Then there is that gray area: hiring out services due to ignorance or inability. Most people, myself included, will hire roofers to replace their shingles. The truth is, the work itself isn't rocket science, but I'm scared to death of falling off the steep, second story roofs at my townhouses. Car repairs are another common area we Americans love to farm out to professionals.
Years ago I discovered that Youtube has how-to videos on just about everything. A recent example: Having never changed my cabin air filter in the Corolla, I was appalled by the $50 my local chain store mechanic wanted, even after he showed me how filthy the filter was. This morning I found a video that, in less than 90 seconds, showed me exactly how to change the filter. Using a coupon from Facebook, I visited my local Auto Zone and picked up the filter. The filter was $14.99, plus I saved 20% with my coupon (technically I saved $10 off my $50 purchase, as I bought a few other parts while there), so my new cabin filter only cost me $12. Replacing the filter took me under one minute. Seriously.
For sacrificing one minute of my precious time, I saved $38.
Here are a few other easy repairs I have learned to do, as well as the estimated do-it-yourself savings:
- I learned to replace the capacitor in an air conditioner. It's one of the most common parts to fail during warm weather months. DIY Cost: $10, 30 minutes; Pro Cost: $150-$200
- Replace Your Car's Air Filter. DIY Cost: $15, 2 minutes; Pro Cost: $20
- Change a Blown Bulb in Your Car. DIY Cost: $10, 15 minutes; Pro Cost: $60
- Coil Cleaning outside HVAC unit. DIY Cost: $10, 20 minutes; Pro Cost: $120
- Replace an Electrical Outlet. DIY Cost: $5, 5 minutes; Pro Cost: $75
- Replace a Toilet: DIY Cost: $75, 45 minutes; Pro Cost: $250
- Install new Light Fixture: DIY Cost: $10-$50, 15 minutes; Pro Cost: $85-$125
- Replace a Shower Diverter: DIY Cost: $10, 10 minutes; Pro Cost: $75
I could go on and one. It is easy and convenient to hire someone to do it for you. And the truth is, sometimes you just need to go pro. I haven't (yet!) replaced a water heater by myself, nor am I comfortable installing exterior doors. I could figure out how to do these things, but previous bad experiences have taught me to know my limitations. The challenge for me is to take the time to learn how to repair things myself. It feels great when I figure something out that saves me money.