Making Things Isn’t Always Cheaper

tools on shelf

Making your own things, sewing your own clothes, or making gifts are often touted as ways to save money. After all, the thought goes, you can make something for less than it would cost to buy the item. Unfortunately, while making your own items can bring you many rewards, saving money isn’t always (or even usually) one of them.

For example, I needed a new bookcase recently. I didn’t need anything fancy, just something to tuck in a closet to give me a little extra shelving. I could have made my own. I have the skills, tools, and knowledge to do so. However, I was able to find a perfectly serviceable unit at Target for $20. There is no way I could have made a bookcase for that amo


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7 Responses to Making Things Isn’t Always Cheaper

  1. It’s time to add the factor of environmental impact to your bottom line of $$. Buying a shelf (or clothes or toy or tool) made in a place which pollutes the air, destroys animal habitat, or stupidly wastes the increasingly scarce fresh water resources is wrong. Making the item from responsible raw materials is right. Use reclaimed wood, buy consignnment clothes, 2nd hand books, resale electronics. Or at least buy them already made from a worthy source such as Patagonia (for outdoor gear).

  2. Denise A. says:

    I am a big believer in buying used goods. Not only is it generally cheaper than buying new or buying new materials to make something you usually end up with a one of a kind item. Sometimes I need to invest small amounts of money into refurbishing/repurposing an item, but not always. Even with the additional materials cost it is cheaper than buying new. If given enough time I get exactly what I want. Time is an important factor. If the purchased item is not needed for immediate use I have found it is better to wait for what I really instead of settling for just Ok.

  3. Wowitsawonderfullife says:

    Great comment from prettycheapjewelry!

  4. We try to make what we can ie: rain barrel from an old barrel, clothes line or buy second hand items that are of good quality and will last. I don’t see the need to buy new if we don’t need to. As for making things cheaper well it all depends on the product,time,cost and if it’s really worth it comparable to buying it in the shops. It’s not like it used to be we have so much at our disposal these days. Great post. Mr.CBB

  5. You make a great point in this post and I am a big believer of evaluating cost savings before doing something yourself. You briefly mentioned it, but the opportunity cost involved is also something to consider. You don’t want to spend 5 hours doing something that you could pay someone else to do in 1 hour…unless of course there is significant cost savings to DIY.

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