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Old 12-07-2010, 02:20 PM   #381
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For DIYs, I bid the job from pros and see how much I have for a tool budget and whether I can do the job myself. After the basic tools are purchased, I am able to beat out the bids and save my profit.
I try to make each purchase pay for itself in some way. For example, when I bought a bicycle, I rode enough miles on mandatory trips to pay for the bike in gas savings.
Agree about doing it yourself if you can. Plenty of possible savings there. For example, cable TV, ethernet cables. If you install enough wiring around the house, it's better to just buy the cables in large lengths then make your own, tailored to the length you want. Takes some patience (crimping, etc.). But on the otherhand, a cable here, a cable there out of the package can add up pretty fast.
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Old 12-07-2010, 05:49 PM   #382
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Light a fire with wood (already paid for) instead of turning up the thermostat.
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Old 12-07-2010, 07:42 PM   #383
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Light a fire with wood (already paid for) instead of turning up the thermostat.
Actually, that is probably losing money, not saving it. An open fireplace like that will very likely lose more heat than you gain. It draws a ton of air up the chimney, and that air has to come from outside - brrrrr!

Now, a wood stove (closed up, with small air vents and plenty of radiating area) is another story.


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Old 12-09-2010, 06:13 AM   #384
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For those still w*rking, this would seem to be a useful "money-saving" device (and perhaps for those not working):

Days To Pay - How long until you pay it off? Finacial Visualization, debt reduction, credit and loans.

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The idea is simple. How long do I need to work to pay for something? The answer is not so simple, and that's why I created this site, to simplify the calculation and to make it easy for everyone to simply plug in a few numbers and get a fairly accurate result. Fairly accurate you say? Well yes... I'm sure you don't want to spend the day entering all your personal finacial details just to increase the accuracy by a couple minutes. I have however provided enough functionality to give you good results
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Old 12-09-2010, 09:29 PM   #385
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Okay please forgive me if any of these were already listed, i tend to speed read, and by speed, I mean gloss:

Skip the shower every other day. A slash of water will freshen you well enough.

Shower and blow dry at the gym.

Floss. Floss obsessively. It will save TONS of dental bills.

Save the water you run while waiting for the faucet to get hot. Use that water to water plants, feed the animals, or water the garden. (Consider having a large plastic garbage can near the kitchen to hold it all).

Piggyback your driving trips. And keep your trunk as empty as you can - extra weight burns fuel.

Don't flush until you "have" to.

Use a calendar system to make sure your bills get paid on time. I take advantage of the 0% balance transfers on credit cards, make the minimum payments for the duration, invest the rest, and then pay the balance a week or 2 before the date the agreement expires. The risk is that you will pay late and trigger a voiding of the 0% offer, but if you're attentive, you can make some $$. (Right now I am minimally paying down a $29,000 balance, and earning about 5% on the funds). This gambit is NOT for everyone, I know.

Get your Swagbucks groove on. I get about $5 to $10 in Amazon credits every month. It's really painless.

Grow something green that you normally buy a lot of. I have romaine lettuce growing nearly 9 months out of the year. That can save me $100 or more a year. Growing broccoli also saves me another $100 a year. Give extras to loved ones, and you are saving them money. I also raise chickens and my free range (nearly) organic eggs run me about $2.25 a dozen. If I sell some, that's icing. But they are mostly consumed and shared with family or bartered.

Area rugs keep your wood floors a little warmer than no rugs.

Buy kids clothes at thrift stores. Many are in excellent condition and the kids don't care if they are used.

Subscribe to freecycle and check the craigslist "free" items. I got 75% of my toddler gifts from freecycle and craigslist. Plus, you are buying local (if you pay) and re-using, which is all good.

Make a list of the "things" you need to buy that you can put off and piggyback. Lists are very good for disorganized and forgetful people who then end up paying more than necessary because they didn't "think about it" when they were at the dollar store or the garage sale.

Keep your coupons in your car, not in the kitchen drawer. That way you always have them when you are at the store.

Watch your cable bill. Cable companies are notorious crooks. Periodically make sure you have the "best" bundle. They won't volunteer that to you as time passes and you have a crappy bundle.

Don't run to the doctor will nilly for every little thing just because you have no co-pay. It could bite you in the butt (this is directed more toward younger readers, or anyone who might have to be rated for an individual policy). Especially try to avoid having any record of mental illness items such as counseling for stress, anxiety, depression, alcoholism, etc. I know those are serious burdens, but I think it's worth mentioning if you can manage to find a more private manner of coping. Insurance companies are crooks and will use all your facts against you! (Awful lot of crooks in America, hmmmm!)

I have many more, having spent 49 years of seeking new ways to save. but I don't want to hog the page!
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Old 12-09-2010, 09:44 PM   #386
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Here's a "Be Prepared" possible moneysaver for the novice DIYer.

When a pipe leaks and starts spraying water everywhere, getting a plumber at night or on the weekend is an expensive proposition. Sure, you can turn the water off to the entire house, but that's not much fun after an hour or two. A few years ago, properly repairing a leak in copper pipe required draining the line and soldering in a repair piece. It ain't rocket science, but it's not something everyone knows how to do, it takes special tools and supplies (torch, solder, and flux), and getting a leak-free joint is by no means assured for the inexperienced plumber-in-training. However, new types of fittings now on the market (they go by trademarks like "Sharkbite" or "Gatorbite") allow easy permanent repairs without need for a torch, flux, or solder. All you need is a tubing cutter (about $5) and the proper size Gatorbite fitting to make a permanent repair. The fittings work on copper pipe, PEX, or CPVC.

For most folks, a pipe "first aid kit" need consist of nothing more than a tubing cutter, a piece of sandpaper cloth (to clean up the burrs on the end of the pipe), a 1/2" and a 3/4" Gatorbite coupling (to connect two pieces of pipe after cutting out a leak and allow water to flow again) and a 1/2" and a 3/4" Gatorbite cap (in case the leak occurs at an elbow, "T" fitting, or another more unique fitting. The cap will let you temporarily stop the flow of water through that pipe until you can get to the hardware store).

Be sure to get the type of GatorByte or Sharkbite couplings that can be removed--some have to be cut off if you want to replace them.

These new style fittings cost about $6 each. That's a lot more than the plain copper fittings, but a lot less than a visit from the plumber on a Sunday.
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Old 12-09-2010, 11:15 PM   #387
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[QUOTE=easysurfer;1008866]Any "Coupling" TV show fans out there?
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Watched the entire series on DVD. It's on my top 5 list of all time funny TV series.
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Old 12-10-2010, 01:28 PM   #388
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However, new types of fittings now on the market (they go by trademarks like "Sharkbite" or "Gatorbite") allow easy permanent repairs without need for a torch, flux, or solder. All you need is a tubing cutter (about $5) and the proper size Gatorbite fitting to make a permanent repair. The fittings work on copper pipe, PEX, or CPVC.
Sharkbites rock.

My last two plumbing repairs have been in areas that would shut off water to the master bathroom or the whole house, and they're areas where I wouldn't have been able to sustain a soldering flame without removing major chunks of tile wall or sidewalk. Sharkbites saved the day and ended up saving quite a bit of the cost of "interference removal".
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Old 12-29-2010, 02:32 PM   #389
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When my son was young he had a scout master who had a saying - "never do what a scout can do". That saying also applies well for everyone else. I believe too many people take the easy way out and hire much of their work done that they were capable of doing themselves.

About 20 years ago my DW decided she wanted waterfront property. Shortly after that I came home with books on building your own house. My 12 yr old son said with a very straight face that he had never built a house before. I told him that no-one has every done anything until the first time they try. As long as a person can read, is willing to learn (including fixing some frustrating mistakes), and are not lazy - the DIY person can save a lot of money during their lifetime.

DIY and LBYM go hand in hand in becoming FIRED.
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Old 12-29-2010, 04:00 PM   #390
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Did you build a waterfront house?
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Old 12-29-2010, 05:58 PM   #391
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Did you build a waterfront house?
Yes. We were weathered-in within 5 months of breaking ground(weekends and vacation time) while DW and I were both working at our full time (paying) jobs. It was a lot of hard work in the beginning, but we learned a lot about construction.

Both son and daughter are now proficient at DIY projects. Daughter's ex-BF made a comment a while back that it seemed strange that she was the one working with the tools and doing house repairs while he did the house cleaning.
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Old 12-30-2010, 04:51 AM   #392
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As long as a person can read, is willing to learn (including fixing some frustrating mistakes), and are not lazy - the DIY person can save a lot of money during their lifetime.
Not neccesarily true. If you take the "Joy of adventure" out of the equation, a person is better off, economically, spending his/her time doing that which pays the most. Except, of course, when/if that time is an investment in future earnings -- learning a new career, for instance. This is why a $1,000-an-hour Attorney shouldn't be washing his car, by hand, on Saturday morning... or any morning. People with high-paying jobs (and, perhaps, many others) shouldn't do there own housecleaning or cooking. And so on.

Jack-of-all-trades are not, generally, among the wealthy.
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Old 12-30-2010, 08:45 AM   #393
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Gotta agree with RonBoyd. Unless you really enjoy doing something for the sake of doing it, you are better off hiring a pro to do the work and spend your time at what makes the most money. You also need to know your limits - reminds me of the garage that had a sign saying:

Labor $40 an hour
You watch us work $50 an hour
We repair your mistakes $75 an hour

I used to be a pretty good shade tree mechanic, but the new engines, emissions controls and all the add on stuff makes using the old dwell meter and compression gauges seem antiquated.
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Old 12-30-2010, 09:41 AM   #394
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The "mistakes" issue is an important one. If I fall off the roof while cleaning the gutters, and break a leg, then paying a pro to do it would have been the better option. So you just have to think about that, and decide on a case-by-case basis.
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Old 12-30-2010, 11:30 AM   #395
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The "mistakes" issue is an important one. If I fall off the roof while cleaning the gutters, and break a leg, then paying a pro to do it would have been the better option. So you just have to think about that, and decide on a case-by-case basis.
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Old 12-30-2010, 12:45 PM   #396
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Not neccesarily true. If you take the "Joy of adventure" out of the equation, a person is better off, economically, spending his/her time doing that which pays the most. Except, of course, when/if that time is an investment in future earnings -- learning a new career, for instance. This is why a $1,000-an-hour Attorney shouldn't be washing his car, by hand, on Saturday morning... or any morning. People with high-paying jobs (and, perhaps, many others) shouldn't do there own housecleaning or cooking. And so on.

Jack-of-all-trades are not, generally, among the wealthy.
I agree with you totally. If it is more cost effective to have someone else do the tasking, that is the proper way to go (especially if it is something you hate doing). However, the percentage of $1,00/hr attorneys is very small compared to the number of average Joes.

The challange of learning something new is enjoyable and there is great satisfaction in a quality completed job. Also, I prefer to be as independent as possible. If your compensation at a paying job runs $30 - $35/hr, why pay $100 -$200/hr for a plumber,etc to do what you can do. Besides, the purchasing power of your hourly compensation is reduced by taxes, etc. (This spread between income and outgo becomes even more pronounced after a person is retired.)

A sideline benefit of doing your own work/repairs is you are able to control the quality of the workmanship. I have seen the results of many who claimed to be "pros", and their work was not - either by choice or ability.


"Jack-of-all-trades are not, generally, among the wealthy." I agree. However, if there are 2 people with equal income, one a JOAT and the other not, the JOAT has the ability to live at a higher standard of living.
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Old 12-30-2010, 02:00 PM   #397
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My best tip is to get your free annual credit report (www.annualcreditreport.com) by the end of the year. I just got mine today to make sure no one was pretending to be me after I got my credit card hijacked earlier in the year.
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Old 12-30-2010, 03:01 PM   #398
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This is why a $1,000-an-hour Attorney shouldn't be washing his car, by hand, on Saturday morning... or any morning. People with high-paying jobs (and, perhaps, many others) shouldn't do there own housecleaning or cooking. And so on.
Only if the time you spend doing the DIY project is time you would be fully compensated for otherwise. If it's free time, off-the-clock, you can still save the out-of-pocket cost by DIY. If the hypothetical $1000/hr attorney pays someone $50 for an hour spent washing his car while he lies on the couch watching the football game, the equation doesn't work. If the attorney is in his office working on a project with billable hours while someone else washes his car, then it does. His work time is worth $1000/hr, his free time isn't. It's uncompensated time off the clock, and if freeing up that time to watch the football game is costing him $50/hr, then that is what the free time is "worth" in terms of dollars.

Your time (on or off the clock) is only "worth" what you can sell it for, and you can't sell it 24/7/365. But every dollar you spend is a dollar you have to earn.
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Old 12-30-2010, 03:58 PM   #399
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I knew an obstetrician once (not obgyn65) who decided to fix his own roof. Due to his limited roofing skills, he fell off, hitting the ground with multiple fractures, leading to a stay in the ICU, 6 months off work, and several hundred thousand dollars of opportunity cost.

In this case, Risk > Financial Benefit.

In the case of an Average Joe who chooses a low altitude activity such as washing the car, Financial Benefit >> Risk.

There's a reason why roofers are well paid!
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Old 12-30-2010, 04:00 PM   #400
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I knew an obstetrician once (not obgyn65) who decided to fix his own roof. Due to his limited roofing skills, he fell off, hitting the ground with multiple fractures, leading to a stay in the ICU, 6 months off work....

There's a reason why roofers are well paid!
Or are illegal immigrants...
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