Thursday, April 7, 2011

DIY Money Mistakes

People become DIYers for various reasons. One reason that usually rises to the top is the desire to save money. Back when we bought our first house we couldn't afford to hire anyone else and we had a fix-it upper house. The only house we could afford at the time. Well, unless we wanted to live next door to a meth house in a bad neighborhood, then we had more options.
Over the years, with many DIY projects under my melt, I've still made plenty of mistakes. Some of the best decisions I've made regarding DIY projects is hiring someone else for the project. Learn from some of my mistakes.
My Top 5 Mistakes:
1. Budgeting: Mistakes in budgeting or costly errors are going to eat up your bank account. When we decided to roof our house I thought I had every cost down. I went over my spreadsheet with a fine tooth comb. Even the tricky "hips" on our roof I figured out how to accurately estimate (tip: Ask a pro and then buy them great beer for their troubles. Value the ten minutes they gave you for what it truly is- priceless.). We had a crew of friends come down for the weekend. Great free labor! Right? Well, I spent $300 on food and beer. My mistake was not in providing great food and beer for our friends. You need to reward your help! My mistake was that I forgot to add that in the budget.
2. Oops- I broke it: If you break something are you going to be able to fix it? You either have to spend time and money fixing what you broke or get a professional to come in and help. A broken pipe because husband was too rough costed us. If memory serves me right, it was a dishwasher being installed and he was getting annoyed. Oops.
3. Not double checking sources: Just because they work at Home Depot doesn't mean they know what they are talking about. Make sure your source is accurate. Online forums are a great resource but even "professionals" in the forum can get it wrong and just because they call themselves a professional, doesn't mean they are.
4. Time estimated: My good friend's husband ripped up her kitchen for their first DIY project thinking it would take under a month to finish. I think he said two weeks was his goal. Imagine not having a kitchen for four months and having to cook off an electric frying pan as your source for heat. Her kitchen fiasco almost led to a divorce. I always assume it's going to take me twice as long as I plan for a project.
5. Not researching: My first newbie mistake was not researching. Before my first house I had never even painted! I had to paint everything in my new house and I thought, "How hard can it be?" The time and energy spent repainting because I used the wrong paint on paneling and the dark wood bled through was a big lesson for me. Don't assume anything.
Mistakes are normal and hopefully you learn from your own. But I believe it's always better to learn from someone else's mistakes. Stay safe!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Wannabe DIYer

Over the years I've done many DIY projects: tiling, roofing, painting, installing countertops, landscaping... the list goes on. I like planning the project, budgeting, finding the best prices, researching but I am a little wimpy on the actual doing end. I do it, but if it's heavy lifting or demolishing, my great husband steps in. I'm also wary of the generator and other big machines.

This past year has been a year of dreaming about DIY projects I want to do on my house. With no job and lots of time to think, I have been planning DIY for my house that I can't actually do right now. Besides basic upkeep (painting and staining our deck) most things are on hold. We might do a project or two this summer but most are scaled back.

This blog is my way to dream and plan my DIY house projects and maybe next year I can actually do them.  Dreaming is the best part anyway.