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Monday, May 28, 2012

Do it yourself

My dad taught me a valuable lesson a long time ago. I could either learn how to do a lot of things for myself, of I’d have to make a lot of money to pay people to do those things. Good thing I like to learn how to do things as the money thing never really worked out for me. Making money for its own sake just never caught my fancy. Once basic needs are taken care of, more money becomes a sort of score card for a game that doesn’t interest me.

Of course, that’s all well and good when things are going well. Some days they don’t. Some days it’s not possible to fix what needs to be fixed. Maybe my skills are not quite up to the task at hand, or tools are lacking, or some key bit of information is missing. Maybe it’s just one of those days. Instead of a bolt coming free it breaks. A ten minute job becomes a two day job. It can be depressing at times.

Then I think of what it would be like if I had money but no skills. I’d never know if a garage mechanic was ripping me off or not. Lots of stuff that could be easily fixed would be replaced instead. I’d be at the mercy at every service provider.

I’ve a brother-in-law who made good money, but lacked practical skills. He puts up with all kinds of crap that would drive me nuts. For months he kept bumping his head on a low hanging ceiling lamp. No handyman was available to fix it. It was a two minute job with basic hand tools to shorten the chain it hung from.

Now he’s retired and doesn’t have quite as much money coming in. Hiring people to fix things isn’t always in the budget, but stuff still needs to be fixed. It’s the worse of both worlds, can’t fix it and can’t hire it out.

Some money is needed. Being able to repair something is only useful if you can afford the parts and tools. Then there is the time issue. One person can’t do everything, even if they know how. There are only so many hours in the day.

Making money is a skill, but to get really good at it takes time, energy and a certain aptitude. Learning how to do things yourself also takes time, energy and a certain aptitude. Good thing I chose the do it yourself lifestyle. It’s a better fit for my personality. Had I concentrated on pursuing money, I’d probably ended up broke and would keep hitting my head on a low hanging light fixture.



  1. I recently spent two days working on a 10-minute job. As a former make-the-money person who has always been a do-it-myself person and no longer have the big income, your post is a great encouragement. Next time that bolt breaks I'll just smile and remember that another fellow do-it-his-self'er is likely in the same challenge! - InTheBriarPatch

  2. You are not alone. At least we get the sense of accomplishment when things finally come together.

  3. Kind of makes me think of the old saying: "Mother! I would rather do it myself." I always try to fix the things I can and sometimes I try to fix the things I can't. and then it winds up costing twice as much money (grin).

  4. We've never regretted being able to do it ourselves. It's the healthiness of either of us that more often causes a project/repair to be delayed. But, thankfully, we're still in our own home.

    Make do, do it yourself or do without is a much needed mindset in this country.

  5. I definitely agree with the DIY philosophy to a fault. I think I am at the point where I could just about do without money, if I had an infinite number of hours per day (and assuming I had access to a steady supply of scrap). Time is the true limiting factor, and one everyone has to deal with.