DIY: The impact of do-it-yourself on your finances

DIY _do it yourself

My late uncle Paul nicknamed me ‘commando’ in my childhood days, all because of my keen interest in movies at the time. Well, it appears that interest never died out except that it expanded from action movies to other genres- comedy, drama, adventure or even horror so long as the storyline is exciting. Watching movies, in particular Hollywood movies, has long been one of my hobbies.

Now, there is a particular feature about Hollywood movies I admire. It concerns how the movie performers often utilise DIY (do-it-yourself) approach to fix repairs in their homes. If you have equally been following Hollywood movies, you would realise that routine home repairs are generally done by individuals or couples without paying extra bucks to professionals.

Do-it-yourself, abbreviated as DIY, is the concept of repairing, modifying or doing things on your own instead of hiring an expert.

 

DIY _do it yourself
          ‘I can fix it; so can you’

 

See also: 4 SMART financial decisions I had made in the past

The scope of DIY

DIY has primarily been popular in basic home repairs. Nevertheless, the concept continues to spread across many different fields, even in challenging areas. In fact, DIY now extends to the building of start-up businesses by entrepreneurs who prefer to stay on a budget. For example, many online business owners utilise DIY approach to build and run their companies on their own.

Do-it-yourself goes along with having some skills in different specialised areas. This could be crafting, painting, tailoring, masonry or even carpentry. In a way, it exposes you to extra skills to be able to solve various basic problems.

DIY _interior painting
A couple employing DIY skills for their interior painting

 

There is something extra in every being. We only have to discover and put them into good use. Arguably, we were not born holding onto a single talent or skill. Rather, the era of specialisation has shaped us so, limiting and confining us to specific sectors. Specialisation conditions our minds in a way that we ignore our strengths in other fields.

DIY _specialisation effects

Encouraging do-it-yourself habits in your lifestyle can however shape you into a multi-skilled individual, with the capacity to resolve general basic issues like the ones listed above.

Impact of DIY

Imagine the cost savings if you were to personally fix a number of issues on your own. To some extent, every task you do on your own corresponds to money savings since you avoid paying an expert. That is what DIY primarily aim to achieve. Even though the savings per each task may not seem significant, overall, DIY can cumulatively have a positive impact on your finances in the long term.

Besides the potential savings, do-it-yourself can help you fix or make things in the very way you want. With the appropriate skills and tools, it is likely that you would take your time to make things to your own satisfaction. Just like Napoleon stated:

If you want a thing done well, do it yourself

Taking advantage of internet resources

A number of DIY fields require some knowledge and skills. Surely, we need something to accomplish something. Fortunately, with the growing pace of internet, access to information is now closer than it used to be decades ago. The internet is great- Maximising the use of it can be very helpful. Thanks to the internet, you can easily do a lot of stuff you couldn’t do before. On a daily basis, several thousands of how-to tutorials keep flooding online. Even though some may not be up to expectations, dozens of existing quality ones can still serve as useful resources.

 

I have in particular made use of online resources to get things done on my own. More recently, I was able to fix a television on the wall after following online tutorials. I may not be able to estimate the savings I made. However, I do believe that the cost of hiring a technician to mount the television on the wall could be somewhat significant.

 

Likewise, I learnt how to prepare ‘shito’ after watching video tutorials on YouTube. Shito is a popular pepper sauce in many Ghanaian communities. Although my first attempt tasted crispy, subsequent ones were fabulous that I turned out to be shito-cooking mentor for my wife 🙂

 

Moreover, it is the existence of online tutorials and tools that has helped me build and run sikasem.org to date. Indeed, many website owners, with less technical know-how, similarly depend on online tutorials to manage their sites.

DIY Toolbox

One of the means to successful DIY, particularly for home maintenance, is to have a well-stocked toolbox in place. Having just the skills may not be complete without applicable tools. At the least, you may begin with handy tools such as tape measure, screw driver, hammer, plier, spanner and other simple tools.

DIY _toolbox
DIY may not be complete without appropriate tools

 

It is however advisable not to suddenly spend huge money on tools you would hardly use. Definitely, purchasing tools only to find them in idle state would not be worth it. Importantly, you should start with a few basic tools you would regularly need. As your DIY skills improve, you can then invest more in other tools. During this stage, you may add tools such as handsaw or even a power drill just like what I used to mount my television on the wall. The main focus is to go by stages, instead of jumping immediately to fix bigger issues.

You may also like: Six financial habits to put you in shape

The bottom line

DIY (do-it-yourself) extends broadly to different areas, beyond home repairs. Employing a few DIY skills in your lifestyle can be useful considering the potential positive impact on your finances. It could be clipping your hair on your own instead of going to the barbers, especially if you maintain simple hairstyle. It could be doing your own manicure or pedicure instead of going to the salon. It could even be making your own gift packages for seasonal holidays and parties. What about planning your wedding on your own instead of hiring a wedding planner?

 

Don’t be limited by your core profession- Try your hands on other things and put your vocational skills to work for your benefit. Finally, take advantage of the useful tutorials on the internet. A simple online search can yield answers to help you fix problems. Certainly, your first try may not be that perfect but just like they say, “Practicing makes a man perfect”.

 

Six financial habits to put you in shape

financial habits

When it comes to positive financial habits, the list can be indefinite. Among these are six common ones elaborated below:

      1. Save! Save! Save!

“Saving” is not a new financial jargon that must be strange to many of us. Nonetheless, this is one of financial habits we mostly fail to live up to. Saving is one of the fundamental pillars of personal finance management. In fact, all the blah blah blah we hear about personal finance boils down to saving. Besides earning an income, you need to save periodically in order to fulfill your major financial obligations. In fact, not all moneys are meant to be spent- some need to be retained. The farmer, after harvesting his crops, does not consume all edible seeds. He retains some seeds for re-cultivation. Consider your income as edible seeds. You have the option to either consume (spend) all seeds or re-cultivate some in the soil (save or invest) for future harvest.

financial habits
Image courtesy of www.tradingandinvestmentnews.co.uk

One question that has been on the minds of many people is “how much must we save?” Answering this would vary from one individual to another, based on many factors. Personally, my advice is that you aim to save at least 20% of your regular income. If you can do better than this, why not go for it? The more you save (and invest), the earlier you accomplish your financial goals. Achieving this may require self-discipline and a bit of simple or frugal lifestyle. A common trick to increase your savings’ percentage is by budgeting close to a low income. In other words, live on a tight fixed budget as if you’re a low income earner. For instance, assuming you earn GHS 450, you may budget as if you earn GHS 350 so that the extra GHS 100 can be put in savings. This may sound challenging for many, especially if you’re new to the culture of saving. However, you can begin with a little, let’s say 5%, and gradually increase over time.

      2. Open at least one investment account

It’s a good practice to consistently save from your earnings, but it is more prudent to invest these savings afterwards. The benefits associated with Continue reading “Six financial habits to put you in shape”