Money Trends: Do It Yourself

One upside to the downturn is that we’re becoming a “Do-It-Yourself” (DIY) nation, getting our hands dirty and doing the work ourselves. In many cases, this is a great way to save money on big projects, but in some cases you have to be cautious.

If you have the aptitude to do those types of things, it’s a great way to save money, says Bill Losey. Kevin Timmerman thinks some of these DIY projects, like mowing the lawn, should be looked at as mandatory chores. As Carmen points out, spending money on professionals should be considered a luxury.

But how much can DIY save you? Norma Vally, known as the “Toolbelt Diva” and author of the new series “Norma Valley’s Bathroom/Kitchen Fix-ups” weighs in on DIY nation. “I think folks are really waking up to it,” says Valley, “I’m seeing people who have never, who would never have picked up a project picking up caulk guns and screwdrivers, because they have to.”

For example, a small investment in basic tools, ranging from $8-$20 could potentially save you hundreds, allowing you to do simple jobs without the help of a professional. For instance, $10-$15 caulking gun could save you upwards of $300. “If you have several bathubs and showers, and places around your windows… to find a handyman to do these all these jobs, it will add up. The time that you invest will save you the money,” says Norma Vally.

However, DYI isn't always the best idea. There are some projects that you shouldn’t do yourself, because some more complex projects, if not completed correctly, may have to be redone. Vally points to electrical projects, as oftentimes you’ll have to get an electrician to do an inspection and will charge you anyway. For several reasons, complex electrical projects should probably be done by a professional.

When time is money, consider professional work a luxury when you can do it yourself. It’s a great way to cut corners, and keep some money in your pocket.