Tuesday, August 5, 2014

DIY: Is it worth it?

Do it yourself or DIY is pretty popular among the finance bloggers these days.  It is no wonder people who want to save money are doing more and more projects themselves.  Need a roof shingled?  No problem.  Toilet repaired?  Easy peasy.  Wire a switch or two?  Nothing to it.  Except getting shocked.  Getting shocked sucks.

The modern era of you tube and forums have allowed easy access to information that you used to have to go to the library to get.  Even if you could get a book on the whatever you were doing pre-internet you still couldn't watch a tutorial on how to do something.

I myself am into wiring and minor projects around the house and I don't consider myself a "handyman."  All of this is great but I ask the question when is DIY not worth it?

DIY is obviously not worth it if you don't know what you are doing, have no skills, and have no desire to learn those skills.  Some may consider those people lazy.  I don't.  They just are choosing a different path to acquire what they desire.

I digress.  Is DIY worth it when you possess the skills, but not the time?  I would say in my own personal experience no depending on the situation.  For example...

I decided that I needed a workbench in my garage for working on things (kind of an ironic example). The problem is that I don't believe it would be worth it for me to do it myself.  First I would have to buy the lumber.  If I wanted a good deal I would have to craigslist the purchase and then I would have to go buy the screws from my local hard ware store.  Gas and time wasted.  Then I would have to saw the wood to specifications.  I am by no means an engineer.  More time wasted.  After assembly I would probably be left with a frankenbench that would not suit my needs well and I would probably use it very little making the whole project useless.

INSTEAD... I decided to drive to my local menards, picked up a cheap, sturdy, reliable work bench kit (which my father-in-law generously paid for after I put up some light fixtures and fans for him) and proceeded to assemble it very quickly.  I did not waste gas because I was already out when I picked up the kit, and I did not waste time.  The kit came with everything I needed (except for the tools I already had) and the bench looks great.

The whole point of the story is to get you to examine your life and see what projects will be worth taking on and which ones won't.  Sure you could take on that next plumping job, but do you really want to?  Do you trust your skills are enough to route waste out of your house so that it won't overflow or back up?  Save yourself some stress, be honest about your skill level, and remember that no matter how easy the pro makes it seem on youtube that there is some skill involved.