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Want to Save Money? These DIY Skills are Essential

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Women can stay on budget with DIY projects

She’s doing these repairs to save money. Pixabay, CC0 Public Domain.

Being able to do things yourself without the help of experts can save you a lot of money in the long run. Here are the areas where you should consider boosting your DIY skills!

Home repair

When most people think about DIY, they think about home repairs. And there are loads of areas to consider here; plumbing, electricity, roofing, breaks in walls and tiles, painting, etc.

The problem here comes when you get a little too eager to save money. While there are some simple jobs you should take on – and there are plenty of good guides online that will show you how – you should also acknowledge when a job is a little too dangerous for you, or requires skill you don’t have. Only the simplest plumbing jobs should be DIY’d, and electrical and roof work should just be left to the experts.

Car maintenance

Car repairs are another matter entirely; what we’re talking about here is the basic maintenance tasks you should be completing fairly often. Checking tire pressure, changing oil, checking coolant, testing brakes – these aren’t things you need to leave to the professionals.

Getting car maintenance done by others can become very expensive – and this generally means that you don’t end up doing it as often as you need to, anyway! Learn how to grasp some of the basics yourself.

Cooking at home is often cheaper than dining out

Woman cutting vegetables and staying within her budget by home cooking. Max pixel, CC0 Public Domain.

Food growth and cooking

Home cooking is often seen as the most expensive way to get your daily food. We’re fairly convinced this myth was started by companies who make pre-prepared foods! The fact is that home cooking, when done correctly and efficiently, can save your hundreds of dollars every year.

Consider checking out a frugal home cooking website such as The Cheap Recipe Blog. If you’re really serious about this, then consider growing whatever produce your garden can handle! This ensures you save as much money as possible – as well as ensuring you get the freshest ingredients you can get.

Holiday decorations and gifts

Easter. Christmas. Halloween. Independence Day. Thanksgiving. Valentine’s Day. There are so many holidays throughout the year. Have you ever added up how much you spend on these things annually? It’s probably not a pretty figure. You should look up ways to bring the DIY mindset to things like gifts, decorations, food, and costumes. MERS Goodwill has some advice for the Easter holidays.

A lot of people assume that bringing a DIY approach to the holidays means that you don’t get the quality your family should get on these special occasions; but if you get skilled enough, then that simply won’t be true!

Sewing and mending

Never underestimate how much money you can end up saving over time if you know how to repair your own clothes – or even make your own in the first place. Sewing and mending are DIY skills that a lot of people assume they don’t need – but it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll come across something at some point that will make you wish you could do it.

Holes in your socks and pockets, tears in your shirts, splits in your pants – the common solution is to simply buy new clothes. But when you can simply fix these things, it becomes clear pretty quickly just how much money you’re throwing down the drain on replacements.

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50 Comments

  1. Sue Dreamwalker June 20, 2017

    Great tips here Christy.. While I do not do my own car maintenance, my hubby would often do lots of the little jobs. And when we were younger and in our courting days, We were always tinkering with engines.. :-)
    We do our own wall papering and decorating, I knit, and sew and have made my own clothes.. Cooking always from fresh and from scratch.. :-) And when times were tougher, I would make gifts and greeting cards.. :-) And the home made greeting cards are now a desired luxury lol..
    Wonderful ideas here Christy.. I think we should all embrace DIY… and you have such pride in your creations :-)
    Sending Love and Blessings
    Sue xx <3

    Reply
    1. Christy B June 21, 2017

      Sue, you have many DIY skills! And don’t forget your ability to make us smile too :) Thank you for sharing your experiences and your hubby’s too – sending you both much love for your day and beyond <3

    2. Sue Dreamwalker June 22, 2017

      :-D I think the SMILE one is the MOST important of them all.. :-) lol So thank YOU dear Christy.. you just made Me smile xxx

  2. poeturja June 20, 2017

    Beautiful and sensible post! I remember one year I couldn’t afford to give my sons presents (they were 11 and 14). I asked them what they would want of mine if I was dead and they both immediately requested my crystal pendant and turquoise pendant. I think those were their best gifts and they still mention them. I’ll also remark on the home cooking. I got into a terrible habit of being exhausted from work and would buy just about any kind of take-out because I couldn’t face the cooking task. When I noticed how ill I felt (high salt, sugar & fat content) I forced myself to relax and cook no matter how the day went at work. In no time, I got to the point where I could never eat anything but my own cooking and I felt so much healthier. Thanks for your always-interesting tips!

    Reply
    1. Christy B June 21, 2017

      Awww your note about gifting your precious jewels to your children is a touching memory. Perhaps it could even inspire a poem or short memoir post on your blog? I am glad you now favor home cooking over takeout as it is so much healthier. Plus, you have total control over what you’re eating when it comes from your own kitchen :)

  3. GP Cox June 20, 2017

    Great post as always, Christy!!
    I’ve been wondering if you ever did a post, sort of based on this sketch’s theme?
    https://pacificparatrooper.files.wordpress.com/2017/06/001-e1497982764252.jpg

    Reply
    1. Christy B June 21, 2017

      GP!! You’re so great for suggesting the inspiration! I’ll add it to my to-write list :) The “We Can Do It!” poster needs to be highlighted. Thank you

    2. GP Cox June 21, 2017

      From the moment I saw it, I thought of you!

  4. Resa June 20, 2017

    Great tips.
    Wow, you even mentioned sewing. Not many learn to sew anymore. Sad to say, but there’s no money in it as a skill career, and it takes a lot of time and patience to learn.
    Nellie said, in what I read this morning… they didn’t even own sewing machines. Of course that would be a treadle, but it was a huge labor saving device. Now we have H&M. Fashionable clothes that are so cheap, they are like tissues in a box.
    I think growing and preparing food is the #1 tip you present here. The rewards are beyond just saving money & being healthy. The true reward is insight and respect for the life cycle.

    Reply
    1. Christy B June 21, 2017

      It’s also good to shop at second-hand stores, which not only gives you the satisfaction of getting a good deal but knowing new clothes aren’t being made for your consumption (recycling at its finest!) ~ Plus there’s so many unique designs, rather than being a carbon copy of ten others on the rack! Hugs xx

  5. Amy Caudill June 20, 2017

    Excellent post, Christy. Home cooking truly can save a lot of money over purchasing pre-packaged foods or simply eating out, and it can be much healthier too, because when cooking at home, we are less likely to add all the sodium, preservatives, and additives found in packaged or mass produced “fast” food.

    Reply
    1. Christy B June 21, 2017

      And a friend recently told me that fast food isn’t that cheap anymore either! Thanks Amy xx I saw you read a lot of posts and I appreciate the support :)

  6. Great tips and more over motivating all to be independent!!

    Reply
    1. Christy B June 23, 2017

      Independence, yes!!

  7. Jay June 20, 2017

    There are great tips, especially that there are limits to them, and that sometimes it’s more economical in the long-run to have a professional do it. But there are lots of things we can do ourselves. We just have to be honest about how much our time is worth, and whether we can more afford time, or money. That’s the constant push-pull.

    Reply
    1. Christy B June 23, 2017

      Balancing time with effort and value, an equation to bear in mind for sure!

  8. milfordstreet June 20, 2017

    Doesn’r YouTube make DIY so much easier than it used to be?!

    Reply
    1. Christy B June 21, 2017

      OHHHHH yes! I fixed my toilet several months ago with the help of a DIY video ;)

    2. milfordstreet June 21, 2017

      I’ve done so many things with DIY videos. It’s also helped with learning technology. 👍🏼

  9. Jacqui Murray June 20, 2017

    What happened that we don’t think this is the norm anymore? So glad it’s coming back.

    Reply
  10. Anita June 21, 2017

    Great tips, thank you so much dear Kristy for good sharing
    Have a very nice day
    Kisses

    Reply
  11. Invisibly Me June 21, 2017

    I’m awful at pretty much everything you’ve just listed! I really should do something about that, especially with car maintenance because I do find myself feeling rather vulnerable when something isn’t quite right because I literally don’t have a clue. Great post, will have to invest some time in building my skill set!
    Caz x

    Reply
    1. Christy B June 21, 2017

      It’s worth at least learning the basics and/or who to call if you’re in a bind. I can change my oil, for example, and put air in tires. You don’t need to go too much in depth. Also, be sure to learn what to do if you’re in a car accident (flashers on, etc.) ~ Hugs

  12. Rajagopal June 21, 2017

    Useful tips Christy, though I must admit I cannot boast of any significant DIY skill….😋

    Reply
    1. Christy B June 21, 2017

      Haha Raj, that’s okay as I think your best skill is found in your writing – now THAT is where your talent lies :)

  13. Prajakta June 21, 2017

    Some great points to ponder upon … especially in the light of moving into our apartment. Already incorporating some in the kitchen… will look the ones on decorating 😀

    Reply
    1. Christy B June 21, 2017

      It’s very exciting about your recent move, Prajakta :) So glad these tips will be useful for you in this phase of your life! DIY fun :)

  14. vivachange77 June 21, 2017

    I’ve never been much of a DIY person until lately. I write poems to my grandchildren for special occasions.

    Reply
  15. dgkaye June 21, 2017

    Lol, I almost was going to write a book about DIY home renovations. I’ve done a few, but my last house, hub and I did MUCH of the work gutting a house. I didn’t hire a contractor, but I hired trades. It wasn’t my first rodeo but enough to make it my last. :) xx

    Reply
    1. Christy B June 23, 2017

      I didn’t realize you’re a DIYer, Debby :) You have so many talents!! Loving your tips guides, including the shopping one that mentions The Bay.

    2. dgkaye June 23, 2017

      Oh yes my friend, Jill of all trades, master of some, lol. And I admit, I’m a Bay junkie, lol/ :) xx

    3. Christy B June 24, 2017

      Haha ;) You’re adorable!

    4. dgkaye June 24, 2017

      :) xx

    5. Christy B June 24, 2017

      ♥ :) ♥

  16. Jeri Walker (@JeriWB) June 21, 2017

    Groceries are the one area I could really stand to curtail what I spend, so thanks for the link to the cheap recipes blog.

    Reply
    1. Christy B June 23, 2017

      Hopefully the resource will be helpful for you. I’m all about the flyers :)

  17. Anna (apeaceoflife) June 22, 2017

    Absolutely! We’ve been on a tight budget most of our married life, but hubby is amazing at this stuff. We recently got a free leather sofa as a friend bought a new one because this one was broken. Hubby has reinforced it with wood and bolts and it’s great! Great post, keep up the good work! x

    Reply
    1. Christy B June 23, 2017

      That’s awesome about the free sofa – and leather too! It’s great that your hubby knows how to DIY :) I’m glad to connect with you here in the blogging world!

    2. Anna (apeaceoflife) June 23, 2017

      Likewise :) great to know someone like-minded with the scrimping ;) x

  18. I have had to live very close to the bone due to the choices I’ve made as a helping professional, Christy – and you did an excellent job with the suggestions in this article of what we any of us can learn to DIY. I have saved many thousands of dollars in this manner.

    I almost never eat out (and VERY rarely eat fast food), I own power tools and use them for all sorts of odd jobs like building shelves, hanging window coverings, etc, I have always made most of my own Christmas decorations, etc., and I sew (alterations and repairs, mostly – but I do make house things like curtains, duvets, etc).

    Since I didn’t own a car for over 20 years (NYC), since moving away I know practically NOTHING about doing my own maintenance, however, nor do I have a place to do them, since I rent. Figuring that out is one thing I need to put on my to-do list. Even though my mechanic is very reasonable, I know I could tighten my belt even further if I learned more about my van. THAT was my big take-away. THANKS.

    btw- I thought I WAS following you. Not sure if you got bumped or I didn’t follow through (no pun intended), but ’tis rectified now. Thanks for not giving up on me meanwhile. :)
    xx,
    mgh
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
    ADD/EFD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
    “It takes a village to educate a world!”

    Reply
    1. Christy B June 23, 2017

      Hi Madelyn, I would never give up on you! I recognize your posts as top-quality so it means a lot that you’ve taken time to comment here on DIY as it relates to your life. It sounds like you are saving money and still living a full life, which is exactly what I want to read. And I understand that being self-employed isn’t always the fame and riches it promises on TV so we’re doing our best out there to live on budgets. Sending love <3

    2. Thank you so much for the acknowledgment, Christy. For me self-employment was one of the few choices available to me, given that my sleep disorder made a 9-5 schedule impossible.

      I’d no doubt be in better economic shape today but for my “helping addiction” – lol – so DIY is the only way I’ve been able to make it work at all.

      But, as you say, the majority of us are doing our best to live on budgets that are restrictive.

      Who buys all that stuff that gets marketed to us everywhere we look? :) I haven’t met many.
      xx,
      mgh

  19. I recently installed feather finish countertops in my kitchen. I was TERRIFIED to start, but I was absolutely elated with the results (I still am). But being able to do it myself really was the most rewarding part. Now I have the rest of the kitchen to do. Ugh. Lol

    Reply
  20. Scarlett Skillman June 25, 2017

    Great post! It really makes life easier (and cheaper) when you can fix things on your own. Luckily, I have been blessed with a husband who has taught me so much in the realms of home and car maintenance! (I can now successfully use most power tools on my own!)

    Reply
    1. Christy B June 26, 2017

      Wonderful! Your family is in true DIY spirit :)

  21. alanapersad July 28, 2017

    Love this article..

    Reply
  22. theartifiedmind July 30, 2017

    That’s a nice article. We have so many skills which we will know only when we explore our hands in these common chores

    Reply
  23. Sara August 6, 2017

    This is the honest truth! It is so empowering (and financially savvy) to DIY!

    Reply
    1. Christy B August 7, 2017

      Loving the enthusiasm of your comment, Sara!!

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