How a klutz like me saved $$$ doing DIY repairs

Screwdrivers make me nervous. Not the cocktails, the tools.

Fixing things is generally not in my wheelhouse. I'm more talented at breaking things.

However, even a klutz like me can learn do-it-yourself home repairs that save a lot of money.

Screwdriver DIY
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Websites like, Lifehacker and ElectronicsNMore provide step-by-step help in fixing everything from a broken microwave to replacing the motherboard on your computer. In fact, search for just about any basic repair on YouTube, and you'll discover a how-to video. Need to replace spark plugs in your Toyota? Which model? Which year? A 1996 Camry? Tacoma? It's all out there.

Here are three DIY repairs I did on my own. Completing these tasks successfully not only saved me money; they boosted my confidence. However, I didn't tell my husband until after the fact because he would have had a coronary.

The washing machine

The washer wasn't draining like it used to. Going to, I went through the various suggested steps: climbing over to disconnect the hose to check for obstructions, and I also removed the cover to the drain pump.

Stinky water poured out, and when I looked inside, I fished out a sock. Why is it always a sock? Problem solved, and I saved $100 to $200 by not calling a repairman.

The computer

My desktop doesn't have as much memory as I'd like. Am I supposed to delete large files? How would I know? I can barely figure out how to turn something into a PDF attachment. However, someone suggested I swap out the RAM for something with more gigabytes. Paying someone to do this could cost $150, but I decided to consult YouTube instead. I searched for "How to add memory to your desktop," and several options popped up. I chose one by Tampatec, then I borrowed an antistatic wristband from a friend and went to work. I managed to replace the RAM, turn on the computer, and, voila! Gosh, a day earlier I didn't even know where to buy RAM, what an antistatic wristband was, what the inside of my computer looked like. Maybe I should start to learn coding. ...

The car

This is the one I REALLY did not tell my husband about before doing on my own, because I was terrified I'd screw everything up. My idea of DIY maintenance is putting air in the tires, and even that raises my blood pressure. Lifehacker understands me, and it has provided how-to instructions for basic car repairs and maintenance. It even walks you through a tune-up, which can save you hundreds of dollars. Using those tips (and, yes, several more YouTube videos), I managed to replace the air filter on my Toyota Corolla. Woo-hoo! I also checked the spark plugs, and I was going to take a look at the distributor cap, but I couldn't find it. I looked in the car manual for information and came up empty. I checked online. Ditto. Finally, I called the local dealership parts department.

You probably know what I didn't. There is no distributor cap in this car. One less thing to learn. One less thing to fix. One less thing to give my husband a heart attack.