Frugal Living 

7 Dead Simple DIY Frugal Tips

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DetergentThere are a lot of “do it yourself” projects out there and with the internet, instructions are plentiful. Not all frugality driven DIY projects are created equal. We’ve talked about ridiculous frugality before but sometimes it’s hard to draw the line of what is ridiculous and what is actually worth our time. Now, not everyone can grow their own garden and not everyone can sew their own clothes… but there are a whole host of great frugal ideas out there that any novice can do and that is actually worth doing.

What qualifies as something you can do yourself? Anything I think I can do. 🙂

Cook Your Own Meals

The two biggest reasons my wife and I go out instead of cook our own meals (when we go out) are: 1) we’re tired and, 2) we’re hungry now. The answer to that is to have a few quick recipes in your repertoire that you can turn to in a pinch. And, when you want something exciting or fun to prepare, have a few exciting recipes you can make for entertainment too!

Making Detergent

Trent has a two-step, four-ingredient recipe for making your own detergent that seems like it would work (and costs you a tenth of the commercial stuff). If you believe that detergent is a mere four ingredients and takes just two steps, go for it. We’ve never tried this but we also don’t have room to store five gallons of detergent.

Make Your Own Beer

This particular tip isn’t “easy” but if you’re a connoisour of beer, this can save you money compared to buying good brews at the store. It’s also easy in that the steps are easy but the process itself is quite long. Here’s a very detailed tutorial on how to brew beer (and a ton of great resources too) but you can produce beer at a fraction of the cost even after you factor in the materials.

Growing a Garden

Growing a garden is one of the easiest and highest “return on time & money” things you can do. Growing many vegetables are easy (you cannot mess up peppers!) and the stuff you produce will beat anything you buy in the store. Once you grow your own garden, the grocery store will seem like a big waste of money. I liken it to color versus black and white television – your garden’s flavors are in full color while the grocery store produce will seem bland like blurry black and white television.

Raising Chickens

This is an idea that has popped into my head recently as we are moving to a place where it’s feasible (local laws here prevent the raising of hens where we live now) and as I talk to more and more people, it’s more common than you’d think. Raising hens isn’t difficult once you have a coop (and protect them) and you get plenty of eggs. We go through a lot of eggs now and having the fresh stuff is worth the extra work. We had fresh eggs while on our honeymoon in Hawaii and the eggs were magnificent.

Installing a Programmable Thermostat

It’s getting to be the winter months in the Northern Hemisphere and the respite offered by a temperate fall electricity bill will soon be replaced with heating bills that make most people cringe. Now’s a good time to invest in a programmable thermostat. “By automatically lowering the temperature inside your house by 5 to 10 degrees at night and when no one is there, you can cut your heating bills by up to 20 percent a year.” [MSNBC]

Change Your Car’s Oil

If you go to Jiffy Lube to get your oil changed, that’ll cost you $50-60 minimum. It’ll be quick, you’re done in 20 minutes, but you pay for the convenience. Why not try changing the oil yourself? It’ll take you probably an hour to do and you’ll spend quite a bit on oil and the filter, but it’s a good simple project you can do to be closer to your car. I used to routinely change the oil in my car because you can find deals on oil and filters all the time, plus you didn’t have to wait. While you’re at it, check your tire pressure and empty out that trunk.

For a lot of these DIY frugality tips, I think I’d try them once just to be able to say I did it. I don’t really see myself making my own detergent very often, but I’d like to try it at least once just to say I know how it’s done. The same goes for

(Credit: mankatt)

{ 11 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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11 Responses to “7 Dead Simple DIY Frugal Tips”

  1. I guess I really never thought of cooking as a DIY. But I can see how it makes sense. Don’t think my neighbors would be too happy with me growing chickens. LOL but it could save us a lot of money from eggs to chicken breasts.

  2. Aaron B says:

    Yeah, these can be frugal, but you have an interesting concept of “dead simple”.

  3. mannymacho says:

    I don’t know about $50 – I get coupons in the mail like every day or $20 oil changes. Buy 5 quarts of oil and a new filter, plus figure out how to get rid of the old oil and you’re basically there…

  4. Steve says:

    Go-to emergency meal..shrimp scampi. Keep frozen shrimp available, defrost in five minutes in running cold water and drain it, sautĂ© for two minutes with garlic (or powder), olive oil, butter/margarine for flavor, lemon juice or fresh squeezed from lemon (much better, like fresh garlic), boil some angel hair pasta in a few’re there. Good with a salad, maybe with buttered sliced crusty bread you also have frozen, bake in toaster oven. So simple a cave man can do it.

  5. Huskervball says:

    quick easy mail
    whole wheat spaghetti
    Ragu, Newman’s Own or whatever bottle spaghetti sauce

    Serve with salad and toasted bread

    Good and quick

  6. LSK says:

    We have been making our own detergent for over 4 years,same formula as listed, with no complaints. It does take a little time at first, but after the first few times it’s easy. Much cheaper than brand name.

  7. elloo says:

    You have to like eggs…a lot…if you raise hens. Or have friends who do. Don’t get a rooster…your neighbors will hate you. They do crow all day not just at dawn. None of these ideas are simple except for the jarred spaghetti sauce and boiling water concept of emergency food rations. The best frugal idea is to take a navy shower, but ugh. Who wants to turn off the water mid-shower?

  8. Chip W says:

    I agree with mannymacho on the oil change. I see coupons or deals for $20 oil changes all the time. Much less hassle and about the same cost as changing it yourself.

  9. Shirley says:

    I buy ground beef and ground sausage ten pounds at a time when they are on sale. I crumble cook them and freeze flat in ziplock bags of one pound each. They thaw in just a few minutes in the skillet and it’s so convenient besides being frugal for DIY and price.

  10. Shafi says:

    I used to change oil and filter in my car but it has been more than 6 years I haven’t done it. I know a mechanic. I bring my own filter and oil and he changes them.

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