I don’t sweat the big things when it comes to household finances. Whether a HVAC replacement, car repairs, or home renovation, I rarely flinch at the large bill. The small items – those are what raise my blood pressure, especially when they decide to pop up all at once. I believe some of this anger is due to the circumstances – I know I don’t have the skills to replace a central air conditioner, but I can certainly learn how to change my oil or fix a leaky sink.
While I’m not the handiest man on the planet, ownership of three homes and numerous cars over the last decade allowed me to gain some knowledge on simple repairs and renovations that prevented me from paying hefty service fees or handyman bills. Here are a few do-it-yourself things you can do, or learn to do, to shave some expenses off of your young family’s budget.
Though a little messy, changing your own oil is one of the easiest ways to save money on regular car maintenance. There is an initial investment for items like tire blocks/ramps and oil draining pans, but after you make those purchases the only items you’ll buy during subsequent oil changes are the filter and the oil itself. Other do-it-yourself maintenance you can do on your automobile include replacing external and cabin air filters and switching out burnt bulbs in the head and tail lights. Of course, the easiest, and sometimes free, maintenance you can do is keep your tires properly inflated. This helps lengthen the lifetime on your breaks and your fuel.
The dripping faucet that’s bothered you for weeks may just need a replacement washer. If so, spend a few dollars at your local hardware store and watch some how-to videos on YouTube. Together, they’ll help avoid the possible hundreds of dollars spent for a plumber to come out. Other items within the do-it-yourself realm of household plumbing maintenance include toilet replacement, both its innards and the entire unit, and repairs on faucets and sink handles.
Rewiring your entire home? Potentially a non-starter unless you majored in electrical engineering. However, replacement of outlets and switches is an easy and inexpensive repair in your home as long as you make sure to shut down the power in that particular part of your residence. On a personal note, I have also learned to install ceiling fans around the house where needed wiring existed.
Painting and Renovation
Though you feel bad for those “starving” college students, there’s no need to hire them to paint the interior of your home. For well under $100 you can purchase the necessary items to do a professional job in any room of your house. Other do-it-yourself renovations around your home include wallpaper removal, installation of linoleum in bathrooms, re-grouting of bathroom tile, and installation of tongue-and-groove hardwood flooring.
A final note – though very little money is needed for these repairs, a large investment of time and patience is required. Don’t start these projects without some research to avoid common mistakes. Without the investment, your repairs can costs hundreds of dollars more if professionals are needed to correct what you broke.