Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Who hasn’t winced when receiving a bill from a plumber or other service? Now, post-employment with no income, the bills that once made us wince could bring on heart palpitations. And we’ve discovered how hard it is to make money through home based enterprise. There’s lots of competition raising vegetables, making soap from goat milk, selling on the Internet, or writing articles for magazines.

Although making new money is hard, the field is wide open for eliminating some of the heart stopping bills by learning new skills and Doing-It-Yourself. And we can add to the enjoyment and value of our home by DIY improvements. Here are a few of Drew’s DIY tips:

Most skills can be learned

I worked with an engineer who used to say, “If someone else can do it, then you can learn how as well.” Obviously, that doesn’t apply to ballet or professional football. But, most service skills are learnable. The library is full of illustrated “How to” books that explain nearly anything. I particularly like the Home Depot “1-2-3” DIY books, because you don’t waste a lot of time finding what’s needed. Home Depot sells every tool or material they specify.

Practice is necessary

The ability to read music and knowing where to find the keys does not make you a piano player. Likewise, many DIY skills require some practice. I had a bicycle flat and so had to hitchhike 20+ miles to home. Lots of cars and trucks passed me, although the cause of my need was evident. Then an undocumented Mexican worker stopped and took me home. Isn’t that a Good Samaritan story? Afterwards, I determined to learn how to replace a bicycle tube on the road. Even though I purchased the tools and parts, I just couldn’t get that tire over the tube, even after going to the bike shop to watch them. Then somehow I got one to fit. The next one was easier. Now I can change tubes quickly. I don’t even know what I’m doing differently. But, practice is necessary for many skills.

Try unusual things

Recently the windshield fluid squirter on our car failed. We found where something, likely an energetic rodent, had gnawed up the line from the pump to the nozzle. I’ll bet that the Toyoda dealer would have charged $150 just to find the problem. Then, if an assembly was required… I don’t want to guess the price. And what if later the rodent came back for another taste treat? So, we found a piece of plastic tubing at a hardware store and spliced the line with superglue for $2.23. It’s working fine.

Don’t be to proud to back off

Kit’s body waves seemed very expensive to me. “How hard can it be?” I thought. So, we bought a body wave in a box for several dollars. Using those curlers was more difficult than it looks, especially for my course male hands. Disaster was looming. We simply gave up before lasting damage was done. Sure, we lost a few dollars. But, we’ve recouped that many times through our successes.

Learning and applying new DIY skills is a sure bet money saver for post employment and can be very satisfying. You also can extend Christian love by helping others with your skills. We haven’t had time yet to start a helping ministry called, “An old man with tools.” I’ll bet it could keep us very busy.

1 comment:

  1. Trey and I have figured out how to do all kinds of things simply by using the internet. Like when our garbage disposal backed up... we did a quick search online and fixed it in 5 minutes. When Trey's sunroof wouldn't closed, we found an online forum where people had posted how they had fixed that same problem, and we were able to do it ourselves too. Trey's even installed a couple car CD players just by looking at diagrams online. The internet is a great (free!) resource for DIY.