Nothing beats the satisfaction of doing something yourself. From fixing a garbage disposal to repairing a shingle on the roof, it’s all good. And money saving, of course.
The first year in my home I hired a plumber to replace a supply valve for one of the toilets. That’s the faucet that supplies the toilet tank with water. It cost me $85.00.
The following year, I bought a book, studied the procedure, and did it myself. The total cost, including tools, was less than $30. The tools are used all over the house. The replacement supply valve was less than $10.00.
I’ve been hooked on DIY ever since. One of the major things I’ve discovered is that DIY doesn’t have to break the bank, or you.
Most things that handy people can do are relatively safe. That allows the money saved to be used for those jobs requiring a pro.
Here are 10 DIY things you can do and save money:
1. Store bought bread as a plumbing aid
This trick is well-known among professional plumbers. I saw it used when I was a child, and have used it ever since.
When cutting a water pipe, even draining the entire plumbing system can leave enough water to have a drizzle or drip, making soldering impossible.
The answer? Take a piece of white store-bought bread, mash it up into a ball, and shove it into the pipe. Now solder in piece. When the water is turned back on, the bread dissolves and is flushed from the system harmlessly.
2. Toothpaste as spackle
This is another time-tested trick.
Also known as “poor-man’s spackle,” “college spackle” and other names, to repair holes from push pins and staples, take a tube of white toothpaste (cheap is good), squeeze out a small amount and work into the holes.
Allow to dry for 24 hours, and apply touch-up paint.
3. Plastic bags and paintbrushes
If painting is going to take longer than a day, don’t worry about cleaning your brush at the end of the day.
Place it in a plastic bag, squeeze the air out and place in the freezer. The next day, take the brush out, and use again.
4. Re-use paint thinner – it’s almost too easy
Paint thinner isn’t exactly cheap. However, it is easy to re-use. After cleaning your brushes, pour the used paint thinner into a plastic bottle and allow it to sit for a couple of days.
The paint will settle to the bottom, and by carefully pouring off the thinner, you can use it again and again.
5. Never buy expensive hand cleaners again
When I work on car engines or my bicycle chain, I no longer use expensive grease-cutting cleansers. I use Dawn dishwashing liquid, or other grease-cutting soap.
Greenpeace and PETA both use it on animals in oil spills. The same oil is used in cars and on bike chains. And it’s far cheaper than the expensive cleaners.
6. Use cooking oil to wash your hands
This sounds crazy, but housewives have used it for years. Use cooking oil, such as canola, to clean oil-based paint off your hands and arms.
Works like a charm. Again, save by not having to buy expensive cleaners- just cheap cooking oil. Get soft hands out of it, as well.
7. Never snake out hair clogs again.
This is a job everyone finds disgusting. Instead of trying to pry out hair clogs, pour a can of hair remover into the drain. Hair removers dissolve hair- drain cleaners don’t. Allow to sit anywhere from 15 minutes to overnight, then rinse down the drain.
8. Avoid grease clogs with ammonia
After several grease clogs from dense roommates, I decided that I would never convince some people grease doesn’t belong in my plumbing.
Since I needed the rent, I decided to try something I learned as a child by goofing around. Every month, (and when they lived in my home, every week), I poured a cup of ammonia in the drains before I went to bed.
The next morning, I used the sink as usual. No more grease clogs. (Of course, when they moved, my secret stayed with me. Now it’s yours.)
9. Quick fix for flat wheelbarrow tires
Stopping in the middle of a project to replace a wheelbarrow tire can send sparks of frustration through the roof. Instead, keep a can of spray insulation on hand.
Open a hole in the side of the tire, and spray to fill it. Allow it to set for a day or two, then use the wheelbarrow until you can get to the hardware store for a replacement.
10. Super-soak your trees
When applying dormant oil, bug spray or other treatment high into trees, don’t waste time hauling out heavy ladders and compromise your balance.
Purchase an inexpensive “super-soaker” type squirt cannon made for children and have fun instead.
Some of these toys hold a quart of water, so by using simple math you know just how much to mix with your sprayer and let your tree have it.
These sprayers easily send streams of water 15-30 feet, saving you a tremendous amount of time and money. Just remember to label it as yours and keep it with the garden tools.
It’s not hard to save money around the house. These easy tricks save time, effort, frustration and money.