I'm always trying to cut costs and use as little chemicals in my home as possible. One of the easiest ways to do both is by creating your own laundry soap. I've been using a homemade powder in my front load washing machine for years. I used it on cloth diapers, on every day things, and on caked on muddy clothes. It really works great!
The powdered recipe is very easy. Equal parts: 1 bar of finely grated soap (Fels Naptha, Zote, Ivory), 1 cup Borax, 1 cup Super Washing Soda. I also add in a half cup of Calgon water softener since I don't have soft water. Use 1 Tbs per load of laundry. And that's it!
You can find both the powder and the liquid versions in the videos below. Each video also has a rough cost break down.