No doubt it’s easier to go to the store and buy something than to make it with your own hands. There are a number of reasons to get into the DIY spirit, though. First and foremost, it’s possible to save a bundle by doing it yourself. But tackling a project instead of picking up an item off the shelf is also a way save money long term, because you’ll always know how to fix it and make another if need be.
Latex mattress. A high-quality mattress made of natural rubber can cost thousands of dollars. If you’re willing to do some research and put in the time, it’s possible to build your own version of a latex mattress for a third of the price. Renegade Health offers a tutorial using a latex pad, mattress cover and mattress pad. Before taking on this project, take some time to familiarize yourself with quality latex mattresses. Visit stores and test out the real thing to get a sense of what feels comfortable.
Sprinkler system. You don’t have to install an expensive in-ground sprinkler system to get a green lawn that’s the envy of the neighborhood. According the DIY website Instructables, anyone can rig up a sprinkler system with custom-length garden hoses and sprinkler heads on spikes that can be moved around in the yard as needed — and taken along should you move.
Speakers. A quality home audio system can bring movies and music to a whole new level of listening enjoyment. It’s no secret a good system purchased in store can cost hundreds of dollars. Popular Mechanics recommends that woodworkers (and those who have a drill handy) build their own speakers with wood planks for a quarter of the price of a store-bought version.
Coffee roaster. Few things smell better than the scent of fresh roasted coffee. True coffee connoisseurs know they don’t need to spend hundreds on a gourmet coffee machine or a pretty penny every month on already roasted beans. Wired suggests using a cheap popcorn popper as the base for a DIY roaster. (Beware: The process requires skill with a hammer and nails, wood, and a stovetop.)
Headboard. A bed headboard is one of those items that can be so easy to make, it’s almost embarrassing to buy one. With DIY options ranging from an old door to a wooden fence, the website DIY Crafts offers 40 inspirational ideas for making your bed extra dreamy for very few dollars.
Compost bin. Composting is an ideal way to handle the plethora of fall leaves everywhere, as well as reduce your carbon footprint. Instead of buying a bin, be a true recycler by using household items to create a composter. The website TreeHugger suggests using an old garbage can or plastic bin as a composter. Just drill some holes — and voila.
Pillows and cushions. A gorgeous accent cushion from a store like Restoration Hardware easily tops $60. Instead, spend a fraction of that amount and highlight your home with self-made cushions. The website Apartment Therapy suggests a technique for padding a window seat that employs scissors, staples and plywood sheets, which even the least sewing-minded folk can handle with relative ease.
Tasty candy. Admittedly, a bag of candy doesn’t usually cost a fortune. But making your own version of your favorite sweets is also cheap and possibly healthier (because you know what’s in them). A recipe for homemade gummy bears from the blog Simply Taralynn uses gelatin, fruit, a bit of sweetener and some juice.
Baby wipes. For anyone with a child, baby wipes are a necessity right up there with toilet paper and soap. Baby wipes range in price, but buying box after box week after week adds up. To save money, make your own (and forget about ever running out) with easy instructions from the blog White House Black Shutters. Paper towels, water, coconut oil, a bit of cleanser and plastic containers are all that’s needed.
Makeup. Get glowing without the exorbitant price tags and chemical ingredients that are part and parcel of so many cosmetics. A list of 22 do-it-yourself makeup recipes from the blog You’re So Pretty provides an easy, fun alternative. It’s even more cost-effective because you can customize the shades. No more buying a color and bringing it home only to see that it looks terrible without department store lighting.