Do-It-Yourself Home Projects The Right Way

by Vincent King · 7 comments

Your hard earned dollars are yours, and today is the day you can stop giving them away forever.

By taking care of those projects at home that you can manage on your own, you can trim thousands of dollars from your household budget with a bit of elbow grease.

Leave the pro jobs such as wiring, heavy-duty plumbing, and any major construction to the accredited professionals in your area, but set your sights on those problems you can easily solve with a little education and a lot less money.

Two Reasons You Should Stop Throwing Your Money Away

Many people think they can’t handle doing handy work, yet DIY can save your wallet in more ways than one.

1. Increase the value of your home.
The value of your home decreases as it slips into disrepair and neglect, yet many families don’t have cash on hand to pay a repairman. Services often charge upwards of $50-$60 per hour to repair damages. And all the small things you keep putting off until you can afford it are slowly adding up to larger totals as you allow the problem to loom.

Staying on top of repairs keeps the small problems from piling into bigger ones. Maintaining your home will help maintain it’s value, 100% of the time. Small improvements such as new paint and wallpaper are affordable if you do them yourself, while increasing the value of your home.

2. Make yourself smarter.
Being handy comes naturally to many people, but coming up with fixes is very hard for some. Even so, everyone should try to learn to fix things themselves. Learning makes you smarter, and it will probably save you money too.

Recently, my wife and I decided it was time to get some much needed landscaping done. We called some professionals to handle the job. Having moved into a new house, we wanted a clean canvas to paint our gardening masterpieces. The professional came out, found out what we wanted and needed, then returned later with a gorgeous diagram and selection of flowers.

We were ecstatic. Until she told us the plan would cost over $4,000 to complete.

Really? No thanks.

We’ll learn to do it on our own, and grow as a couple while we do it!

Take Control

Don’t fall victim to your wallet and mindset. You can save money and have the repairs you need done, done well.

We took control. We’re creating our dream ourselves. Doing our own landscaping is saving us $3,000 – not a drop in the bucket. Not only are we saving money, we are upping the value of our home and growing closer as a couple.

We’re not avid gardeners, but we are good students. We’ve taken classes at the local greenhouse to help get us started and will have a new garden in place by the end of the summer.

You can do the same.

The Right Way To Do-It-Yourself

Being a do-it-yourselfer can mean spending hours and hours making mistakes, but the knowledge you develop will prepare you for additional jobs in the future.

Don’t be afraid to do it wrong the first time. With the following tips, you can master the DIY hobby and save thousands of dollars, reaping even more in elevated home improvement values:

1. Get an estimate. Lots of businesses will come out and give you an estimate on getting a job done. If they don’t, skip them. Weigh your wallet with the numbers they give you to make an educated decision: Is it a job that you could learn and do on your own?

2. Study. If you’re going to take on a project around your house, study the details before getting started. Talk to the sales guys at your local hardware store to find out what types of problems you might expect. Take courses, if offered. Read online. The Internet offers you a virtual education in DIY (for free). Don’t skip it.

3. Mentally prepare. Know you are treading in unchartered territory, and that you will likely face a few problems. Few things go perfectly the first time, and nothing goes quickly when you’re new at it. Be patient and wade through as best you can.

4. Prepare. Make sure you have all the tools needed to finish a job. If an expensive piece of equipment is required, consider renting the necessary tools and letting the staff teach you to use it the first time. If it’s a tool you’ll need again and again, consider it a trial to find out what brand will work best for you.

5. Get started. When you’re afraid to do something new, your mind will likely throw every excuse it can conjure to stop you from starting. Get over those excuses and get going. Once you’ve done the job, you’ll be richer in balance and in brains.

What tips do you have for becoming a DIY-er effectively?

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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • Financial Advice for Young Professionals says:

    I’m a DIY guy too, but there a ton of things I don’t know how to do. For the mid size projects, I like to have a company come out and give me a free estimate like you mentioned. Ask them details about what they would do and how much they would charge.

    For most projects, youtube is a great reference. They have how to videos on everything.

    • Jean says:

      I concur about Youtube being a huge help in learning how to do things. The other day, I had to replace the CMOS battery in my computer as it was forgetting boot-up information if the power was turned off but I didn’t know how to replace it so I looked it up on Youtube, and presto, a perfectly explained video tutorial that I was able to use to replace the battery successfully.


  • Jean says:

    I’m a DIY guy all the way. Other than the really major work, I pretty much try to do everything by myself and I even find it to be fun most of the time, unless it’s to do with sewage! You can really save a ton of bucks by not having to hire help for stuff that you can do by yourself with a little sweat and elbow grease.


  • Marbella says:

    You can do lots of things yourself and not pay exorbitant prices to workers, do not forget all the sale outs there you can you found things for bargain and buy in for future housing developments.

  • imdb says:

    To Squeezer, so true. The prep work usually takes longer than the entire project itself, but really makes a difference in the long run. Also, we had friends that used either the local college or an agency to draw up plans for landscaping. They paid for the plans (all those good ideas), but did all the work themselves. The plans included what flowers to plant, etc., still saving them thousands of dollars in the long run.

  • Squeezer @Personal Finance Success says:

    An important thing to remember is having your DIY project look decent when you are done. I cannot tell you the number of times I have been to someone’s house for a party and seen their home improvement disasters. For example, a person will lay stone tile in their kitchen, but not pull up the baseboards, so they have a line of grout between the tile and the baseboards, or everything is not lined up properly.

  • ImpulseSave says:

    Be patient and don’t bite off more than you can chew. If this is really your first time doing a project on the house – start small. Start with a window boxes or barrel garden in the yard. Once you accomplish a smaller project first, you will be much more confident on a bigger project next! Don’t try to make yourself a master on the first try: learn a little bit with each project and you’ll be a jedi in no time!

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