During these tough economic times there are even more opportunities to save money if you do-it-yourself. This can range from household chores and remodeling, to gardening and canning, and to sewing and countless other projects. In recent years it seems that many people feel they are too busy to take on a do-it-yourself project in addition to their work schedule and the demands of raising a family or looking after loved ones, and their own social schedule. For others the notion that do-it-yourself projects and maintenance may have gone out of style or they may be intimidated by the lack of knowledge required to accomplish a task. The do-it-yourself task you undertake can be as small as making your own coffee rather then buying it at Starbucks or ironing your shirts or doing your nails. It can be as big as remodeling your kitchen or sewing your wardrobe. In today’s economy the rules are changing and those that take the initiative to do-it-yourself will potentially find themselves in a more comfortable position financially as well as knowing they did their part in helping the recovery.
Finding the Time
It is likely the majority of people, if asked, would say they are too busy for do-it-yourself projects. On the surface this may be true but are the things they are busy with really necessary when compared to the economic benefits of doing a project themselves? In many households it doesn’t take much imagination to envision giving up an hour of TV each evening. The same is true of surfing the Internet, texting friends, or writing emails or calling on cell phones. If you freed up two hours a day that would free up 14 hours a week which is close to two eight hour workdays. Quite a bit can be done in two workdays a week if you really plan and focus on it.
Suppose you do set aside 14 hours a week to improve your financial situation. If you spend those 14 hours on projects around the house how does that benefit you economically? Consider the following. If you work on things that you normally would have to hire it done there is an obvious financial benefit of doing-it-yourself. Not only does the work get accomplished that needs to get done you are also effectively paying yourself a wage. You can consider it your wage by thinking of it in the following terms. When you do a job yourself that you would normally hire someone to do (lawn mowing, gardening, sewing, washing, ironing, remodeling, car washing, etc.) you are not only getting the job done (the ultimate goal to start with) plus you are saving money. Think of the money you have saved as a wage. More specifically think of your wage as being one of ‘cost avoidance’. The 14 hours a week you spend on do-it-yourself remodeling or maintenance projects effectively leaves 14 hours of labor costs in your pocket that normally would have been paid to someone else doing the job for you. As an example let’s use a labor rate of $25/hour. Those 14 hours of labor you put in each week is effectively paying yourself $350 a week or $18,200 a year! In other words if you would not have to spend it for someone to make your coffee, do your shirts, paint your room, remodel your kitchen, etc. Not a bad wage for a part time job working on do-it-yourself activities such as home projects, remodeling and maintenance.
Many people will say they don’t have the training or knowledge for do-it-yourself projects. At one point in time acquiring this knowledge may have been difficult and required trips to the library to check out do-it-yourself books or looking over the shoulder of people who had do-it-yourself experience. With the proliferation of web sites on the Internet this is no longer true. One only has to do a Google search on a topic and it is likely you will find a large number of sites telling you in printed words with pictures or videos how to do it. As an example do a search on ‘how to lay ceramic tile’. At this time there are close to one million potential web sites referencing that. Searching on ‘how to sew a dress’ yields over 2.8 million sites! How to remodel a bathroom comes up with nearly 3 million hits! With the increased use of online video on sites such as YouTube and Associated Content for many projects it now is like having a tutor at your beck and call any hour of the day or night.
Initiative and Fringe Benefits
Perhaps the best initiative you can have to focus on do-it-yourself projects or tasks is to have a financial need to do so. The fringe benefits are numerous including increased physical and mental activity, all of which should lead to less stress. When you are busy working on a do-it-yourself task chances are you won’t be spending that time worrying about your next mortgage payment.
Increasing the number of do-it-yourself tasks and projects you work on can improve your financial situation at home during these challenging economic times. While it may seem you don’t have the time, assess how you spend your time and see if you can devote an hour or two each day to doing the job yourself rather then paying someone else to do it for you.