5 Things That are Cheaper to Buy Than to Make

When I’m looking to save money, I look for ways I can use my skills and time to create products that would cost me more. For the most part at least, it works. However there are a surprising number of things that are actually cheaper to buy in the stores than make yourself.

These things seemed like they would be cheaper to make at home, but in fact, it was cheaper to buy them.

Greeting Cards

I always loved the idea of making my own greeting cards. I thought the process would save me money, however in actual fact it cost me more than five times the cost of a greeting card from the store. With the vast majority of products having to be purchased in bulk.

With the birth of discounted greeting card stores such as the Card Factory. Greeting cards can be purchased for as little as 29p each.


We began looking at making our own Pesto when following Joe Wicks in the Lean in 15 books.

However, we quickly found that due to the high cost of pine nuts, Pesto was considerably cheaper to buy than make.

If you really do want to make it at home then you can make it with sunflower seeds. This will bring down the cost considerably. (especially if you have basil in your garden). However, we’ll just stick to buying it. For now at least…


This argument is three-fold so bare with me. Take out pizza, is the least amount of effort, often has maximum flavour but is also the highest cost. In fact a take out pizza can cost up to £15 (ouch!)

However, if you swap the convenience of a take-away pizza for a frozen or fresh one from the supermarket then you’re looking at anything from £1.00 upwards (the bonus here is that you’ll often find Pizzas on offer as you can see in the screenshot below)

However, if you look to make your own from scratch at home following a simple recipe like this one then it’s likely to cost you upwards of £4.40 depending on the ingredients you already have available. On the plus side the sample ingredients that I assume many households will need in order to make a pizza will make 2. 

All this is likely to take you upwards of an hour. An unless you’re a pro (I’m not) then you might need the second lot of ingredients because you’ll have messed up the first… or have to make do with a merly below average slightly doughy pizza.


Helen loves to make her own outfits. In fact she has an entire blog dedicated to her crafty lifestyle. Which means that we both know first hand how clothing is cheaper to buy than make. That’s often due to the high cost of fabric. 

All this results in the cost of buying basic clothing items being much cheaper to buy not just from the discounted stores such as Primark but often even designer outlets than it is to make yourself at home.

That is unless you’re looking to repurpose old fabric such as bedding or an old item of clothing into something new. If that’s the case you’ll probably save money doing so rather than buying new.


Home brew has become a real thing in the past couple of years. However, this only becomes a real money saving mission if you’re willing to do it for a seriously prolonged amount of time or drink / produce a serious amount of the good stuff!

That’s unfortunatly down to the investment in supplies required in order to make the beer. If we’re to look on the basis of ingredients for making forty pints based on this recipe;

3kg malt extract 50g hops 1 packet yeast

Then it’s likely to cost you around £18. However, add in the cost of heating a 40l pan. The amount of mess you have to clean up afterwards, not to mention any storage such as bottles and you could be talking a lot of time, hassle and money.

Don’t get me wrong. While these things maybe cheaper to buy than make at home it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t ever make them. Like Helen and her sewing obsession, you may love the experience or the quality of the homemade item may simply be better than you could ever possibly buy.


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