If there’s one thing that we learn as we start down the path of independence, it’s that we pay WAY too much for everything. Once I started doing things for myself and trying to find ways to make things instead of buying them, I became a money-saving junkie. I’ve also learned to think outside the box and to approach any task with a can-do attitude. Now I’d like to share 15 of my favorite things to DIY in order to save money.
Unclog Your Own Drains
Plumbers are uber expensive and difficult to get to your house in less than a couple of weeks, unless you want to pay the emergency fee. Most clogged drains are easy to clear if you just have a snake, a pair of pliers and a screwdriver. This likely won’t take more than 30 minutes.
YouTube how to clear your particular type of drain and congratulations! You’ll have saved yourself a couple hundred bucks and won’t have to deal with the clogged sink or tub for two weeks while waiting on a plumber.
Mow Your Own Lawn
OK, so mowing the grass and trimming the bushes is a hot pain in the patootie but do it anyway. It’s an excellent form of exercise, you’ll have the pleasure of admiring your own handiwork and you’ll have pocketed the significant cash that you’re throwing at the lawn guy every week.
Clean Your Own Carpets
The steam cleaners that you rent at your local grocery store are just as effective as most of the carpet cleaning crews out there and will only cost you about $40, soap included. That’s a pretty big savings when you look at what commercial cleaning crews are charging, plus you won’t have strangers traipsing through your house.
Hang Your Laundry
Running the dryer constantly runs your electric bill up pretty quickly and also puts a lot of wear and tear on your clothes. By running a laundry line either outside in the summer or inside in the winter, you’re saving money on both your electric bill and clothing expense!
Use Hand Towels Instead of Paper Towels
No brainer but you’ll be surprised how much you save.
Refurbish Used Furniture
You’d be amazed at how fabulous you can make an old table or dresser look with just a bit of elbow grease and some paint or stain. I find stuff at yard sales or at thrift stores then bring it home and clean it up. Especially if you’re careful to pick up quality solid wood furniture, you’re going to save a ton of money and have a product that will serve you well for years. Plus, your friends will want to know where you got it!
Kitchen Compost Bucket
Fertilizer is expensive and those food scraps are going to be tossed anyway, so compost them! Many cans cost well over $50 in the store but you can make your own for basically nothing.
Simply use any size plastic bucket from a coffee can to a 5-gallon bucket. Drill some holes in the lid and glue a charcoal filter (the kind used for fish tanks) over the holes from the inside. Voila – a homemade compost bucket that you can keep right under the sink.
Grow Your Own Herbs
I confess, I love fresh basil but the stuff is stupidly expensive when you buy it in the store. I was paying $3 for a little pack of it. Finally, I decided to grow my own herb garden. I grow basil, thyme, chives, rosemary, oregano and a few others that are eluding my memory right now. I started them from seeds and had about $15 invested in the entire project. Now I just pick it as I need it and I know that I’m not eating fertilizer and pesticide along with the herbs.
For years, this was one of my biggest expenses. Then I realized how many chemicals I was breathing and decided to start making my own. Now I clean my entire house with products that contain only basic ingredients such as vinegar, baking soda and essential oils.
Make Your Own Cosmetics
There are a million and one recipes out there for making your own shampoo, conditioner, lotion and face creams. One of my personal favorites is plain old coconut oil as a body moisturizer. No chemicals and the stuff works wonderfully.
Making your own cosmetics is a bit expensive but not in comparison to what I was paying for fancy face creams. You may find that the ingredients are a bit pricey up front but you can make so much from what you order that you’re saving money in the long run. And you’re avoiding chemicals!
I like to spoil our dogs but the cost of store-bought treats was getting out of hand. In addition, one of our dogs began developing allergies so we had to be careful what he ate. I found a recipe for dog treats that only calls for these ingredients:
- 2 ½ cups oat flour (I make my own in the food processor because it’s much cheaper)
- 1 egg
- 1 cube Beef or chicken Bouillon dissolved in ½ cup hot water
Mix it together and shape into biscuits or shapes if you’d like. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until they begin to brown. Cheap, easy peasy and chemical-free. Feel free to toss in bacon, cheese or other yummies that your pet loves.
I’m a coffee addict and my coffee shop budget was beginning to exceed my mortgage payment. I’m also not much of a morning person so I had a bit of incentive to find a way to make my favorite morning brew without dropping the $4.50 or getting dressed. Here’s a fabulous latte recipe but beware that I like mine strong so you may want to reduce the espresso or just use regular coffee with a splash of cream:
- 1/4 cup espresso
- 1 cup hot milk
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (cinnamon works beautifully too!)
If you like mochas, try using hot chocolate mix or 1/2 tsp of cocoa and 1 tsp of sugar in place of the honey and spice.
Make Your Own Deodorant
I came up with this recipe one day when I was searching through the web looking for something that would help me stay fresh without smearing aluminum under my arms. It’s super-simple to make and is extremely effective, even in the Florida heat. Just mix 1 tablespoon coconut oil with 1 tablespoon rubbing alcohol. Sometimes I’ll drop in a few drops of essential oil just to make it smell good.
Smear it under your arms when you get out of the shower or when you want to freshen up. If you want something portable, skip the coconut oil and just use the alcohol with the oils in a small spray bottle. It kills the germs that cause body odor.
I love this site. It’s a community of people looking to trade or get rid of items that are still good but that they no longer want, and they’re all free. Just do everybody a favor and don’t always be a taker – share some of the goodies that you don’t want anymore, too.
These are just a few things to DIY in order to save money and I have an additional list as long as my arm, but alas, there’s only so much space on a page. If you have some money-saving tips that you’d like to share, please do so in the comments section below!
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by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia