There's an interesting spin on the credit crunch in the Guardian today, with their journalist looking at whether doing it yourself (cooking/cleaning/making clothes) actually saves money. There's a few flaws - she might be better comparing like with like when it comes to food (I don't for a minute imagine that Sainsbury's family chicken pie contains free-range anything), and I suspect food varies a lot - you'd probably get different results from testing a jar of tomato pasta sauce against making your own, for example, and it would be good to develop that. There's also the energy costs to factor in as well.
But it's all interesting stuff, and fun to see a different point of view from the usual 'thrift' articles. I don't mind investing the time in cooking from scratch and making things (hence the rhubarb chutney, the cakes, the handmade Christmas cards and the knitting), because it's something I enjoy doing, so I'd probably end up doing them even if it was cheaper to buy it in readymade. But there are some things I draw the line at - puff pastry being one, making clothes another (the last time I made anything that wasn't for a two-year-old was a pink sprigged nightie at secondary school - let's just say it was of its time (think mid-80s Laura Ashley) and leave it at that).