DIY Money Saving Tips Around the House
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The plethora of DIY programmes has given us a new lease of life when it comes to tackling those essential jobs around the house. Whether it’s doing a spot of re-wiring or tackling some emergency plumbing, we’ve all been encouraged to become our own Mr Fix-It.
That’s no bad thing either, because if ever there was time to save some pennies in these cash-conscious times by doing the job yourself, then it’s now.
Yet while we might not all have the skills of Handy Andy or Tommy Walsh, there are plenty of practical DIY things we can do on a budget. Here are some of the best ones for the savvy-saving fixer-upper.
Get Advice before You Start
It’s easy to get over-confident and think you can take on more than you’re actually capable of. Drilling through the wrong pipe, for example, could land you in a whole heap of trouble and inconvenience and end up making things a lot worse.
If you’re going to have a crack at a DIY job yourself, pop down to your local DIY store and see if they’ve got a guide on how you can tackle the task. For most general home improvements you’ll find they do this.
You can also get plenty of help and advice online, and you could also consult friends and family who have done the job themselves.
The Wonder of YouTube
All of us have made the mistake of thinking a DIY job was beyond our grasp and called in a professional to do it, and ended up paying a fortune. The reality, however, is that there’s a lot more you can do than you’d actually think – and it’s all down the modern internet phenomenon that is You Tube.
From fixing a leaky tap to replacing a cracked floor tile, there’s a guide or tutorial for practically every DIY eventuality. It will build up your confidence to realise you really can do the majority of DIY tasks around the house.
Get Yourself Some Cheap Tools
Investing in the basic tools such as hammers and chisels will be a wise move as they’ll last for years and come in handy for small jobs. Buying power tools, however, are a waste of time and money as you can rent them, especially if you’re not a seasoned, regular DIY'er. If you’re attempting a weekend DIY job, this option is ideal.
For smaller tools such as drills and saws, shopping around for the best price is always a good idea. Also be particularly cautious of purchasing second-hand electrical equipment, particularly if you’re not familiar with the product or the seller.
Car boot sales – always a staple favourite Saturday morning pastime for us Brits – are good places to get quality used tools, while there are several tool hire schemes that will secure you DIY bargain.
Don’t Spend a Fortune on Materials
For the DIY essentials and basics such as masking tape, nut and bolts, eschew the bigger DIY stores and head down your local Pound Shop. Bulk buying on materials such as wood and paint will save you cash too – and why not pop a notice on a message board such as Gumtree or our newspaper to join forces with other local DIY'ers to buy large consignments of materials.
Freecycle is also a great resource for picking up leftover and free materials like tiles, MDF, cut-offs and paints.
Carpet Fitters be Gone!
Buying and getting carpet laid is expensive – so try fitting your own carpet and underlay. Carpet companies rack up the costs with huge mark-ups, and if you’ve got some rudimentary DIY skill and some patience, it’s a relatively easy job to do yourself. If you can, you’ll be ‘quids in’.
Use a sharp Stanley knife to cut the underlay and use a staple gun (you’ll probably have to beg or borrow this one) to hold it into place. You can buy carpet edging strips online if you need them, and you can get them very cheaply on eBay.
Store Your DIY Equipment Properly
It’s important to store your tools safely and properly so they’re not subjected to inclement weather and suffer from rust. Also sharpen your saws, chisel and drill bits before you use them so you don’t break anything.
A useful nugget prolonging paint life is to store the cans upside-down (making sure the lid’s tightly secured, obviously). This creates a vacuum in the tin that stops air from getting in drying out the paint.
Also make sure you wind up any electrical cables safely and securely, and tape them into position so you minimise the risk of creating knots and kinks which can break the wires.
Avoid Common Mistakes
When you’re painting, be sure to cover any furniture and carpet
Use a detector to check there aren’t any pipes or wires behind the walls. This will eliminate what could turn out to be a very costly mistake with a drill. You can pick up a cheap detector at most DIY stores.
Finally, check, check and check again you know the precise measurements before you begin hacking, sawing or chopping – one, to avoid irredeemable mistakes; two, to avoid wastage.
Make Sure You’re Insured
House insurance doesn’t always cover you for your DIY accidents so double-check before you start any jobs.
AXA conducted its own research which revealed DIY gaffes for uninsured home owners can cost homeowners around £900 in repairs for accidental damage.
Don’t Put Yourself at Risk
Taking on electrical wiring or gas installation work yourself is illegal and, besides risking a serious accident, you could also face prosecution.
Similarly, carrying out extensive work without planning permission or complying with strict structural guidelines could land you a fine. It could also cost you dearly in having to get the work re-done by a professional, not to mention devaluing your property.
Be Selective About the Jobs You Do
Some people are born tinkerers and love undertaking DIY tasks just because they can. If that’s you, just be picky about your jobs and do ones which will save you money or your energy bills or add value to your property.
DIY tasks such as clearing drains, bleeding radiators, insulating tanks and pipes and preserving wood on decking and sheds are beneficial to the property and will save you money.
Learn how to repair household appliances the quick, easy and cost-effective way with our selection of repair videos.
By Lee Gilbert
Category: Articles, News & Tips