Since I bought my first foreclosure and set about rehabbing the bathroom, living room and exterior of the house I’ve developed some serious do-it-yourself (DIY) skills. These weren’t skills I brought to the table from the beginning. I had to learn them out of necessity because it was how I was going to make my housing costs profitable in the long run.
Since that time I’ve leveraged those skill into a self-employment gig as well as being able to save money on a wide variety of services that in a former life I would have hired out. Today I want to share with you a problem that occurred this week and how fixing it myself saved me money.
Remember when I told you about loving self-employment? Well, Monday wasn’t a day I would have been motivated to write such an article. Nope, this day was a little more challenging. It was colder than I would prefer and not only would my truck not start while still on a jobsite, but my air compressor decided to stop working as well! Never fear though, DIY man is here!
Last summer I wrote a post outlining ways to maximize an emergency fund. It wasn’t focused on how much should be in such a fund, it simply discussed five ways of getting the most out of those funds and number five was developing DIY skills. When you know you can tackle certain problems on your own it gives you freedom to choose which way of handling a problem works best for you instead of being forced to rely on money to fix every problem.
I was able to get the truck started and stopped at a parts store to have them test the battery and alternator as I knew it was likely to be one of the two. I was hoping it was the battery as that would be a quick fix, but I have to give credit to the Universe, at least she was being consistent today. It was the alternator.
This is where you have a choice. Do the repair yourself or take it to the shop and have a mechanic do it for you. Can you guess which option I chose?
I’m not a mechanic and I’ve never changed out an alternator before, but I thought I was up to the task. I made a couple of calls and was told that it wasn’t a hard fix. Take out a few bolts, disconnect a few wires and BOOM! you’re done. So I picked up the part which cost me $121.88 and spent an hour and fifteen minutes changing the parts. My truck is running again, I saved money, added a new skill to my repertoire, and enjoyed a sense of satisfaction that comes with fixing problems yourself.
Out of curiosity I called a mechanic to see what the cost of having the repair done for me would be. It would have cost $390.00. I’m happy I kept that $268.12 in my own pocket instead of transferring it to someone else.
I’m not saying that every project should be done in-house, but so much of how we live our lives is outsourced to others. Having DIY skills offers you a choice in how to deal with life’s problems and I would argue that there is a certain amount of value in having that choice vs. being locked in to one course of action, which is using money to fix all problems.
Which options is more appealing to you and why?