By staff writer Bobbi Burger Brunoehler.
My hubby is AMAZING! Our daughter woke us at midnight to say water was leaking from first floor ceiling. Hubby had it under control in 20 minutes! If he wasn’t such an awesome handy-hubby, it would have caused extensive water damage, not to mention a big dent in our budget and a huge spike in my stress.
Over the years, having a husband who knows how to fix things has saved us many thousands of dollars (there are estimates below but cost varies greatly with parts and how much the repair person will charge per hour and their minimum.) Just this year he has:
- fixed the water dispenser on our fridge (Saving us $675 – the cost of a new-used fridge of the same model because it is just about impossible to fix this type of water dispenser without replacing a part that costs more than the fridge.)
- given our ailing washing machine a few extra months of life ($150 plus part costs)
- put the legs back on the ping pong table when I tried to use it to hold super heavy boxes ($75 the cost of the table that I purchased on craigslist. No one else would have attempted to put the legs back on.)
- rewired a light that was no longer working ($150 – electrician @$75/hour with a two hour minimum)
- installed my new printer (computer geeks charge between $25 and $150 an hour)
- put the screen door back on its track (A 10 minute job that a regular handyman would have charged me a two hour minimum of at least $100. I would have had to bundle it with other jobs.)
- and the before-mentioned emergency air conditioner water leak (Depending on how long it took to see the problem and then figure out what the problem was, this job could have run into thousands of dollars including replacing part of our ceiling and the floor above plus mold remediation. I shutter at the thought.)
He has done even more things, but I don’t want to sound braggy.
Not everyone has a handy-hubby or a handy-wife, but that doesn’t mean that you have to pay top dollar for all your repairs. I am not a fan of home warranties since I don’t think that they actually save you money.
Here are five ways to save on home repair.
- Research how to DIY on the internet. One of the beauties of the internet is that you can find a video or blog that can tell you how to fix or make just about anything. Even if you feel that the repair is over your head, at least you know what kind of steps need to be done to fix your problem. YouTube, Instructables, eHow and FamilyHandyman are my first go-to sites when I want to learn how to do something.
- Go to manufacturer site. If something has gone wrong with an item that you have purchased for a big manufacturer, chances are that you are not the only person that this happened to. Many times there are instructions on how to troubleshoot this problem on the manufacturer’s site. This is particularly true of electronics.
- Join or start a Time Bank. A Time Bank is a community group that facilitates the exchange of time and talent. Maybe you don’t have handyman skills, but you have another skill that other’s need. A Time Bank makes it possible to barter those skills, but perhaps not directly.
- Barter. Similar to a Time Bank but less structured, you can barter with just about anyone. Even the local handyman might be interesting in bartering with you. You won’t know unless you ask. In a barter situation, it is considered correct that you will pay for materials at cost and it is the service time that will be exchanged.
- Save money on materials. Most people who do repairs make a lot of their money from marking up materials. The standard is a 100% markup. Now you can’t fault them for marking up these materials because a) they know how to get the best deal on them from vendors that they have developed relationships with and b) they spend their time fetching these parts. However, you can always say that YOU will buy the material and just have them install it. Depending on what kind of repair you are doing, consider using second hand parts from an auto dissembler or an appliance part site. My favorite appliance part site (which has great how-to instructions) is Repair Clinic.
Do you know of other ways to save money on home repair?
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