Every year, too many consumers send hundreds of dollars if not more down the drain — at times quite literally — by buying household products that they could easily make themselves.
For example, they pay $2.99 or more for a bottle of all-purpose cleaner when they could use a 50/50 mix of water and white vinegar instead. It takes seconds to mix them in a spray bottle and costs just pennies on the dollar — making DIY all-purpose cleaner a no-brainer.
Following are several other everyday products that are easy to DIY for a fraction of the cost of store-bought versions so you can keep your household shipshape without your budget running aground.
1. Greeting cards
It need not be hard or time-consuming to make your own greeting cards for pennies on the dollar. We walk you through one simple method in “The 20-Cent Greeting Card.”
If it still seems like too much work for you, at least buy greeting cards at a dollar store. You’ll still probably save yourself a couple of bucks compared with buying them elsewhere.
2. Laundry detergent
When a former Money Talks News contributor tried making his own laundry detergent — see “3 Easy Ways to Get Laundry Soap for Nearly Nothing” — he noticed no difference between it and the commercial variety.
Well, he did notice one difference: It cost about 2 cents per load, compared with as much as 20 cents per load for the store-bought stuff.
Here’s how he did it:
- Grate 1/3 of a bar of cheap soap into a saucepan on the stove, add 4 cups of water and leave the heat on low until the soap is dissolved.
- Put 3 gallons of water into a 5-gallon bucket, and stir in the soap-and-water mixture.
- Stir in ½ cup washing soda (not baking soda) and ½ cup of borax. Keep stirring until the product thickens. Let it sit for 24 hours before use.
3. Dishwasher detergent
Here’s a way to cut the cost of dishwasher detergent to only 4 cents a load: Make the stuff yourself.
Erin Huffstetler, the blogger behind My Frugal Home, says it takes a few minutes to mix together washing soda, kosher salt, baking soda and lemon juice and then portion it into molds.
Huffstetler tells Money Talks News that it’s a simple process – and well worth a few minutes of your time.