5 Important Do It Yourself Tips

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I’m a big fan of doing it yourself.  However, I will always hire a pro when:
1. The project is important.  For example, I would never aim to re-wire my electrical system, run a new gas line, or put in a new roof because I lack the appropriate skill set. And even if I was able to learn the skill in record time, I would not want to use my house as an experiment to test my skills.

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2. The time needed to complete the project exceeds the time I have or want to spend.  For example, if you’re currently renovating your bathroom, but have another full bath in the house, then it does not makes sense to hire a pro (given you have all the skills needed) even if the job will take longer via doing it yourself.  Conversely, if you’re deciding on whether to renovate your kitchen via do it yourself, but have never hung cabinets before, for example, it may make sense to hire a pro (because it may take you 6 months to put up your cabinets and in turn be without a fully functioning kitchen).
With the above said, there are many do if yourself projects that most people can handle which will save both time and money:
1. Landscaping.  Everyone can mow their own lawn and shovel their driveway and sidewalk.  There is no logical reason to pay someone to complete mindless tasks (if you do this, you’re just lazy).

2. Cleaning.  Cleaning your house is not rocket science, it just takes a few hours each week to wash your floors, dust, clean your bathrooms, vacuum, etc.  Hiring a cleaner is another colossal waste of money and, in my view, is, again, lazy.
3. General household, and vehicle, maintenance.  This list include painting, washing windows, patching your driveway, putting in a new outlet, replacing a light fixture, replacing your car’s oil and filter, and fixing basic/general things.  I read somewhere recently that the average number of home repair items a man or woman can address has actually declined over the last 30 years (that is to say, no one is doing their own home repairs anymore).  If you are going to do many of the items above, I would suggest you have access to the following tools/equipment.Further, Popular Mechanics magazine cites 100 skills every man/woman should know.
4. Cooking.  Don’t go out to eat (keep in mind that outside major cities in the US, most restaurants are mediocre at best), instead buy high quality ingredients and experiment at home.  After a full year of cooking, you’ll have mastered many dishes and also have lost of few pounds from not eating out.  Look around Scordo.com, there are plenty of recipes, including advice on how to shop for food. If you’re into wine, you can either make you own or read though my guide to wine!
5. Ditch the financial planner.  If you’re paying someone to manage your money you’re most likely a bit disengaged from your finances.  Instead, spend a year educating yourself and invest in low cost index funds (say, Vanguard) and bonds (and make sure to build up an emergency cash fund of between 6-9 months and max out your 401K contribution).
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