Thursday, October 31, 2013

Thrifty Thursday - Buying vs Making

Welcome to week five of our Thrifty Thursday mini series! Today we will be talking about buying vs making. As in, does making things yourself actually save you money.

Just to give you a heads up, this is totally my opinion on this subject and I haven't actually backed much of it up with numbers. Since the cost of things vary so much from place to place, I didn't bother crunching the numbers. And let's be honest, I didn't feel like crunching the numbers. Although maybe I will start paying more attention now that I've written this post.

The point of this post is to get you thinking. Is it cheaper to buy a product/service or to make/do it yourself?

First things first, ask yourself if you can actually make/do whatever it is you're contemplating. It may be cheaper for you to make your own bread but if you aren't good at baking, it will probably end up costing you more. Same goes with a lot of other things such as knitting, painting, gardening, crafting, etc. I'm not saying you have to be a pro at it to do any of these things, but you have to be prepared for a learning curve and it possibly costing you more during the process.

Let's use the bread example again. In order to buy all the ingredients to make a loaf (or two) of bread, it will cost you way more than buying a loaf of bread. But you must also take into consideration that a lot of these ingredients will last you quite a few batches of bread. So in the long run, it will probably be cheaper to make your own. BUT, if you are just learning, your first few attempts at bread making may turn out to be flops and you actually waste money. Keep in mind though, that your skills will improve and you'll be making successful bread in no time.

Another thing to think about in the buying vs making debate, is if the time you put into making it is actually worth it. If you are crazy busy and don't have much free time, it probably won't be money-saving for you to spend half a day making bread. Sometimes, it's just not worth the amount of time and energy it will take to make/do said item. Time is precious too.

Lastly, there is always the question of health. Making your own bread may not always be cheaper but it may be worth it to you if you like to know what ingredients you're using. Or making your own laundry soap may be worth it to know there aren't 50 different chemicals in it. Get what I'm saying? Sometimes it's better to spend a little bit more for your health.

That's it for my rant on buying vs making. I know it was kind of all over the place but I'm in a slightly brain dead state of mind this morning. So I apologize for the post. I do hope it gets you to thinking though. It may not be a great tip but if it gets you thinking about what you can make instead of buy and ends up saving you money, then I have succeeded.

I want to keep this series fun and have a fun mix of handy daily tips and more broad budgeting tips. So please, if you have any questions or if you have any topics you want discussed, please let me know! I need some ideas or this series definitely won't be lasting until anywhere near Christmas!


Thrifty Thursday Mini Series

Week 1: Tracking Your Spending
Week 2: Monthly Budget 
Week 3: Just Say No
Week 4: Mini Emergency Fund
Week 5: Buying vs Making 
Week 6: Coupons 
Week 7: Debt
Week 8: Christmas Gifts 
Week 9: Thrift Stores 
Week 10: Finale  


  1. I agree that knowing what is in your food may be worth the little extra time and effort to make it at home--especially if you have the time!

  2. Knitting my own socks definitely does not save me any money! When the skein of yarn costs me anywhere from $15-20, I could easily buy a bag of socks at Sam's Club for that much. But the quality of the socks and the pure enjoyment of knitting socks is definitely superior to buying them. Great post!

  3. How about making big things, like a house? We built two big additions and a log cabin, even though I had no skills in that area and had to learn everything as I went along. I figure we saved 40% of the value we ended up with in each case. The other thing to say is how satisfying it is to learn the skills you need.

  4. What I mean to say is, don't be afraid to tackle big things!

  5. Jackie - I figured you would agree with me on that point. And I almost used the example of making your own cookies cutters as a time waster but I didn't. :P

    Janell - I'm totally with you on the knitting! It is rarely cheaper to knit your own stuff, since the yarn/wool can cost so much. But like you said, the quality and the delight are totally worth it.

    Furry Gnome - I have already said how impressed I am that you built parts of your houses and a log cabin. My Dad is similar, he built their house and 2 log cabins. But I'm sure most people would be intimidated by such a big project! Thank you for the reminder though that we shouldn't be scared to tackle big things too.