Let Someone Else Do It

DIY vs Pay – When to Just Pay Up

Long time readers know that I am somewhat of a bookworm. I am constantly reading online newspapers, books, articles, magazines. For me to be able to read I need complete silence. I can’t sit on the couch while the TV is on, even if my husband is re-watching an episode of Pawn Stars for the hundredth time.  

Like I said I prefer silence when I’m reading. That hasn’t been happening much over the last few days though and I’m starting to turn into what my husband has termed ‘a pill’.

The constant running of the toilet in my guest bathroom is so infuriating. For someone who is frugal and into personal finance hearing the water constantly running is akin to lighting dollar bills on fire.

After jiggling the handle, taking the top lid off and trying all the obvious fixes I found myself staring at the insides hoping to gain some sense of what to do. See I hate calling in professionals. They can never get to your house to fix things when you need them and it always costs more than they say it will. I researched online on how to fix constantly running toilets and thought I had the solution but after three trips to the hardware store I sat on the floor in near tears in front of a dismantled toilet.

Eventually Mr. Patterson and I were able to put the toilet back together again and get it to stop running all day long. But with all the money I spent on non-refundable parts that didn’t work and the aggravation it caused me I wished I would have just given in and called a professional to fix it for me.

When fixing it yourself takes you away from your family or is outside of your range of skills calling in a professional can actually SAVE you money. That’s always the question that you ask yourself, isn’t it? Should I fix something myself or should I pay a professional to do it for me.  

Obviously if you consider yourself a handy kind of person there will be things that you can do that others can’t. Handymen and women can save themselves a lot of money by doing repairs and renovations themselves whereas non-handy people, like me, have to rely on professionals more.

There is no hard and fast rule of when you should fix something yourself instead of paying someone else to do it for you. As soon as I list something under the call a professional umbrella I’ll get a slew of comments from folks who will tell me that the fix is easy enough to handle on my own.  Generally, if I want to fix or renovate something my first reaction is to try to figure out how to do it on my own. There are so many articles and videos on the web that make even the most intimidating of tasks seem doable.

If something seems beyond my skill level that’s when I know to hire a professional. Certainly, anything that involves gas lines, electricity, and plumbing is beyond my level of skill, no matter how many videos I watch on how to do it myself!

Another rule I use to determine if a project is a DIY one is time. I ask myself how much time the project will eat up. If something will cause me to take a day off of work or cause me to miss work if I injure myself then I call in a professional to do it for me.

My time is worth something, so is yours, even if you are a stay-at-home mom. When a project or activity takes me away from making money for my family then it’s not worth it for me to do it for myself.

This is also a principle you should use in your own business when deciding whether to do a task yourself or hire someone to do it for you. When you have the potential to make more money in the time it takes a professional. I’ll never take a day off work or ask a client to accept a project a day late so I can have the personal satisfaction of a nice lawn or a freshly painted room. That just doesn’t make financial sense.

You also have to take into consideration convenience when vacillating between DIY versus paying a professional. My sister-in-law lives in New York City. She does not have a laundry room in her apartment or her building. She would have to spend an evening or a weekend sitting at a Laundromat waiting two-three hours for all her clothes to be cleaned, and that doesn’t include ironing her work clothes. It’s infinitely more convenient for her to pay someone else to do it for her.

So, while it’s great to save money and do it yourself, it’s important to recognize your limitations.  This can apply to your car, home, computer, and other things around the house.  That’s why it’s also important to find professionals in all the major areas that you can trust.  So when you are in need of professional help you’re not scrambling at the last minute to find someone. 

My personal list of trusted professionals includes: a plumber, electrician, mechanic, carpenter, and AC repair man.  If you don’t have any go to guys or gals in these areas I’d suggest you start now before you need them.  Ask friends, family, neighbors, and also be sure to check review sites like Yelp.

What sorts of things do you DIY instead of PAY?

Keeping Money In Your Pocket,

Nancy Patterson

 
 
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