my recent post on homemade deodorant does replace something that I would otherwise be buying. Of course I had to buy a couple ingredients the first time I made deodorant, but they should last me a while (as in, I will be making it for my grandchildren a few decades from now).
Toys and Gifts
We keep gifts for Christmas and birthdays pretty simple. Our kids are young and we want to keep the holidays simple and meaningful. One way we keep them special is by giving handmade gifts. Whether they’re sewn or built from wood, we try to put love and effort into gifts.
When my oldest was three I wanted to get her a play kitchen. I found a tutorial for repurposing a nightstand into a play kitchen. My husband and I worked together to make a play kitchen out of some furniture we got for free. It has become a special treasure that traveled across the country with us.
When my husband was initially setting up his law office, he had some bare walls. I used a canvas that I already had at home and made some DIY modern art. I used different-size round caps or lids and dipped them into a plate of acrylic paint. Super easy, but I like how it turned out.
If you’re on Facebook, I imagine you’ve seen the meme that says some variation of “I could have bought this for $7.99 but instead I spent $63.84 on supplies and made it myself!” Any crafter will admit that they have done that before, which is why I want to emphasize: just because you make it doesn’t mean it’s cheaper.
Lots of DIY projects cost money for supplies and consume time to complete. That’s fine if that’s your plan, but if your reason for making something is to avoid the cost of buying it, then be careful.
How about you?
- Why do you like to make things (it doesn’t have to be to save money)?
- What have you made to avoid buying something?