Owning a home means owning a potential money pit. You can spend an awful lot of money on home repairs by constantly calling in a home repair company to do simple things you could learn to do yourself. We have all been there. But there are ways to save money if you are willing to adopt the DIY mindset.
Sure, being a successful DIYer takes time. There are skills to learn and practice; there is research to be done; there are techniques to master. But compared to the amount of money you can save over a lifetime of doing things yourself, all the little things necessary to be successful seem pretty minor. Here's just a quick example of saving money by doing something yourself:
Imagine coming home from work and finding the kitchen sink clogged and full of water. You pour some liquid drain cleaner down the drain but nothing happens. Now you are ready to spend £100 or more on a plumber who will come out and have that drain running freely again in just a few minutes. But guess what? You can learn how to unclog the sink just as quickly with nothing more than a plunger or an inexpensive plumber's spanner.
A big part of the DIY mindset is saving money. Below are five tips for doing just that. As an added bonus, learning to do things yourself will give you an incredible sense of accomplishment with every completed job.
Tip #1: Learn Basic Skills
One of the biggest things that separates the seasoned DIY-er from the novices is skill. Learning basic DIY skills is important simply because doing the job right the first time avoids the extra expense of having to fix what you just fixed. So before you begin any new job you've never done before, research how to do it right. Figure out what skills you will need and then learn them.
Carpenters live and die by the phrase, 'measure twice, cut once'. They know all too well how much time and money is wasted when cuts are not accurate. Their regular practice of measuring twice and cutting once is a pretty basic skill. It is not even something you have to practise endlessly to get right. You just do it.
Another good example of basic skills pertains to painting. There are more and less efficient ways to apply paint to a wall. Learn the most efficient way and you will save both time and paint. You'll spend less money to paint your own house and you won't have to hire a painting contractor to get a good-looking job. Just remember that painting efficiently is a skill that needs to be learned.
Tip #2: Don't Be Afraid to Be Creative
Skill and knowledge are incredibly important to the DIY concept. But in your search for skill and knowledge, do not ignore creativity. Not every home fix has to be done by the book. You may have a more creative way to attack a particular task, a way no one else has thought of. That's good. Embrace your creativity and go for it!
A perfect example of DIY creativity is turning to Sugru mouldable glue to fix a chipped Victorian butler's sink. Replacing the sink entirely could cost you quite a bit. It might also require some extra plumbing work you cannot do on your own. But focusing your efforts just on the chipped portion could solve your problem at a fraction of the cost.
You can find details on how to affect this DIY fix here. In a nutshell, you are essentially going to cover the chipped area with some white Sugru. Then you're going to use your finger and some warm water to smooth it out. When the Sugru dries completely, it will blend seamlessly into the sink and prevent the chip from getting any bigger.
Tip #3: Don't Be Afraid to Take Your Time
It is never a good idea to rush any DIY job. If you don't know why, think back on any experiences you may have had with home repair companies. You might know from personal experience that repair contractors don't do a very good job when they rush things. Guess what? The same concept applies to DIY.
Rushing things encourages you to cut corners. It encourages you to just do things without thinking them through. Both scenarios almost always end up in a finished job that isn't up to par. Then you need to live with a subpar result or invest additional time and money to redo the job. That doesn't make much sense, does it?
Let's say you have an old kitchen floor you want to replace with laminate. Your first inclination is to rip up the old floor as fast as you can. It never occurs to you that going too fast could damage your appliances, kitchen cabinets, or even the subfloor. But it can. You are better off working slowly enough to pay attention to what you're doing.
Likewise, don't rush the installation process. Take whatever time you need to ensure that each piece is laid properly. Take the time to measure twice and cut once. Working slowly may seem tedious to you – and maybe it really is – but the long-term benefit of a properly installed floor will be well worth it.
Tip #4: Don't Go Cheap on Materials
Even though this post is about doing things yourself in order to save money, there is one area of DIY in which you shouldn't go cheap: buying your materials and supplies. A home repair company will try to sell you the highest quality materials they have. It is not just so that they can make more money. It's also because high quality materials perform better and last longer.
Buying the exact same materials that a home contractor would use means not saving any money on that particular aspect. But you still save money on the project by not paying for professional labour. That is the whole point. DIY is all about handling the work yourself. The materials and supplies should still be of a high enough quality to make you comfortable about their performance and durability.
Let's go back to the flooring example. There are some pretty cheap laminate products out there. They cost a fraction of what you would pay for a premium product. You can definitely save money in the short term by buying the cheaper laminate. But if that laminate only lasts half as long, you're going to have to replace it sooner. How much have you really saved?
In fairness, there is something to be said about higher prices related to brand. There are times when you pay considerably more simply for a brand name without getting higher quality in return. How do you avoid doing so? By searching online for product reviews. Find out what other people are saying about particular brands.
Tip #5: Apply the 3 R’s to DIY
Last but not least, you can save money and do your part to help the environment by applying the 3 R's of waste disposal to your DIY projects. Those 3 R's are: recycle, reuse, and repurpose. They don't just apply to household plastics and recyclable materials like paper and glass. They apply to everything in your home you would otherwise throw away.
Maybe one of your DIY projects requires copper plumbing. You are planning to purchase enough pipe to complete the project, but you're likely to have some left over. Don't throw it away. Turn the extra pipe into a few planters with some Sugru, a few penny washers, and your imagination. We explain how to do it here.
We can offer you another great idea we learned from one of our customers. It involves turning old plastic toys into wardrobe hooks. As strange as it might sound, re-purposing those old toys taps into your creativity and saves money you would otherwise spend buying hooks at the DIY store. Why buy hooks when you have unused objects around the house capable of accomplishing the same thing?