DIY can seem overwhelming to a lot of people, but it can be a good way to save money. I mean, it can be, but it isn't always. You need to pick and choose what you take on yourself. Because if you're anything like me and not too craftily inclined, it can be a lot of hassle. But sometimes, depending on the project, the hassle is worth it.
One of the good things about DIY is that there are so many different areas where you can use it, so it helps you save a bit here and there. But like I said, you need to make sure that you're choosing wisely. If you're pretty handy with a tool set, you can do a project like changing to a swish steel front door for practically a tenth of what it would cost if you payed someone — and a whopping savings of $1,750. And yet, if I tried to that project, I have a feeling I'd end up with a lot of expensive tools and an even more expensive hospital bill.
So despite all of the general advice saying that you can save money with DIY but not actually saying how much, you need to really think this through.
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How do you know if it's worth it and how much you can save? Well, here's what you need to take into consideration.
1Know Your Skills
If you have terrible penmanship and aren't crafty at all, you're not going to make any money doing your wedding invitations by hand. You're going to ruin a lot of really expensive paper and have a meltdown. And that's OK. I can't put together furniture. My girlfriend can though. We pick and choose our projects carefully.
2Don't Forget *Your* Labor Costs
It's really easy to think that you're saving a bundle with DIY because you're not paying someone else to do it. But you are spending your time. Make sure you're factoring in how much of your own time you're loosing. Trying to sand furniture and paint it yourself is less efficient if it takes you 20 hours to do it and you're only saving 50 bucks. If you're working at a loss, then the project isn't exactly a cost-efficient one.
3Pick Your Projects
You can save a lot of money on something like bathroom updates, where about two thirds of the cost is labor. But when you take something like roofing, where the risk of injury — or death — is huge and the damage done if you do it wrong could be catastrophic, it's a no-brainer that you need to call in the professionals. Don't do something stupid because you watched a YouTube video once and think you have it all under control.
The truth is, there is a lot of "save money with DIY" advice out there, but a lot of it doesn't specify how much you'll actually save — and it definitely doesn't take your skill level into account. Sure, you can throw some candles in mason jars and add a ribbon and it'll probably be way cheaper than buying a centerpiece pre-made, especially since weddings are famously overpriced if you're booking packages from a venue. But you could lose money trying to do something zany with your furniture and buy a lot of expensive tools you'll never use. The advice out there is often vague, so make sure you're researching what you're really getting into — and what you can save.