Frugal Friday Tips: Do It Yourself, Whatever It Is

by Ryan Yates

Paying too much really grinds my gears

Anything worth doing is worth doing as inexpensively as possible.

I’m a huge fan of finding ways of doing things for myself. Obviously, if there is a level of expertise needed to get the job done, I will usually defer to the experts. For me, unfortunately, my ‘achilles heel’ is working on cars.

But when money can be saved with a little research and education on my part, I’m all in.

My Most Recent Achievement

I’ve decided to get back in shape, eat right, and get more physical activity. I started shopping around for protein bars to supplement my food intake and provide necessary energy and calories for my workouts. Some of the worst-tasting bars are about $1 each, while the better tasting bars are closer to $2.50. Ouch.

Being a fan of the Food Network, I looked up a high-protein granola bar recipe. After all was said and done, I successfully created a great tasting treat with high protein, low saturated fat, and plenty of fiber. The cost . . . about $.45 each.

I eat 6 per week, so I figure I can save over $400 a year by making my own protein bars (that’s if I work out 5-6 days a week for an entire year, yowzah).

And the kicker – it was fun to try a new recipe, I got a feeling of accomplishment, and I used all natural ingredients while skipping those chemical preservatives.

Laziness Consumes Us All

What’s the number one reason why most of us have stopped doing things for ourselves and resorted to throwing unnecessary money at everything? My answer would be the convenience factor.

We’ve decided it’s worth being ‘nickle and dimed’ if we can save a few minutes here and there. After all, those minutes add up to hours, right?

But if we change the way we think and get back to our roots of rolling up our sleeves and getting things done for ourselves, there’s not only a great chance to save money, but there’s great wealth in the experience we will gain and be able to pass down to our children.

The Answer Is Simple

So what can we do? We can take inventory of our finances and cross-check our expenses with our talents, hobbies, niches, expertise, and know-how to come up with things we can fix, make, or bake on our own.

Like I said earlier, certain things might need the expertise of a professional. Sometimes you just can’t get around that. But don’t underestimate the friend network. Sure, I don’t know my way around an engine, but I have friends who know a thing or two about internal combustion.

It’s worth the time to ask a friend or relative to give some advice or at least a quick once-over. Who knows, your next major problem might only cost you taking a friend to lunch.

Photo By Elsie esq.


Matt Jabs February 17, 2012 at

We totally agree, that’s why we started – do everything you can yourself and do it naturally.

Shannon February 21, 2012 at

Can you share your recipe for the high protein bars? I would love to make these myself as well. They are expensive suckers!! Thanks!!

Ryan Yates February 23, 2012 at

Here you go, it’s from Alton Brown on Good Eats. I replaced almonds with unsalted sunflower seeds. they were $4 cheaper per pound.

8 ounces old-fashioned rolled oats, approximately 2 cups
1 1/2 ounces raw sunflower seeds, approximately 1/2 cup
3 ounces sliced almonds, approximately 1 cup
1 1/2 ounces wheat germ, approximately 1/2 cup
6 ounces honey, approximately 1/2 cup
1 3/4 ounces dark brown sugar, approximately 1/4 cup packed
1-ounce unsalted butter, plus extra for pan
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 1/2 ounces chopped dried fruit, any combination of apricots, cherries or blueberries
Butter a 9 by 9-inch glass baking dish and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Spread the oats, sunflower seeds, almonds, and wheat germ onto a half-sheet pan. Place in the oven and toast for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In the meantime, combine the honey, brown sugar, butter, extract and salt in a medium saucepan and place over medium heat. Cook until the brown sugar has completely dissolved.

Once the oat mixture is done, remove it from the oven and reduce the heat to 300 degrees F. Immediately add the oat mixture to the liquid mixture, add the dried fruit, and stir to combine. Turn mixture out into the prepared baking dish and press down, evenly distributing the mixture in the dish and place in the oven to bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Cut into squares and store in an airtight container for up to a week.

Previous post:

Next post: