If you were to look through my pantry, my closet, or under my sinks you’ll find a sometimes bewildering mix of homemade and store bought products. I am always trying new ways to make things cleaner, healthier, more efficient, and better. Over the years, I have found that trial and error really is the best way. However, whenever deciding if it is better to make something from scratch or purchase it, I have a few questions I always ask myself:
What will yield the best quality product?
Most of the time, making it at home wins out here, as you have more complete control over what goes into your laundry soap or bread when you’re mixing it all together yourself. But every once in a while the store-bought item will outperform what you can make at home. This is really a trial-and-error question and you’ll quickly get a feel for what things are superior when made at home and which don’t perform as efficiently.
Is making it worth both the time and expense?
Sometimes making things from home is slightly more expensive up front because there are more pieces to purchase. However, there are usually larger quantities when you do it this way so it sometimes evens out. But there’s more than just cost involved. You also have to take the time to actually make whatever it is into account as that’s time you won’t be doing other things. Make sure that the expense in both money and time is worth the end result. For me, homemade cosmetics just aren’t worth the time and hassle, but I always have time for homemade bread.
Will I actually make it?
Sure, might I love the idea of making all my clothes from scratch and I totally have the ability… but realistically, I just won’t. There are other things I’d rather spend my time doing, so it really doesn’t behoove me to waste my time and money collecting everything I’d need to make it at home. I know I’ll just find reasons not to do it, and the items will just gather dust.
Will it be used often?
When you make things from scratch, a lot of times you’ll get a far bigger quantity at a time then if you purchased it premade. Make sure that you’ll actually use it up before it spoils. Otherwise, it’s a waste of time, money, and resources. If you are in love with an idea, but it makes too much for your family to use in a reasonable amount of time, see if you can store it, or find a friend who will split the costs and share the results!
Which way is more efficient?
I don’t know about you, but I don’t have enough time to make absolutely everything from scratch, even if I had the desire and the means. Sometimes store bought alternatives are a necessity, and that’s okay. If you’re really feeling guilty for purchasing something, try finding a green or organic version—but expect to pay a bit more for it.