Do It Yourself (DIY) and save

Can you do it yourself and save time and money? For many things you sure can. A big part of frugal living is being reasonably self-sufficient. Much of home maintenance and repair can be done by the home owner to save money.

If you have a DIY attitude, you're about halfway there. All you need is a little knowledge, experience, encouragement, the right tools, and sometimes a little help. Having a good friend and neighbor is priceless.

As long as you know what you're doing, you can perform many maintenance and repair tasks without the need to call a professional. Be mindful that sometimes a professional is required to tackle tough jobs. Sometimes your insurance company will require that work be done by someone in a skilled trade.

The idea here is to eliminate the need to call a plumber every time your faucet is dripping or the toilet won't shut off. More often than not, you can handle the repair with a little guidance, a few tools, and the desire to save money. Doing it yourself is an example of making good use of marketplace alternatives.

Start out slow and easy, and you'll gain confidence as you gain experience. Ask for help from friends and neighbors, research "how-to" on the Internet, and you can make a decision whether the job is something you'll want to tackle.

If you have more money than time, have someone else do it. If you have more time than money, you might want to do it yourself.

Common Sense Safety - you're worth it

Before we get busy with discussion about tools, hardware and projects, let's discuss do it yourself safety. After all, if you don't do it yourself, no one else will. It's entirely up to you to offer yourself some protection. I'm talking about your limbs, extremities, your 5 senses, and your general state of health.

Let's look at:

  • proper clothing
  • common sense precautions
  • protection for your eyes in the form of safety glasses and prescription safety glasses
  • hearing protection ear muffs and ear plugs
  • protection from high intensity light
  • dust and chemical masks
  • chip and splash protection
  • avoiding dirt and other contaminants

Maintenance and Repair Tools

It's hard to good a good an efficient do it yourself job unless you have the right tools. Here a tools that are helpful:

  • It's convenienct for the DIYer to have common hand tools for taking on minor repairs and adjustments around the house. Save money by being able to fix things without having to call a professional. Having a set a tools is a good start.

  • Power tools are also very useful for doing repetitive work, heavy work and work that would otherwise take a long time with traditional hand tools.

  • Wood working tools are required if you intend to build cabinets, trim a room, or do other wood working tasks.

  • Metal working tools are essential for many fabrication jobs and repair jobs.

  • Yard tools are useful for maintenance as well as growing your own food.

Using Tools

Here are discussions about using tools to get specific jobs done.

  • A stud remover isn't used very often, but when you need it, you really need it.
  • When working with finishing nails, you'll need a nail set to drive the nail just beneath the surface of the wood.

Example Maintenance and Repair

Here are examples of do it yourself projects that help me maintain and repair things around the house without the need to contract out the work or call a handyman.

  • getting water out of a lawn mower gas tank and carburetor
  • cleaning a sand screen and replacing a water filter on a whole house water system
  • repairing broken studs on a rototiller
  • sharpening lawnmower blades
  • unjamming a garbage disposal
  • fixing a leaking hose bib valve stem
  • weed whip disk eyelet repair using cable clamp U-bolts

Understanding Hardware

If you're new to the do it yourself world, then a little familiarity with hardware will be helpful. Let's look at:

  • Here's a primer on nails so you understand the most common varieties.
  • Various types of screws help us repair and build things. Let's learn about some of them such as:
    • The drywall screw, a versatile fastener that is seemingly everywhere.
    If you're hanging something on a wall, you'll need to know about:
  • Cotter pins are useful for linkages and axles, among other things that need to be secured in place.
  • Similar to a cotter pin, a hitch pin is useful for linkages and axles as it's designed specifically to hold onto a shaft that has a hole in it.

Functional Areas

Let's discuss some of the functional areas that you might want to become proficient in. Consider the following:

  • Auto maintenance can be a money saver. Simple jobs like changing oil and air filters can be done by most anyone. For more complicated stuff, you'll need help from my friend Gary who is a well experienced vehicle technician and trainer. See the well written and well illustrated site that he's developing over at DIY Auto Repair, and tell 'em that Clair sent you.

  • Make it yourself and save money. Consider the following:
    • Fire starter from household waste and scrap materials. Here is the step-by-step illustrated guide to making fireplace starter.
    • How about making a homemade DVD rack for storing your movies? It's easy when you simply assemble two smaller units to make one large one.
    • Perhaps you'd like to build some repeating mouse traps to help rid your place of those pests.

  • Home maintenance and repair. Keep your house and homestead running smoothly.

  • Finish carpentry has never been a strong suit of mine, but my friends at Install Molding - Finish Carpentry Guide have plenty to say and show regarding this topic. Take a look and learn from the pros.

  • Dealing with garbage, refuse and trash. How about building your own trash burner?

Outbuilding Construction

From building a shed to building an addition on the garage or barn, outbuilding construction can be accomplished with the help of another frugal friend.

Here's a small outbuilding construction project...a parcel drop box. It's a handy item around our place and the delivery drivers love it.

Just remember, if you're going to disturb the soil, just call before you dig. It might save you a lot of hassle and expense.

Bigger Stuff for Bigger Jobs

Whether you have a hole to dig or a sheet of plywood to cut, you'll need larger tools and equipment to handle the job. Learn about:

  • used construction equipment to tackle large projects around the homestead. It can be a very good investment in self-sufficiency and save you money over the long haul if you can make good use of the equipment.
  • Floor mounted shop equipment.

Often just knowing more about the work at hand can give you an insight as to what contractors are suggesting is the proper course of action to maintain or repair an item. Even if you aren't a DIYer with respect to home repair, it can be to your advantage to at least know a little more about how it's done.

More and more there are products and businesses that cater to those with a do it yourself approach to life. Tackle what you think you can handle with success, and learn how to do it by watching the professionals when you feel the need to call on them.

If you can perform the work yourself, you can save time and money, and it will give you a sense of satisfaction knowing that your weren't helpless in the face of minor maintenance, repair or construction challenges. Make "do it yourself" part of your approach to frugal living.

Done with Do It Yourself, take me back Home

There certainly is a broad scope of topics here at Frugal Living Freedom. When you think about it, money permeates so very many activities in our lives, therefore, being frugal encompasses a wide range of interests, from being employed to taking a vacation, and just about everything in between. Enjoy the variety, pick up some new ideas, and start making frugality a part of your signature.

I'm a big proponent of being debt-free, and I mean entirely debt-free - no mortgage payment. It's not essential for financial freedom, but you'll love the feeling once you get there. If you didn't have a rent or mortgage payment, how much more could you do for yourself with your current level of income? I suspect plenty.

If you ever hope to see an abundance of wealth, you need to plug the hole in your boat. The wealthy don't necessarily make lots of money, instead, they know how to hang onto what they make, and make it work for them.