DIY is my mantra. One of my best defenses against paying too much for anything is knowing how to do it myself. Over the years, in an effort to stay in my budget and to teach my children to be self-reliant, I have learned many very useful skills that have saved me enormous amounts of money. Here are just a few of them.
Take and retouch headshots
A professional headshot can cost anywhere from $150 to $500 before retouching. You can learn digital photography at your local community college or occupational center for a fraction of the cost of the tuition at a fancy art school. If you are really good at learning on your own, then there are tons of free online tutorials on photography and retouching. An excellent subscription online software tutorial site that I have used for years is Lynda. For $25 a month you have access to fabulous tutorials on just about every piece of art software that exists.
Check the fluids in your car
All of my mechanics in the past have told me that if people only checked and maintained fluid levels in their cars, mechanics would practically go out of business. Many major car repairs can be avoided by proper maintenance, thereby saving you a bundle of money. By watching YouTube videos on the subject and asking my mechanics to show me, I have learned where and how to check my vehicle’s fluids. Search with the make and model of your car and you can most likely see how your engine should look.
Alter your own clothes
This is a skill that I learned as part of my visits to Swap O Rama Ramas where I also scooped up hundreds of dollars of free clothes. Who knew that you could actually cut down and re-sew a t-shirt so that it looked attractive?
Read musical notations
Music gives me great pleasure. Instead of feeling like I need to take a vacation to chill out, I can just spend some time with music. Check out your local library for how-to videos for kids. If you really want to understand music the easy way, then I suggest attending one of Duncan Lorien’s “The Understanding of Music” seminars. I’ve taken this seminar before and it is simply brilliant. Plus, it comes with a 100% money-back guarantee.
Build things out of wood
Great and free places to start to learn how to handle a hammer and nails are the free workshops given at Home Depot and Lowes. Lowes has how-to project videos online as well as free kids clinics each Saturday morning. Learning to be your own handy person can save you up to $100 an hour on simple repairs.
Along with the savings you get when you do things for yourself, you also gain competence and the satisfaction of knowing that you can do things yourself. What are your favorite DIY sites?