It turns out I’m a bit of a hippie. It didn’t realize it for a long, long time. Growing up, when my parents asked me to take kitchen scraps out to the compost bin, I got annoyed. When they ignored the dryer in favor of hanging clothes to dry, and my jeans came out of the laundry room clean and crispy, I groaned. All my friends got the blue-box mac ‘n’ cheese, when we had a homemade version. And when I was asked to haul lumber and stabilize posts for the new deck, I didn’t understand why they didn’t just pay someone else to do it.

But now, as a semi-adult, I can see where they were coming from. Boxed foods are often (but by no means always) filled with chemicals, additives and fillers. Compost is expensive, especially when you don’t actually have to do anything to make it. And good contractors are worth their weight in gold, but it’s so much cheaper to just DIY. (I maintain my distaste for crispy jeans.)

And after spending 10 minutes staring at cereals in the grocery store on afternoon, I realized: My decisions are pretty random, or based on the way I’ve always done things. But half the things I buy, I could probably make myself. I should actually try it, and analyze and compare, and see what’s better.

The result? DIY or Buy.