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After a weekend spent working around the house, I was reminded of the value of being able to make simple fixes yourself. I’m a reasonably handy guy, and I take a certain amount of pride in being able to fix simple plumbing, electrical, etc. problems myself.
Beyond the satisfaction that comes from maintaining my own house, there are a number of financial rewards associated with doing this.
1. Doing it yourself means that you don’t have to pay someone else to do it. Given how much electricians, plumbers, etc. charge per hour, your savings can be substantial.
2. Depending on how you’re paid, hiring someone else to repair things instead of doing can cost you a decent chunk of money in terms of lost wages. Given that most professional tradesmen work business hours, someone will have to be available to meet them, explain the problem, and then babysit them while they finish the job.
3. Often times people put off minor problems off until they become major problems, primarily in the interest of saving money in the short term. But guess what? Major problems can cost disproportionately more to fix than minor problems. If you knew how to make basic repairs, you’d be able to head a lot of these things off before they get out of hand.
4. Finally, depending on the sort of problem that you’re experiencing, the fix itself can result in direct savings. For example, we had a couple of leaky toilets. The fix was dead easy — it took a grand total of about 2 minutes to replace the “flapper” in each toilet (ignoring the time required to buy the replacement parts). And yet, from here on out we’ll be saving money on our water bill. It might not be a lot, but everything counts.
The good news is that, if you don’t know how to do any of this stuff, salvation can almost certainly be found online. While I typically just end up Googling to find what I need, there are also some nice one-stop repositories of do-it-yourself, such as eHow.com, DoItYourself.com, and Instructables.com that can serve as good general resources.
(Note that Instructables tends to feature more cool hacks and fewer simple fixes, but it’s still worth a look. Thanks Tyler!)