DIY Projects That Save You Big Bucks

Learn how to make your own baby food, kitty litter and more.

ByABC News via logo
September 30, 2008, 6:02 PM

Oct. 1, 2008 — -- If you're looking for a way to save big money, a little elbow grease may go a long way. Making homemade products instead of buying more expensive store versions could leave you with extra dollars in your pocket.

"Good Morning America" technology contributor Becky Worley shows you how to do it yourself.

Savings: $50

We've all seen the new foaming soaps available, and they're great. But they can be expensive. So I went online and found a way to make it yourself. Once you've finished your bottle of foaming soap, you're left with a great dispenser.

You can refill it with any old liquid soap. Use 2 tablespoons of regular liquid soap per cup of water. You'll get the same great foaming soap, but it will last 10 times longer. Over the course of the year, it should save you about $50.

Savings: $300

Everyone is focused on buying their foods locally these days. It's better for the environment and for your health. And now that we're entering fall, this is a great time to save at farmers' markets around the country.

You can buy fruits and vegetables for much less. You can buy up a bundle and then turn them into baby food, purees, jams and jellies, and freeze them for the winter.

Many of us who live in the suburbs also have fruit trees in our yards. I have some in my own yard. They were there when I bought the house, and I never used the fruit. So pick that fruit and do the same thing with it. I've even started asking my neighbors for their fruit. I pick apples, pears and plums from their trees and made baby food for my child.

You can save $300 a year just on baby food alone.

Savings: $120

I know it sounds a little wild, but, yes, you can make your own kitty litter. And it only takes about a half-hour to do.

I'm not suggesting that all Americans who own a cat should make their own kitty litter. But it shows that anything you want to make you can find the instructions online.

To make the kitty litter, you shred newspaper and then wash it in soapy water. You stir it up until it's the consistency of oatmeal; then you take all of that and rinse it out and strain it in a colander.

Add baking soda and knead it in. Break it up so it looks like pebbles. Then put it on a screen to dry. Let it dry overnight and it will be ready the next day. It doesn't have the fancy clumping capabilities of expensive kitty litter. But it does the trick, and the baking soda does a great job killing the odor, and it can save you $120 a year.

If you have kids, you know they go through drawing paper and project paper at an epic rate. One way to save is to go to your local paper and ask if you can have their end rolls.

These are the blank rolls they use to print the newspaper. When they've finished the allotted paper for the day, there's usually some left over that the newspaper gets rid off. You can use that for your kids' projects, instead of expensive drawing paper.

Big, urban papers probably won't have extra endrolls lying around, but your local paper should. My own local paper did.