There’s so much free information available on the web today, if you’re buying books, you’re probably wasting money. I’ve found a couple of places where you can find tons of do it yourself guides for just about anything you can think, and it’s all free.
Fastonline.org is really cool as it has over 900 guides and was developed by a guy named Alex Weir with the intention of passing this information to 3rd world countries to help aid in their development. You don’t need to live in a 3rd world country to find use of these guides though. Guides in agriculture, pest control, soil and water, irrigation, food processing, post harvest, technology, construction, health, economics, math, wood working, computing, creating business plans and so much more can be found on that site. Best of all you can download all the information to your computer to read on your spare time. Another neat place to find similar but different guides with recipes and so much more is textfiles.com.
Most everything that you can buy, you can do on your own. The question often becomes, is it more costly in either your time or materials to do it yourself. Certainly large companies are going to gain economies of scale (when companies produce a bunch of the same products they can often drive down prices much lower than when you or I produce something on our own), however, sometimes you have time to waste and can learn new skills by doing things on your own. Instead of spending money to go out and do something, do something at home and teach your kids. You never know, those skills may come in quite handy in times of disaster.