How to Save Money Through Self-Reliance

How to Save Money Through Self-Reliance
Written by Irina Vasilescu

If you’re sick of looking at the same wall color on your living room but you don’t have the budget for a major remodeling project, wouldn’t you use a DIY or do-it-yourself approach to repaint the wall and rearrange the furniture? Not only is this cheaper, but the fact that you did the remodeling yourself will make you feel proud about how the room would end up looking.

The same thing applies to pretty much every other aspect of your life that you need to set a budget for. Instead of hiring a professional to do the job for you, you can buy or even make the materials yourself and invest in some elbow grease to get the job done. Here, we will take a look at the different ways that you can save money through self-reliance or DIY solutions.

A Variety of Ways to Save Money Through Self-Reliance

Before counting down the reasons why it pays to go for DIY or self-reliance solutions, let us take a quick look at the top reasons for doing so.

The number one reason why it pays to be more self-reliant is that you can get things done more quickly. If you’ve just moved into a new place and you have no contacts for a handyman, you can eliminate the wait time by painting the walls yourself. If you need extra manpower, all you have to do is ask for the help of a friend or a neighbor who can help you finish the task.

Second, you will save a lot of money in the long run. If you had a plumbing emergency, just imagine how much you would have to pay for the services of a plumber to fix the problem for you. If you can go for a DIY solution, you will be saving a lot of time and money in the process.

Third, as mentioned earlier, there is a certain sense of accomplishment that you will feel simply by getting things done using your own hands, brain and sweat.

Now, here are the numerous ways for you to save money through self-reliance:

1. If possible, downsize your home

According to the US Census Bureau, in 2012, the average home built had an area of 2,505 square feet. For small families with one or two kids, this is larger than necessary. The bigger your house is, the more expensive it is to build, heat up during the winter, cool down during the summer, and maintain on a day-to-day basis.

Even if you’re an above-average earner, you will be doing yourself, your family and the environment a huge favor by downsizing your home. The smaller your home is, the lesser its carbon footprint. So if you’re at that stage in your life when you are considering a move, do try to downsize your home to something that’s less grand but can still perfectly suit your needs as an individual or as a family.

2. Self-study being a plumber and electrician

When there’s a plumbing or electrical emergency in your house, do you have a plumber or an electrician on call? If yes, you could be spending a lot of money for the privilege. Although it does pay to rely on professionals when having problems inside the house fixed, you can just as easily perform do-it-yourself solutions.

Go online and look for tutorials on how to change leaky pipes or how to perform some of the basic duties of an electrician. Another important thing to remember about this is that prevention is always better than cure. Instead of desperately calling for the help of a plumber during water-related emergencies, performing some maintenance tasks which you can do yourself will prevent such problems from occurring in the first place.

If you have a friend who’s a plumber or an electrician, you might want to trade services for them to be on call whenever you are encountering problems inside the house.

Sew, knit, crochet or at least repair your own clothes

There’s nothing wrong in buying ready-to-wear clothes or even designer items for special occasions. But if you would like to save money, why not sew, knit or crochet your own clothes? Pick up a guidebook or go online and get the tools that you need for knitting or crocheting. During your spare time, you can knit a sweater, crochet booties for your baby or even outright saw your own clothes.

If you don’t have the knack for such hobbies, you can simply repair your own clothes. Learn how to sew a mean stitch to repair holes on the armholes of your favorite shirt, or sew a button using your own two hands. Doing so will prolong the life of your clothes and save you a lot of money in the process.

Make your own household cleaning products

Both small and big households spend a lot of money buying household cleaning products. Instead of relying on store-bought items, you can simply mix your own solutions using items that you already have in your kitchen and use them as a substitute for commercial household cleaning products.

For example, you can mix half a cup of vinegar and one-fourth cup of baking soda with half a gallon of water to make an all-purpose cleaner. This is natural, non-toxic and cheap. The solution can be used for cleaning shower stall panels, bathrooms, floors, etc. If you would like to have that clean smell, simply add essential oils, lemon or lime to the mixture.

Baking soda, lemon, Borax, Isopropyl alcohol and corn starch are the other kitchen items that you can turn into household cleaning products.

Make your own products for body care

Using water, beeswax, edible and essential oils, you can actually concoct your own body care products like lotion, shampoo, soap and even perfumes. Go online and look for recipes so that you can make your own natural body care products.

Make your own fertilizer

If you have a garden in the front lawn or backyard, you can make your own fertilizer through composting. Dig a hole and layer soil with biodegradable kitchen wastes. As you put the soil on top of the waste, the mixture can be used as a natural fertilizer for whatever it is you’re growing in the garden.

Brew your own coffee

If there’s a Starbucks store on your way to work, you might be relying on it too much to get your daily coffee fix. Although there’s nothing wrong with grabbing a fancy latte every now and then, the cost of your daily stop here would add up to a lot on a yearly basis. Instead of grabbing a cup of Joe to go, you can simply brew your own coffee.

Buy a decent coffee bean grinder, coffee machine and a traveller’s mug that will keep the coffee hot when you’re out and about. You can enjoy the beverage at a fraction of the cost that you would pay on a Starbucks Venti, so the investment on the coffee making equipment is well worth it in the end.

Make or grow your own food

Even if you have no natural inclination for cooking, you might find yourself enjoying the task if you put your mind to it. Making or growing your own food will make you more self-reliant while allowing you to save money at the same time. Those who have an affinity for baking would find out that baking bread from scratch is actually less expensive than buying a loaf from the store.

You can even enjoy that mouth-watering smell of freshly-baked bread in the kitchen if you make your own. You can also make your own preserved fruits or jams depending on what’s in the season.

Even if you don’t have space for it, you can use a windowsill to grow herbs that you can use for cooking. If you do have enough space, grow your own fruits and veggies so you don’t have to run to the store every time you need a couple of tomatoes or a few chilies for your pasta recipe.

Use the great outdoors to keep yourself fit and healthy

Instead of paying for pricey gym membership fees, use the great outdoors to keep yourself fit and healthy. You can swim, run, jog, bike, hike or simply walk outside and enjoy a good dose of vitamin D.

Do your own home renovations or repairs

From painting to furniture rearranging, there are home repair or renovation projects that you can easily do yourself. It costs a lot to hire the services of an interior decorator.

If you don’t have the natural flair for decorating, go online and look for ideas that you can use for your own home. You can also learn how to use power tools so that you can make repairs or build stuff for the house, including small or big furniture pieces.

Take free online courses to improve your knowledge and skills

With the advent of the Internet, you can easily take free online courses to improve your knowledge and skills. The certification that you can get from sites offering free online courses will give you the freedom to study the topics at your own pace, and at your own time.

Take full charge of your home’s energy usage

Lastly, take full charge of your home’s energy usage. Almost half of your home’s electricity usage comes from heating and cooling, so make sure that you have an efficient heating and cooling system.

You can also use power strips to get rid of phantom electricity which is consumed when electrical appliances are put on standby mode instead of completely turned off.

Make everyone in the family aware of what you are doing to conserve electricity and water, so that they can follow suit.

Being self-reliant will not just save you time and money, but will also give you that sense of having accomplished something using your own skills, manpower and knowledge.

About the author

Irina Vasilescu

Irina Vasilescu is our crafty designer. She joined the team three years ago and is also involved in the writing process.


  • I love the principle of taking more control over your environment. A lot of times we abdicate responsibility out of ease, but it costs money. Not only does this approach help save money, it also empowers individuals. To me, upskilling and adding value to your environment is a great money generator in itself.

  • So moral of the story is that if you don’t have to money to make change, using do-it-yourself methods can not only be empowering, but it can be rewarding and creative. The whole article is a great read. It should have more people who want to save money relying on their own skills to do it.

  • It’s amazing how much a DIY attitude can save you money and get you the things you can’t afford otherwise. If you do any sort of household project on your own, then you’re saving on labor and material costs. Creating your own household cleaning products and other items often costs less than buying them at the store. DIY isn’t overrated because it produces the results that helps homeowners save money.

    • While I agree that the empowering mentality of DIY can be really useful, I also find that without a sufficient amount of skill or at least understanding, it can be a financial detriment. There have been occasions where I thought I would be able to save some money on beef jerky by building my own jerky drying rig, and even found detailed instructions online.

      I ended up buying all the parts I needed and spending a few hours getting everything going. Ultimately, the rig was awful and didn’t work effectively at all and resulted in me wasting an afternoon and some money on the parts.

      Just a word of warning!

  • Self-learning is a great way to both reduce your financial burdens as well as legitimately increase your worth. Simple computer repair is a great way to save yourself a bunch of money, as many shops will charge somewhere in the neighbourhood of $100/hr just to do some virus removals, or maybe “speed your computer up”. Even just these two tasks have a multitude of guides online, ready to walk you through step-by-step if you’re simply willing to set aside some time.

  • Awesome tips! A lot of people don’t realize how the necessary services that we pay for every day can actually be the key to saving money if we learn to do certain things ourselves. A lot of the different things we pay other people to do are actually luxuries and are simple enough to do without assistance. It’s amazing how much money could be saved if people just took a bit of initiative.

  • Very nice article! I would also like to mention doing your own computer repairs. I’ve seen so many instances of people taking their computers to shops to get them fixed and paying $50-100 bucks just for fixing. Guess what they do? They just google the problem and solve it. It’s so easy, it’s fast, and it’s cheap to just google yourself. If you have a problem on your computer, considering how easy it is to access the internet now, it shouldn’t be a problem.

  • My parents saved a lot of money by growing their own livestock and farm produce. My dad no longer grows livestock but he still grows vegetables. The town loves it and my mom is starting to build a name for herself by selling it. I would also like to learn how to do an oil change, though we are not allowed to here, our landlord doesn’t want oil stains in her driveway. I already sew up holes in my clothes when I can. Great article though, self reliance is an excellent way to save.

  • It is certainly true that self reliance can save a fortune. I used to spend a lot of money on lunches and coffee myself, before deciding to make my own sandwiches in the morning and brew my own flask of coffee. There are also many household jobs that we can easily tackle ourselves with a little know-how so it is well worth brushing up your skills in that area.

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