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27 Things I Make Instead of Buy to Save Money

Are you looking for ways to save money? You're not alone! It can be tough to keep up with when you have surprise expenses.  By changing some of our daily habits, my family started to make some of our household items instead of buy them to help use reduce waste, save money, and frankly because it can be more convenient. I added the items on this list bit by bit over the years. Please do not think you have to make everything all at once! Sometimes I don’t have to make more of something because I made a bit too much the first time and we are still going through it (looking at you Must Can All the Jam! bender a few years ago.) Other times, it’s a one and done kind of thing like sewing on a button, and sometimes I buy the item instead of making it (like yogurt) because I’m too busy with other life things to keep up with the supply and demand.   Save this list of money saving ideas to your Pinterest Boards for later! Share it with your friends!  In othe

18 Things I Do Not Buy

 Ten years ago I wrote a post about 12 Things I Do Not Buy  because I gave up using the item (or found a cheaper option, found a reusable for a disposable, or repurposed something to take its place.) Some folks thought some of the items on my list took too much time. Others said some of those items are not sustainable in the long run. I thought I’d do a little update on what changed, and what stayed the same.

As always, this is a list of ideas, not absolutes.

18 things I do not buy and 4 I started buying again
Save these money saving tips to your Pinterest boards for later! Share it with your friends!

1. Credit card interest. Although we have credit cards, we always pay off the balance in full when the bill is due. By paying off the balance in full each month, we avoid paying any interest charges.

2. Some commercial cleaners.I make a few of my cleaners. I know exactly what is in them and my house has never been cleaner!

  • Scouring powder – baking soda. When I change the box in the refrigerator, I use the old box to scrub the kitchen sink.

  • Counter cleaner– I still use vinegar and water in my kitchen, but it could potentially damage the stone counter tops I installed in my bathrooms. I use a portable steam cleaner similar to this onewhich practically pressure washes and autoclaves as it cleans.(Disclosure: I am including affiliate links for your convenience.)

  • Dusting Spray – This one is new. According to my allergist, a light spritz of water on a dust cloth works much better than scented dusting spray and is better for my allergies. He’s right!

3. Furnace filters – My Husband bought an allergy blocking reusable furnace filter (this is the exact one we have) because we change our furnace filter on the first of the month (in theory.) The only change is we now have two reusable furnace filters because it takes awhile for the filter to dry after rinsing it with water. Delaying the use of the HVAC in the is not huge deal in the summer but not something we want to delay during the winter!

4. Land line – This one transitioned from being a house that only used cell phones to having a required landline for my husband’s job and back to being a cell phone only house when my husband changed jobs.

5. Wrapping paper –I continue to use paper and cloth reusable gift bags in order to maintain my sanity. In fact, my sister-in-law liked the idea so much that I made her a set from fabric I bought during after-Christmas sales. I still use wrapping paper if I have to ship something but most of the time I use a reusable gift bag.

6. Dryer sheets and fabric softener – I use vinegar in the fabric softener dispenser in the washing machine, which doesn't damage it like traditional fabric softeners do, and it doesn't affect the performance of workout clothes and towels.I still use a couple of dryer balls (these dryer balls look like cacti!) in the dryer and now add several cloth squares with a safety pin attached to fight static cling without any damage to my dryer.

7. Bottles of carbonated water – We still make our own carbonated water with a Sodastream carbonated water maker (learn more about it here,) which not only allows us to have plain fizzy water whenever we want, but also helps reduce plastic waste from store-bought bottles. My husband likes to drink plain fizzy water all day every day while I stick to filtered tap water and the occasional DIY club soda and lime juice. Sodastream offers a discount on new CO2 cartridges when you recycle the old ones

8.Coffee filters –I still use this exact reusable cone coffee filter It’s supposed to make a better cup of coffee. I don’t know because I used a French Press like this one with this cloth coffee filter in my single gal life. I never used disposable coffee filters so I can’t compare. They have basket style reusable coffee filters (learn more here)and they even have reusable K cup cups here too.

9. Laundry detergent – I still make powdered laundry detergent because it is the only kind that doesn’t make my washing machine stink. This was another controversial item because folks claimed it took too long to make. Nope. I timed it. It takes me around 15 minutes to make several double batches of DIY laundry detergent to fill this repurposed protein powder container once every six months. As always, your mileage may vary depending upon the type of water, washing machine, and family size you have as compared to mine.

10.Razors – I still use this Panasonic Wet & Dry Women's Electric Razor for touch ups.

I bounced back to disposable razors and then to a safety razor. After slicing my legs too many times I was ready to ditch it and go back to the disposable razors that cost stupid money, until I learned about the Leaf razor here. The Leaf razor uses a pivoting head, unlike my disposable razors, and it has 3 safety razor blades (you can choose to use less) that don't slice my skin like the safety razor did. It is more expensive one time purchase for the razor but I probably would have spent that amount in a year on disposable cartridge razor blades so The Leaf will eventually pay for itself since safety razor blades cost pennies.

The Leaf comes in different colors. I chose a rose gold razor because I'm a girlie girl.

Not shaving at all would be even cheaper but that is. Never. Going. To. Happen. Ever.


8 New Things I Do Not Buy to Save Money and Reduce Waste


1. Most bottled water and soft drinks – My husband likes to drink plain carbonated water all day every day. I learned most sodas have an ingredient I’m allergic to so it was easy to give up. I keep several sports bottles of filtered tap water in the refrigerator to drink all day everyday. We might have a soda hen we are out and about but truthfully, we will probably have an adult beverage instead.

12. Disposable batteries – We use this set of rechargeable batteriesand never run out because we also have this exact battery charger that charges from AAA to D size batteries.

13. Soap (for now) – I made big batches when I was learning and experimenting with different hot and cold process soap recipes when I should have been making half or quarter the amount of soap. Oops! Well, at least we'll stay clean for a long time.

1>4.Disposable sandwich bags – I recently switched to using these exact reusable silicone zipper baggies for lunches. They are sturdy, leak proof, and easy to clean in the top rack of the dishwasher.

15. Plastic wrap – I hate that plastic wrap doesn’t stick to anything but itself so it wasn’t a hardship to use the storage containers we already had for leftovers in the refrigerator. If you have containers that didn’t come with a lid, you can use these silicone stretch and seal bowl covers instead.

16. Paper napkins – I found out we were going through tons of paper napkins every month because my husband used to grab a stack to clean the kitchen counters. That’s when we switched to using cloth napkins. I pop the dirty napkins into a separate laundry basket that is also used for towels. When the basket is full I do a load of laundry.

17. Disposable straws – When we started as historical entertainers, we couldn’t use disposable straws when we were performing (although now many of our fellow performers now use reusable straws like these) At home we used crazy straws like the mature adults we are until we fell out of the habit. We still have reusable straws, we rarely use them.

18.Kitchen sponges and scrubbies– I switched to using these reusable Skoy Swedish Dishcloths and Scrubbies to wash dishes because they are plastic free. Both the dishcloths and the scrubbers are made to be washed in the dishwasher or washing machine after use.

4 Things I Started Buying Again

1Paper towels. Our rescue dog is older and sometimes has accidents. Depending on where and what, I use paper towels or my Bissell SpotBot Pet Handsfree Spot and Stain Portable Deep Cleaner, which I can set and forget until it beeps(you can learn more about one of the best things I ever bought here.

To clean counter tops, I use old bath towels that I've cut to the size of a paper towel and sewed a quick stitch at the edges to prevent raveling. I keep them under the kitchen sink.  I use them once and pop them in a basket in the laundry room. When the basket is full, I do a load of laundry.

2. Shower cleaner – The vinegar in my DIY shower cleaner ate away some of the tile grout and had to stop using it. I now use The Pink Stuff Miracle Cleaner here and completely understand why it has a cult following!

3.Jet Dry – Using vinegar in the Jet Dry dispenser in my dishwasher ate away at a thankfully easily replaceable part. I tried going without but my dishwasher said No Way! I’m back to the any brand that is on sale stuff.

4. Gym membership – My husband’s new job has a gym he uses on his lunch hour or after work that has a small fee. It is totally worth it because it has probably paid for itself many times over in the health benefits because there are exercises (especially if it is injury prevention or recovery) that he can’t do at home.

What’s on your list?

 

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