Do-it-yourself saves money

DIYs are some of the best ways to save money. That means ‘do it yourself’, rather than pay someone else, or buy something new.

This isn’t always well received at our house because my husband says that it usually means I come up with the idea, and he has to execute it – never a good plan. However, I am capable of doing some things myself such as painting. At our house it is always assumed that if there is a painting project, then it is mine to do.

Recently our son needed a new roof, but on a limited budget he needed to do most of the work himself. That included stripping the shingles, sending the old shingles to the dump, and schlepping the new shingles up to the roof. He did pay someone more experienced to install them properly. The result was a savings of half what he was quoted by a professional roofing company.

At one time we were contemplating hiring a lawn service, but my husband has decided that using his push mower will be his weekend exercise, thereby saving us money over the summer.

Large DIY projects are not for everybody, but there are so many projects available to do at all levels. I have recently found a website, that provides you with more projects and ideas than you can imagine – or ever have time for – and provides a good source of creativity and inspiration. There are so many ways of recreating something and recycling and reusing (those “green” words for being cheap).

I saw a couple of filing cabinet makeovers that I would like to try. I have the ugly old cabinet, a tin of half-used spray paint, and some leftover wallpaper so I am all set to go – if I ever find the time!

Or you can buy china plates from the dollar store or thrift store and write clever sayings on them with a Sharpie. Bake  in the oven at 66˚C (150˚F) for 30 minutes and your handiwork is permanent. This would make a novel gift for a friend, someone’s retirement, or a themed party! It makes it so personal. I have bought cheap wine glasses and used the etching material from the craft store to put musical notes on them. They were a big hit with my musician friends.

One thing I recently saw that anybody could make was a cell phone charger holder. By simply cutting up an emptied lotion bottle, you can craft a super cheap charging station. Find a preferably flat-backed lotion bottle that will fit your cell phone. Then cut down the bottle to a cup shape at the front, leaving the back higher to fit over an outlet. On the higher back, cut out the square for your outlet. Depending on your level of creativity, you can spray paint, add fabric, or just leave the original design on the bottle. When your phone and charger are plugged in everything is up off the counter or the floor. What a great idea. I bought something similar and it cost me $15.

I hope this column has given you a few ideas and helped to inspire you. It did me. I recently saw a great corner storage unit for outside, but it involves lumber and cutting… which might require my husband to execute the DIY. Hmmm… maybe I should stick to phone charger. Have fun!

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