Today’s society has become become a very connected and dependent on technology. Communication can happen with a touch of a button, even without speaking if we want to. People can search for businesses and services on our computers, tablets, and mobile devices and contact them within seconds.
Need your oil changed? Schedule an appointment online. You can even wait for your car while they do it. Need your lawn treated for weeds? Make an appointment and have someone take care of it for you. Does your car need washed? Find the nearest car wash and drive right through.
What’s The Issue?
Being a personal finance writer, I find myself stuck in a quandary about when to call professionals to take care of things and when to do them myself.
I want to be frugal, save money, and be able to put as much money as I can into our investment stream. I also want the jobs done correctly and efficiently. I am a busy person and may not have time to take care of all of these things.
Part of me feels as if we have become lazy. We don’t take the time to put effort into things anymore.
I can still picture my dad out there every week washing the car, cutting the grass, fixing things around the house, and taking pride in doing it. As a kid, I never knew he was actually saving money by doing these things, but talking to him now, he is pretty open about those aspects of his life.
When I moved out of my parents’ house, the first thing he gave me was a tool kit. It had all of the essential tools to perform home repair. I could fix the sink, toilet, electrical issues, whatever could go wrong.
Did I use it if something went wrong? Nope, I called someone. It was just easier. It was the same thing with regular maintenance. It was just easier to call someone and have them remember to do it and pay them.
Going through financial struggles puts an entirely new perspective on so many things in your life. When you begin to create monthly budgets and see exactly where every dollar of your hard-earned money goes, you suddenly look for ways to eliminate unnecessary expenses and stop the bleeding.
Sometimes this involves becoming a jack-of-all-trades. Maybe not a master of all of them, but good enough to get by and get them done. A good internet search engine and some Youtube videos become your best friends.
I had no idea how to change my oil before I tried to do it the first time. I had to research it, figure out where things were under the hood and under the car, figure out how to put the car up on the ramps, etc. There was some time and effort involved in this process, but it saved me some money and probably some time driving my vehicle to the garage and back.
We recently purchased an unlimited membership to the local car wash for our vehicle. It cost $52/month for the ability to wash this one vehicle an unlimited amount of times per month. That is really not a bad deal if we wash this vehicle more than twice a month.
I thought about this the other day, however, and wondered why I wasn’t just washing this vehicle in our driveway every week. This would save us $52/month and would actually get me outside in the sunlight and I would get to breathe some fresh air.
When I sit and think about why I decide to have other people do these things for me rather than do them myself and save money, I find that I try to rationalize it. I tell myself that I don’t have the time and that I am way too busy to do these things. I have a 9 to 5 job plus a few side hustles. I am tired on Sunday and need to recover. At some point, I realized that these are such cheesy excuses and I need to put on my big boy pants and do these things myself.
The purpose of this post is not to say that everyone should stop getting their oil changed by professionals or stop going to the car wash, etc. These are fantastic places and they provide jobs for many people. All I am saying is that, if you are on a journey to be debt-free, you need to eliminate as many unneeded expenses as possible. If you can do it yourself, or can learn how to do it yourself, then do it.
This idea spills over to other areas as well. An example of this would be a wedding that I DJ’d last weekend. The newlywed couple was on a very tight budget, but still wanted a classy wedding reception. The bride and groom knew that they couldn’t just hire all of these expensive wedding vendors to handle catering, decorating, the cake, etc. and still be able to afford it.
The newlyweds decided to roll up their sleeves and handle all of the decorations themselves. The couple and their families were at the venue the day before the event blowing up balloons, placing flowers on the tables, placing candles, arranging tables, etc. The food was also taken care of with the budget in mind. It was a buffet dinner with food handled by the family. I can personally tell you that the food was delicious. They had the cake maker make them the top-tier of the cake only. They then served several sheet cakes to the guests. See my article about Wedding Hacks for more ideas.
They took the time and effort to do many of the expensive points of the wedding reception themselves in a budget-friendly manner. Yes, it took them some time and they put some effort into it, but it probably saved them thousands of dollars in the end. The wedding ceremony and reception went off perfectly, the 170 guests were happy, entertained, and were none-the-wiser.
There will definitely be things that you will need professionals to handle. I don’t think everyone will be able to put a new roof on their house, rebuild a vehicle’s transmission, etc., but if you do some research and aren’t afraid to try, you will be surprised what you are capable of.
I have put in hardwood floors, painted rooms, installed faucets, water softeners, hot water heaters, etc. All it takes is the courage to give it a try. It could save you some serious money and you could gain some serious knowledge and experience in the process.