Frugal Bug Repellent:
Every Spring, I invest in a can of Black Flag, and a huge bottle of baby powder (regular, not the pure cornstarch one) to discourage the bug invasion that tries to happen once the weather turns warm. I get the Black Flag for ants, roaches and spiders. The baby powder is extra protection against ants. Yup, baby powder.
Bug prevention is a three day process around here:
I walk around the outside of the house, scrubbing the window frames, clearing any trash or accumulation of rubbish or vegetation where the house meets the ground. I can usually get half the outside done one day one without collapsing in exhaustion at the end of the day. Dinner, daily chores and a baby also have to get taken care of, you know.
Repeat steps from day one on the rest of the exterior.
Starting at the front of the house and working my way around, I spray Black Flag around door and window frames and all along the bottom of the walls where they meet the ground. If I'm feeling particularly like super wife (and if there's enough Black Flag), I also spray the edges of the driveway.
Then I sprinkle a thin layer of baby powder all around the house as well, but not flush against the bottom of the wall like I did with the spray. Maybe about 2 - 3 feet from the wall. Just a sprinkle, trying to make it a constant trail without any breaks in it. I don't leave a thick carpet of baby powder and I don't fill in the entire space from the powder line to the wall. That's it!
I remember reading the baby powder trick (to keep ants away) somewhere after we got married. I scoffed, but hey, it was cheap! So I tried it and what do you know? It works!
NOTE: I don't constantly replenish these 'bug barriers' every week. I probably should, but I think it then becomes way too expensive. Mostly, I just spot apply when I see a new ant trail on the outside walls. I make sure to reapply the whole shebang after a big rainstorm, though, as the virtual bug fence will have been washed away.
Now, I've tried recipes of dish soap, vinegar and water mixed together as ant spray and many people online have used it successfully, but it didn't work for me. Not as an ant spray anyway. I came up with my own recipe for an awesome cabinet degreaser (originally published in this post) using the same ingredients, though. I'm only in the beginning stages of trying to eliminate chemicals from our home. But for now, Black Flag works for me.