My husband and I are not exactly handy when it comes to using tools. We can – and have – done a few DIY projects – but much of the home improvements and repairs are done by either fabulous family members or paid contractors.
The problem with that approach is that you have to have knowledgeable family members with time willing to help or some money. Sometimes those things are hard to come by.
As I continue on my frugal journey, I find that I am more willing to try DIY projects than I used to be. After all, the internet and public library hold a wealth of information that can help guide me. And most of our DIY projects (like when we fixed our toilet), have gone well. Others have required us to shell out even more money and spend more time to get the project done right.
So I’ve developed a system of sorts to decide when to tackle DIY projects and when to go an alternate route.
Tackle those DIY projects yourself when:
You know you have the skills to do the project.
If you feel relatively confident that you understand how to get the job done and that you have the ability to do the job, by all means, go for it! I feel very confident about being able to paint and stain things, so that’s one area I’m willing to tackle.
You have access to the right tools for the job.
The right tools for the job make DIY projects a million times easier (and safer!), so make sure that you either already have the tools you need or can borrow them from a friend or relative. You don’t want to have to rush out to the hardware store and spend a fortune on tools you don’t even know how to use, so make sure that you invest in quality tools with multiple uses that will last you a lifetime.
You have the time.
Make sure that you have enough time to complete the project well. If you try to get your DIY projects done too quickly, you could do a sloppy job that could end up costing you more money and headaches in the future. Make sure you have plenty of time to get the job done, and don’t forget to budget some time for any unexpected issues that pop up.
You have an interest in doing the project.
Your time is valuable. If you do not get any enjoyment out of tackling a particular DIY project, and you can afford to hire it out, then hire it out. But if the idea of doing something yourself thrills and excites you, then you should tackle it with gusto.
You have the money for supplies.
If you can’t afford the supplies, and your DIY project is not an emergency (like a leaky faucet), then hold off until you’ve saved for it. You’ll feel much better about the project when it’s complete, if it’s paid for!
There is no other way the project would get done.
Sometimes there is just more month than money when something unexpectedly breaks in your home. Some things like broken fridges, leaky roofs, or dripping faucets shouldn’t be put off. If the only way the project will get done is by doing it yourself, then roll up your sleeves.
You have a backup plan.
Before you tackle any DIY project, you should make sure you have a backup plan in case things go awry. That means making sure you have a little bit of cushion in your project budget. It could also mean knowing who you can call if you need an extra set of hands to help.
DIY projects can be a great way to learn new skills and save money. But if you’re not doing it for the right reasons, it could end up costing you.
What do you think? Do you like to do DIY projects? What kinds of projects have you done?
About Christina Brown
Christina is a wife and mother dedicated to figuring out how to live a simpler, happier life on a budget.