Cheap DIY for the home

Having a home, somewhere to store your stuff and do with sort of as you please is fantastic. However homes can quickly become money pits as you have to shell out for things to be fixed, want to upgrade outdated items and generally want to keep it working and in ship shape.

So of course the subject of DIY arises. The problem is many of us are not skilled trade people. We are more likely to cut our wood in wavy artistic lines than the straight square edged pieces we need. More likely to ruin twice as much material as is needed for the job and quickly an attempt to be handy and save a little cash on a simple project ends up costing way more than just paying a professional.

There are many cases where you should just pay a professional but of course there are also many cases where, if confident enough, you can successfully tackle the job yourself.

Here are my tips for making sure DIY stays cheap.

Get good at using tools and learn the skills needed.

toolsProbably the biggest problem is that we simply don’t know how to properly use tools. Whether you have any projects or not learning a few skills can’t go amiss. Simple things like how to properly cut wood, how to handle certain power tools, chain saws and learning about simple techniques such as creating joints will be essential in your DIY future.

Youtube, the net and your library will be the only things you need to get your hands on instructions, tips and techniques. However if you have some pals who will teach you skills for a couple of beers that can be a help too!

Borrow the tools from your friends or pick them up cheaper, used, from garage sales or places like eBay and find scrap material from builder and lumber yards. Just say you are practising and want some old scraps if they have any. I am sure they will be pleased to help.

Plan, plan, plan

My father was a tradesman but I still remember him getting 3/4 of the way through a project at home and realising he messed something up that required some quick thinking. Of course this was usually due to lack of planning.

Plan all your projects out meticulously, know what lengths of material you need, what tools you need and ask your friends to look over it too. Planning seems like it adds time and time is precious but in the long run it will almost always actually save time and money.

Cheap labor….

Just like people may be willing to teach you something for a beer your pals may be happy to muck in for a day or two for a day of fun, music, tasty oven foods and of course beer. Make a day of it and get cheap labor to help with your project in the form of your pals. It will give you something to do with your weekend too!

Know when to give up

If something is costing too much money and you have made a mess of it too many times you may just not be ready. It may be time to throw in the towel and either wait until you have some simpler projects and more skills under your belt before going back or call in a professional.

Use free materials

That practise scrap you picked up may well be great too for small real DIY projects. So go ask for some more. Also if a neighbor is getting rid of some old bits it may be cheaper for you to take it off them than they take it to the dump. Also look on places like freecycle.com for free material and look for natural materials such as driftwood that you can legally take.

Your tips?

So, these are general tips. DIY can be cheap if you approach it right but of course I am sure you have some advice for us all too. So please take the time to leave any thoughts, stories or comments below.

Thanks for reading.

 

6 thoughts on “Cheap DIY for the home”

  1. Youtube has been invaluable for me! You can learn so much from a few short videos.

    Also, if you live in a town with a Home Depot, they usually have free classes on weekends for a lot of home improvement type stuff.

  2. I’ve used YouTube for figuring out how to do a ton of projects. Installing a toilet, putting in flooring, properly using tools, etc. It’s a great free resource to use. Also every house should have one of those 100 piece tool kits. They are usually under $50 and have most tools you need for basic DIY.

  3. eHow.com has all sorts of videos too, even if it doesn’t come out exactly as I hoped – there is a lot to be said for DIY instead of paying someone else to do it ! Plus, it’s easier to forgive a few mistakes

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