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7 Dead Simple DIY Frugal Tips

There 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 [3] 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 [4] 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 [5] (and a ton of great resources [6] 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 [7]]

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 [8])