I ventured into the DIY lifestyle a few years ago, determined to save money and help pay off debt. Over time, I found that it not only helped us save a lot of money, but that I also enjoy teaching others how to do their own natural DIY projects. I love helping others cut their budgets as they create a healthier lifestyle for their family.

Easy Ways To Save Money

Occasionally, though, someone will ask whether these projects actually save money:


“If I want to do this project, I need to buy a lot of supplies up front. In the end, I could just buy it cheaper from the store. So is it worth it for me to do that?”

My answer is an emphatic yes. While you could go out and buy, say lip balm, for less than it would take to make one batch, you’ll still have to go out and buy it again when you run out.

If you make a batch for yourself, though, you’ll not only have enough from that one batch to last you a few months, but the remaining supplies will allow you to make even more batches that you can keep, give, or sell, saving you a lot of money in the long run.

While this makes sense, it may still be a stretch to come up with the initial money for investing in these projects, especially if you’re doing this to save money. Don’t worry – you can still enjoy the DIY lifestyle.

Here are a few simple ways to make DIY more affordable:

1. Start Small

It’s tempting to jump into the DIY lifestyle and start making everything yourself. Fight the urge! Starting off with one project at a time not only saves you money, but it saves you the frustration of having several (potentially unfinished) projects at once.

Simple projects to start with would be homemade laundry detergent and dishwasher detergent because they mostly use the same ingredients (and you could potentially sell the extra).


2. Raise the Capital

I have a few family members who love the idea of using a more natural laundry detergent. However, they’d rather buy it than make it themselves. So, I offered to to make it for them for a little bit less than they would spend at the store and they happily agreed.

Doing this covers the cost of ingredients for their batch and mine, and gives me a little extra money to save for another project. (They’re also happy to buy other items like bar soap, lip balm and ointment).

3. DIY Parties

One person approached me the other day, concerned about the cost of all of the ingredients necessary for a DIY project. However, she offered a fun solution – DIY parties. I love this idea! Not only do you get to split the initial cost with a few different people, making your project much cheaper, but you also get to spend time with a like-minded community.

4. Get Free Ingredients

There have been several times when I’ve asked friends if they had a little extra of a certain ingredient I needed and they were happy to give it to me.

When I mentioned to a friend that I was going to make my own soap, but I couldn’t find the lye I needed, she happily gave me a small container of it. She said that she wasn’t going to use it anymore and asked if I wouldn’t mind giving her a bar or two of the finished project. Of course, I was happy to do so.

5. Create a DIY Budget

This is so simple but so effective. Create a budget for your DIY ingredients/materials. Mine is actually pretty small (about $30/month) because I buy items in bulk that don’t cost much and last a long time, so I only need to replace them every few months. Also, part of my budgeted gift money gets diverted into my DIY budget because I make so many gifts myself.

Any items that you sell, or money that you save by getting free ingredients can go into the budget for more costly projects.

What are some other strategies you employ to make DIY more affordable?


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Comments

  1. Diana says

    When I started out making laundry soap, the only thing I didn’t already have was the bar soap. Less than a dollar to buy that! Also, it kind of surprises me that people sometimes fail to realize you don’t have to make a full batch. You can cut the recipe down in order to see if you like it! I am so happy with my ‘make my own’ products! I get a kick out of walking right past the isles in the store full of expensive (poisonous) products I no longer have to buy! Forgive me for feeling a little ‘smug’. ;-) You guys rock!

    • Meg says

      I love your smugness, Diana! We are pioneers going backward in time–before corporations taught us how to love poison and pay too much. They took away our belief in ourselves. DIY is giving that back. Bless us all.

  2. Deb says

    Instead of giving gift cards for birthdays this year, I have already given four people homemade laundry detergent and wool dryer balls, along with the recipe, this website and other information I printed out. They loved the gifts, and at least 1 person has already made some homemade detergent to give to other people (and wants to learn how to make the dryer balls next)! Sometimes homemade gifts are the most appreciated and the least expensive. : )

  3. Ravens Trove says

    A few words: Recycle, Renew, Reuse! Most all my projects are made from rejects, thrift stores and salvaged materials. A great place to start is with what you already have or someone else is throwing away!

    I also did the dryer balls, a total investment of $6 for 6 big balls…. recycled wool from sweaters at the thrift store. This was about what I would call a “big budget” item as it’s one of the rare times I actually spent money. ;)

    • Gord says

      I keep to the Three “R’s” as often as I can, and have done so for years. A fairly recent opponent to the credo comes in the guise of our local dumps. They have become self conscious enough to believe that garbage is big money. There’s no more pickin’ at the dump! Now, I don’t mean kitchen garbage…I mean old lawn mowers and pumps and such. Things that one used to be able to forage parts from or restore in general. The metal pile now gets turned into new consumer items rather than used to repair perfectly serviceable old ones. Ah well, at least its getting recycled. Additionally, freecycle.com is a great resource for things that you might want to reuse or give away to have reused. There’s a freecycle chapter in nearly every city…its run as a yahoo group. I am from Ontario and there are active freecycle chapters everywhere. Just google freecycle (X) where (x) is your town…and sign up. Cheers, and giggles.

  4. says

    I have finished my first batch of homemade laundry detergent and loooooooooooooooove it. The fresh laundry smell is so good and the clothes come out softer than with purchased stuff.
    The idea of making it for gifts is a wonderful one and that is my next project.
    Thank you for sharing and this wonderful blog.
    The Kitchen Koach

  5. Kristy K says

    I have a bunch of recipes for DIY stuff I want to try saved. When I decide to make some things, I will pick things with some duplicated ingredients so I don’t have to buy a bunch of things for one result. For instance, my deodorant and snack bites and soap all contain coconut oil. My soap and muscle salve and dinner all contain olive oil.

  6. Charlotte says

    My 11 year old granddaughter walked down the grocery aisle where all the cleaners and detergents were. Her eyes started watering and her face broke out in hives. Talk about dangerous chemicals! Thank goodness for DIY!
    I have made laundry soap for her. I intend to make more beauty products but just haven’t gotten to it.

  7. Jan Largent says

    Can Baking Soda be purchased in larger than 1# boxes such as the ones I purchase in the baking supplies aisle of the grocery store?

    • LavandulaLady says

      My daughter has a 13 lb(!) bag of Arm&Hammer baking soda in her pantry; she got it at Costco.

    • Nina Nelson says

      I also get the giant bag from Costco. It costs about $6 in Central Oregon. Also, stores that have bulk buying sections will typically have baking soda, too.

    • says

      You should be able to get a 40# bag of baking soda from a rural feed store. People who have goats generally offer baking soda to avoid bloat. In my area, the 40# bag is about $15. Excellent for cleaning, definitely not for baking! :o)

  8. Mai says

    I have switched to using vinegar to clean most surfaces throughout my house. It feels so good not having to breathe in these harmful chemicals. Also, I love how inexpensive it is to purchase. I am able to get a 128 oz. container of vinegar for $1.79 on sale at most small and big chain supermarkets. I live in New York City and it helps being able to save on household products by buying in bulk.

  9. Mai says

    I love all of DIY Natural’s inexpensive cleaning recipes. It’s so affordable and easy to make. I have switched to using vinegar and castile soap to clean most surfaces. I live in New York City and it is very helpful to be able to save on household products. I am able to purchase 128 oz of vinegar on sale at most small and big chain supermarkets for about $1.79. That is much better than spending $4 on harmful chemical cleaners. Here’s a great couponing tip: I play a few quizzes on Recyclebank.com then use the points to get a $10 off $30 purchase coupon at Bed Bath and Beyond. I use that coupon to buy Dr. Bronners pure castile soap, which does not go on sale, in bulk.

  10. says

    I love this article! I’m trying to completely turn everything over to DIY, but it can be daunting! ;) This gives me some hope that it IS possible with proper planning and frame of mind. For now, I think you can rule the world with coconut oil, baking soda and vinegar…at least your own little world!! Thanks for the encouraging article!

  11. Erica says

    I can find almost everything I need in bulk, the one exception is washing soda. Any ideas on the best place to buy it? Thanks, I love your DIY recipes and your book.

    • Leslie T says

      Erica, you can make your own by baking your baking soda. Take your bag of baking soda, spread it all out on a baking sheet and pop it in the oven at 400 degrees for one hour.
      Homemade washing soda.

      • Erica says

        Thank you Leslie. I wonder if it is cheaper to by it or use the electricity to heat the oven @ 400 degrees for an hour. How thick can the baking soda be on the baking sheet?

    • Tania says

      I read that it can be purchased at a store stocked with pool maitainance items (sodium carbonate)

  12. Erica says

    It would be great to purchase it in bulk. Do you know if it is the same quality as say Arm and Hammer? I know that there are different grades of some things.