I think ameliabedelia made some good points regarding why some of us choose to do things like bake our own bread, make our own soap or laundry detergent. It isn't necessarily all about saving money. I also think how much money you save depends on what you would otherwise buy and how much of it you use. One family may go through 1 loaf of bread a week while another may go through 4 loaves. Similarly, having (soon to be) 2 in diapers, I may wash more laundry than you, hence, save more in detergent costs. People with larger families may wash more laundry than me and save more. I agree with high efficiency washers being a great investment, but one has to have the money to make the initial investment. And I would likely still choose to make my own detergent because it's something I enjoy doing that takes so little time. I haven't made my own soap yet, but I would love to try sometime, not because it would save me tons of money. Soap is honestly pretty cheap, but because I would enjoy the process of making my own soap and learning the skill. I'm also a little curious about homesteading and that lifestyle. So sometimes it's also about, and possibly even more about finding personal fulfillment in making certain things from scratch. I'm old fashioned. I love the smell of bread baking in the oven. I love knowing that I made it myself, having that skill. So yes, it's cheaper to make my own, I enjoy the process and I control the ingredients. It's not just that it's cheaper or just that it doesn't have chemicals, etc. There's a combination of reasons why it works for me, as I assume there is for other folks.
Another frugal example is cloth diapering. There are many reasons, aside from the obvious frugal ones, why I choose to cloth diaper my babies. I believe it's better for them, better for the environment, more economical, it brings back memories from my childhood, I don't think washing & maintaining them is a big deal, etc. I take personal pride in it. Disposable wipes are cheap enough, but I choose to use wash cloths, instead. That is not a reflection on anyone else, but what works for me personally.
I clean with baking soda and vinegar because it works for me, I'm not bringing chemicals in my home around my little ones. It's simpler. I don't have to worry about running out of the store bought natural cleaners, most of which I've found to be out of my budget, anyhow. So there's the simplicity factor, the non chemical factor, the economical factor, etc. It's not ALL about being frugal, although it does feel good not to have a list of cleaning supplies I need to keep in stock.
Toilet paper for my family isn't a big deal cost wise, but I grew up in a family with 7 daughters. We were a family of 9, a very poor family, and let me tell you that we could really have benefited from using cloth, as we went through a lot of toilet paper. It's all relative.
There are things I wouldn't do (unless I absolutely had to) like go crazy clipping coupons. I've tried it and it's absolutely too much work for me personally. It takes from my quality of life, at least at this point in my life. It's something I do not enjoy in the least. That and searching out all the sales and what not. I hate shopping in the first place. But if clipping coupons and scouting out sales works for other people, that's great, and I would in no way put them down. Maybe those same people wouldn't choose to make their own laundry detergent, and hopefully they wouldn't put me down. We each have to find what works for us individually. I've borrowed the complete tightwad gazette, and while I found the parts I had time to read to be interesting and incorporated what I could use here and there, nobody has time to be completely frugal. It's all about finding what personally works for us. And, it's not always just about being frugal.
Again, I save more money accepting hand me downs and buying used than I do any other way. I just happen to enjoy making my own laundry detergent and baking my own bread, as well.