DIY tricks and tips to save you money

Don't buy it-make it.
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Photograph: Martha Williams
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DIY LUBE

Materials: 1 cup water, 4 tsp cornstarch
Mix water and cornstarch in a small pot, cover and heat on a stove at medium to low heat. Stir often to keep cornstarch from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Shortly after it comes to a boil (three to five minutes), it should have a smooth consistency. Pour into a bowl to cool and use within a few hours or a day—do not refrigerate. The final product may have a Jell-O–like skin, but the insides should be gloppy goodness if you use it immediately. Keep your homemade lube out of the vagina or anus, however, to reduce the risk of irritation. Best for masturbation, hand jobs, or, if flavored (mix in half a teaspoon of vanilla extract or orange zest), oral sex. —Debby Herbenick
Money-saving factor 9
Pain-in-the-ass factor 4

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DIY FROZEN-IPOD FIXES

Materials: iPod, patience
1 Try toggling the HOLD switch back and forth. 2 Hold the center button and MENU button simultaneously for ten seconds until the screen goes dark and lights up again. You should see the Apple logo next—wait for the menu and you’re back in business. 3 No logo? Connect your iPod to your computer or an outlet to provide battery power and try again. —Liz Plosser
Money-saving factor 10
Pain-in-the-ass factor 0

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DIY GRANOLA

Materials: 3 cups oats, 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut, ¼ cup vegetable oil, ? cup packed dark brown sugar, ¼ cup honey, 1 cup nuts, pinches of cinnamon and salt, 2 cups dried fruit
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except fruit and stir well. Spread evenly on the baking sheet, then bake about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally with a spatula and watching very closely so it doesn’t burn. Remove, let cool completely, mix in dried fruit and store in an airtight container. —Julia Kramer
Money-saving factor 6
Pain-in-the-ass factor 2

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DIY DEODORANT

Materials: 3 tbsp shea butter, 3 tbsp baking soda, 2 tbsp cornstarch, 2 tbsp cocoa butter, two vitamin E capsules, essential oil
Combine shea butter, baking soda, cornstarch and cocoa butter in a small bowl. Melt for 30 seconds in the microwave. Add vitamin E oil (puncture and squeeze out oil) and ten drops of your fave essential oil. Stir, pour into a small jar to cool and apply to pits with cotton pad or cosmetic sponge. Note: This isn’t an antiperspirant, but at only pennies per batch it’s a great solution for not-terribly-sweaty people. It also gets bonus points for being all-natural and thus, not subject to those scary deodorant-toxin warnings. —Gretchen Kalwinski
Money-saving factor 9
Pain-in-the-ass factor 1

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DIY PREMIUM VODKA

Materials: bad vodka, Brita filter
We’d heard rumors about using a Brita filter to pawn bad liquor off on your friends. So we tried it, and yes, filtering swill vodka (like a $9 bottle of Gilbey’s) through a Brita three or four times does in fact seem to improve its taste, although you won’t be able to mimic the little nuances of pepper and vanilla flavors some vodka fiends claim to find in top-shelf stuff like Belvedere and Grey Goose. If you’re mixing the vodka, though, the filtered stuff is a great stand-in, and your friends will never know. —Heather Shouse
Money-saving factor 7
Pain-in-the-ass factor 2

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DIY HEADLIGHT REPLACEMENT

Materials: new headlight, car manual
If you can replace a lightbulb at home, you can fix your car’s padiddle situation. Bring info on your make and model to a car-parts shop (try Pep Boys) and buy the right bulb. Then, just look up “repair light” in your car manual’s index and follow the directions: Lift the hood, reach behind the front end where you’d imagine the back of the headlight would be, unscrew the cover to access the bulb, yank it out and insert the new one. Make sure you wear gloves or use a cloth to handle the bulbs, as hand oils can cause weak spots on a halogen bulb and make it burn out more quickly. —Heather Shouse
Money-saving factor 5
Pain-in-the-ass factor 2

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DIY TRAVEL DILDO

Materials: nail clippers with file, 2 lubricated condoms, hotel soap
Never transport a dildo through the TSA line again! First, use the sharp end of the file to cut soap into a narrow, vagina-friendly size. Rinse for smooth edges. Place soap inside one lubricated condom (knot the end), then stretch the second over it (knot again). That’s it! Enjoy, but heed the advice of Searah Deysach, owner of Early to Bed (5232 N Sheridan Rd, 773-271-1219): “This would not be butt-safe.” (Its small size means it could easily slip into the rectum and get “lost,” requiring an ER trip.) The shorter length makes sense for the vagina, though, because the most sensitive spots are in the first two inches. —Debby Herbenick
Money-saving factor 8
Pain-in-the-ass factor 2 (more, if you lose it up there)

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DIY LEMON-LIME SODA

Materials: 1 cup water, 1 cup sugar, 1 thinly sliced lemon, 1 thinly sliced lime, soda water
Heat water in a pan over low heat and add the sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved, then add lemon and lime slices, crushing to extract juice. Add a bunch of rosemary or mint, too, if you want. Keep on low heat, so the mixture barely simmers, for 15 minutes. Strain it, cool it and pour a fourth of a cup in the bottom of a tall glass. Top with ice and soda water, and you’ll never crave Sprite (which costs an extra 25 cents per serving) again. —David Tamarkin
Money-saving factor 4
Pain-in-the-ass factor 2

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DIY LIP BALM

Materials: 1 tbsp cocoa butter, 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp beeswax, five vitamin E capsules, essential oil
Combine cocoa butter, olive oil and beeswax in a heat-proof cup and place in a pan of water on medium heat. When the mixture is completely melted, mix in the oil from vitamin E capsules followed by 50 drops of essential oil. When cooled (you can store it in the cup), the result is waxy but thick enough to protect your pucker in Chicago’s wind and cold. —Christina Couch
Money-saving factor 6
Pain-in-the-ass factor 4

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DIY CAPPUCCINO

Materials: espresso grounds, stovetop espresso-maker (Bialetti Moka Express is $20 at Sur La Table), 3 oz of your choice of milk, milk frother ($1.99 at IKEA)
While brewing espresso, heat milk for one minute in the microwave. Froth milk for one minute using the frother, or briskly roll a whisk back and forth between your palms until milk froths sufficiently. Hold back foam with a spoon as you pour milk into large cup of brewed espresso, then top off with foam. Make foam art by drizzling espresso on top of the foam and crafting cutesy designs with a toothpick. —Julia Kramer
Money-saving factor 10
Pain-in-the-ass factor 5



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