4 Types of Products To Make Rather Than Buy in This Economy

by Andrea Norris-McKnight

Products To Make Rather Than Buy photo

Most of our budgets are feeling the pinch of inflation. How about a bit of wiggle room? Give DIY a try and save money making some of the following products rather than paying those high store prices.

Foods, household cleaners, bug spray, beauty products — all of these types of products have drastically increased in price over the past few years, along with everything else.

And many of the products in these categories can be made cheaper at home.

If inflation is strangling your budget, the following tips and recipes can help ease the strain. You might find that even after prices come back down a bit, you like your own versions of these products better than what you can get at the store.

Cleaning Products

When it comes to household cleaners, it is cheaper to make them than buy them in most instances. The only store-bought exception that you might want to keep on hand is a disinfectant cleaner. Whether someone in your home has a cold or you want to sanitize your kitchen counters, having one disinfecting cleaning product in your house can be beneficial. Pick up a bottle when it is on sale, or you have a coupon.

Here are three commonly used cleaners you can mix up with ingredients you likely already have on hand. Remember to use caution with cleaning recipes. The following recipes call for ammonia which should never be mixed with bleach.

Generic Glass Cleaner

1/2 c Ammonia (sudsy or clear, Your choice)
2 c Rubbing alcohol
1 tsp Water
1 tsp Dishwashing Liquid

In a gallon container, put in the ammonia and rubbing alcohol. Fill almost to the top with water. Add 1 tsp dishwashing liquid and mix. Top off with water. Use in place of Windex or any other general-purpose spray cleaner.

All Purpose Cleaner

1/4 cup baking soda
1/4 cup household ammonia
1/4 cup white vinegar
3/4 gallon of warm water

In a gallon plastic jug, combine all ingredients and shake well. Pour into a spray bottle for use.

Tile and Grout Cleaner

1/2 cup baking soda
1/3 cup household ammonia
1/4 cup white vinegar
7 cups warm water

Combine the ingredients in a one gallon plastic jug, cover, and swish to mix. For small jobs, fill a pump bottle with the solution, spray directly onto the tile surface, then wipe with a damp sponge.

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Convenience Foods

If your family has a busy schedule, having frozen foods and other pre-made products or individually packaged products on hand can make it much easier to get a meal on the table or a lunchbox packed. And yes, these products do save you the cost of ordering out or running through the drive-thru a few times a week. But you can save a lot more money if you can carve out some time to stock your freezer with home-cooked frozen meals or make your own serving-size items.

Consider these simple ideas for stocking your kitchen with convenience foods:

  • Cut block cheese into sticks rather than buy pre-packaged ones.
  • Make one casserole and divide it into single-portion servings and freeze, or save one serving per meal and freeze.
  • Keep pre-cooked ingredients in the freezer to pull out for quick meal prep; browned beef, cooked rice, and mashed potatoes are all items that freeze well for making quick meals.
  • Make up your own dry baking mixes and store them in air-tight jars rather than buy boxed ones — think cake, pancake and bread mixes.

You can start paying attention to the convenience foods you often buy and then think about which ones you can make yourself.

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Beauty Products

Unless you have very sensitive skin, you might want to try replacing some of your store-bought beauty products with homemade versions. You can find plenty of recipes online, or start with some of the recipes in these articles:

Pest Control

If you have a major bug problem, you might still want to consider an exterminator. But for ants in the kitchen or the occasional roach, you may find DIY pest control much cheaper and safer for your family.

Whether you have spiders, ants, fleas, roaches or some other type of insect invading your home or yard, you can likely find an effective home remedy that will eliminate the problem. Give these recipes a try:

Ant Control

2 cups of sugar
1 cup of water
2 tablespoons of borax

Place all ingredients into a saucepan and bring to a boil (while stirring). Boil for three minutes. Using a jar lid, place it in the affected room or outside where the ants are. They will find the sticky liquid no matter where it is placed. The ants eat this and then take it back to their nest. Before long, there will be no more ants as this mixture will kill them.

Roach Relief

In a bowl, mix together:
12 ounces of boric acid (powdered kind only; available at grocery stores)
1 cup of flour
1/4 cup of sugar
1 chopped onion or an equivalent amount of onion powder
1/2 cup of shortening

Add enough water to form a dough. Then, shape the dough into balls and place them throughout the house. Of course, put them out of the reach of little hands and pets.

What Products Will You Make Rather Than Buy?

Some of these products might take you a little time to whip up, but it is worth the money you can save. And this list is just to get you started. With a little thought you can likely think of a number of other things that you use that you can make rather than buy.

Reviewed December 2023

About the Author

Andrea Norris-McKnight took over as the editor of The Dollar Stretcher and After 50 Finances after working under the site founder and previous editor for almost 15 years. She has also written for Money.com, GOBankingRates.com, HavenLife.com and The Sacramento Bee.

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