In the world of frugality, there are few things that will save you more money than learning a few DIY skills. From simple things like replacing the light switch cover, to more difficult things like wiring electrical, the savings of doing it yourself over hiring a professional to do it can mean hundreds and even thousands that remains in your pocket. It also seems like the more money a DIY project can save you, the more likely you are to find people who think the prospect of attempting it to be scary.
While I can’t advocate trying something that you’re completely uncomfortable doing, and uneducated about, I think both situations are completely solvable. Learning what you can about a task can make it something that you’re far more comfortable doing. We live in the information age, with access to so much more information than any other time in the history of our species. We have the ability to learn things by watching videos on YouTube. We can access websites that will have all the detailed instructions for a repair project, or new project. Many of those have step-by-step instructions. In short, there’s just no excuse for at least attempting to learn how to do the project and then deciding whether it’s something you want to tackle or not. Sometimes, you decide it’s not something you want to tackle. And that’s O.K. too.
So, what are some DIY projects that sound scary, but really aren’t all that bad?
- Plumbing – Ok, I have to admit this is one of my least favorite project types to take on. I do take them on, but it seems like every time I do, it takes me a few times to get it right. And a few extra trips to the hardware store. At it’s core, plumbing isn’t all that complicated. The water starts in one place, and you place some pipes to move it from the starting place to the ending place. For me anyways, it’s all the different fittings and fixtures that seem to always give me trouble. My kitchen sink was a notorious problem project for me. I redid that mess three times before calling in the big guns (my dad) when we remodeled the whole kitchen. I was slightly reassured when even he made a few extra trips to the hardware store.
- Electrical – If plumbing is the project type I dislike but do, electrical is the project type that I dislike and usually don’t do. For some reason, I just have a really hard time getting my head around the way it works. Outlets are easy, I suppose, but then you start getting into switches, circuits, and crazy electrical diagrams. One day, I’ll take the time to do the right research and learning and actually feel confident enough to take a few of these project on. I know they aren’t all that scary, I just don’t understand them.
- Appliance repair – With some of the newer appliances, all the gadgetry can be a daunting adversary. Fortunately, in most cases, the real machinery of the appliance hasn’t changed much over the years. There’s just new, smarter, brains driving the machine. Which means, if the issue isn’t with the brains of the appliance, you can easily find and fix the problem. In the last year, I’ve repaired our fridge, coffee machine, and dryer. And a little maintenance to your appliances goes a long way. Sure, the coffee maker could have easily been replaced, but I was able to fix it and we still use it today. A few spare parts and some time saved us the expense of a repair technician coming and fixing the fridge and dryer and there are plenty of guides to be found online that give instructions on some simple appliance fixes.
- Tiling – When we remodeled our bathroom, we decided that we wanted to tile the floor and shower splash. I’d never tiled before, so it was a somewhat daunting task. I spent a little time going over instructions and videos on DIY Network’s site to get a general handle on it, then went and bought the supplies and did it. Like many things I do for the first time, there are plenty of things that I would do differently, but the end result was that the floor and splash got tiled, and several years later, it still looks great.
I suppose the point isn’t really to list out all the projects that might sound scary to a DIY homeowner. It’s really to point out that a lot of the projects that you and I might think are scary to take on really probably aren’t that hard. A little time spend learning the techniques and basic principles of the project will likely lead us to being able to learn the skills needed to complete the task. Even if it takes a couple extra trips to the hardware store.