Thirteen Easy Things You Can Learn to Do Yourself That Have a Big Impact on Your Budget

check oil

With the economy slowing, everyone is looking to cut back in many ways. Some people are eliminating their daily coffee, others are combining trips to save on gas. These and similar strategies are great and will help you save money. However, there is more money to be saved by learning how to do some simple things for yourself rather than paying a professional to do them.

None of the tasks below are particularly challenging or taxing for the average, intelligent, physically capable person, yet many of us pay others to do them. Why? Convenience, for one. Not wanting to/not having the time to learn, for another. Then there’s the intimidation factor. Some people believe that learning som

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24 Responses to Thirteen Easy Things You Can Learn to Do Yourself That Have a Big Impact on Your Budget

  1. sptert says:

    People are just too lazy to do most of that stuff these days.

  2. Travis says:

    These are good things, but I have never been in a situation where I was even able to have other paople do these things for me. So basically, this article didn’t help much.

  3. 3bean says:

    What about COOK? Food is such a drain on the budget. I think the ability to make thrifty, tasty, healthy meals and a working repertoire of meals you can make from memory is a HUGE money saver.

  4. wealthman says:

    This is another example where you should be looking to increase your wealth and pay people to do these things for you rather than doing them yourself. If you do it yourself, you’re stuck doing it yourself forever. If you increase your income, you can pay others to do it and spend the extra time learning more skills to earn even more. Attitudes like this keep you poor.

  5. teeter says:

    @ wealthman

    Increasing your salary isn’t the solution for everything. A balanced approach where you save and increase wealth is the best.

  6. Kim says:

    Wealthman-does it bother you at all that you come off as a total snob? It seems your answer to everything is “well, just get richer”. I think it is great that you have all the money you need/want but the purpose of this article is to find ways to SAVE money, which is what some people want to know.

  7. Jay Corn says:

    Probably the No.1 thing people can do is to change their buying habits and adopt some patience and disclipine. You see people doing impulse buying at the mall all the time paying double or more for their purchases than what they would have paid by shopping through bargain hunting websites (like Unodeals.com, Xpbargans.com) for the same items, only if they had the patience to wait.

  8. Cristi Smith says:

    I do some of these things now. I definitely could learn to do more! Maybe if we were more dependent on ourselves we would be less dependent on certain others. Like other countries. I agree that I do pay for some of the stuff to be done but others I would find silly to pay for.

  9. dreaming says:

    less than $10 for an oil change is ridiculous you need an oil filter thats probably $8-15 oil is maybe less than 10 it self you’ll need at least $8 Just for it and then if you need an oil wrench to start your savings plan, you’lll need to buy that, plus an oil pan to catch the old stuff, and if you dispose of it properly you’ll need to pay a disposal fee. it is not less then $10 to change your own oil!

  10. Pete says:

    Sigh. This is one of those articles that is so easy to write, and sounds good on paper but in reality, many of these things probably require tutoring and mentoring. It’s also not all upside, and the article doesn’t mention the risks if something goes wrong. A DIY oil change job gone bad (such as over-tightening the lug nut) can cost thousands and lead to permanent engine damage. Sure, cleaning your own gutters sounds like a snap but make sure your health insurance is paid-up while you’re high on that ladder, on your two-story, in case you fall of. And while you’re at it, have another policy that will get you some income while you miss work for 3 months after the fall.

  11. poundwise says:

    > Change your own oil. Nope. This definitely cost more than the article states and definitely takes longer than 15 minutes; especially when you add in the time to dispose of the oil properly, etc. One good thing to consider though it that most people do overpay for this. Quick oil change places (in particular Jiffy Lube and the like) charge $30 or more typically. My mechanic does my oil and filter change for $16.95.

    > Cut your own hair. Kids? Yes. Me. No. I use coupons and save but I like the results and hate the hassle of the alternative.

    > Learn how to protect your own identity. Definitely. Most services and insurance offerings in this realm are not worth it at best and a total rip-off at worst.

  12. Sean says:

    Overall, very good post.

    One thing, however. What are you going to do with the used oil when you do your own oil change, pour it down the storm drain? It costs money to properly dispose of that oil, and it’s ecologically irresponsible not to recycle it.

    You have to consider other factors, too. For example, I’m looking at a Toyota Yaris. The dealer offers a lifetime powertrain warranty, if you do an oil change with that dealer every 3,000 miles.

    Now, I change my oil every 5,000 miles, not every 3,000. The dealership charges 19.95 to do the oil change. I can do it myself for about 15.00, including recycling the old oil.

    So, doing it myself every 5,000 miles costs about 45.00 every 15,000 miles.

    Having the dealer do it every 3,000 miles costs about 100.00 every 15,000 miles.

    I only drive about 10,000 miles per year, so my annual cost of doing it myself would be about 30.00, and my annual cost of having the dealer do it would be about 66.00.

    So the question is, is it worth 36.00 per year for a lifetime powertrain warranty. I’ve had my current car for 12 years; I had the one before it for 9, so for me, the answer is a resounding “yes”.

    If you want to avoid being penny smart, but pound foolish, you have to consider all the factors.

  13. mom-from-missouri says:

    We already do these and many more. I agree with 3bean. Add cook to the list, and how about grow some of your own food (remember the victory gardens??)
    Also, I would add conserve, reuse and recycle-even if only within your own household.

  14. Gail says:

    Delighted to see sewing added to the list. Considering most people’s clothes were hand-made up to about 100+ years ago, almost anything that needs to be done to your clothes, such as hemming, can be done by hand. In haute couture (those fabulously expensive clothes) almost all of the sewing is done by hand, so if you can’t afford a sewing machine, you can still mend and alter. Will it take longer than with a sewing machine, Yes, but much hand sewing can be done while watching the TV if needed. Don’t know how to sew? There are countless sewing articles available on the web that will guide you and books at the library to assist you.

    Can you tell I am a seamstress?

  15. Miranda says:

    Some of these are great ideas. But, not everyone can, or wants to, do all of them. And sometimes, when you consider how much time you could spend doing other things, it’s not worth it. Figure out which things you could do — practically — and do those things yourself to save a little more money.

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  17. John says:

    Hi! Nicely explained guidelines. Moreover, these all little extra effort will not only save your money but also will ensure daily work out! So, more savings!

  18. TopWaysToSave says:

    I think its a good article. Some people wrote its hard to learn to do a lot of things. With sites like Google, Youtube and 5min.com you can search countless things that you can learn to do yourself now. My wife searched Stuffed Mushrooms on Youtube last week and they came out awesome.

  19. julie says:

    do your own pet grooming? i’ve been a vet tech for 10 years and you have no idea how many home grooming accidents i’ve helped stitch up! be very, very careful that you don’t cut your dog or get bit! you should definitely comb and brush your dog or cat. you should be able to bathe your dog, but unless you’re brave you may want to leave hair cuts to the pros.

  20. LC says:

    I have ALWAYS put these into practice and have saved TONS of money! I cut my own hair and people often think it’s professional. I have been cutting my own hair for years so I have had a lot of practice. I also dye my own hair. I cut my families hair too! All look fantastic. My husband does most of the work in the house for projects and takes care of the car while I do the cleaning. We all pitch in for yard work.
    Increasing your wealth to pay others to do this for you is no way to save money! When you spend your limit of your paycheck there is none to put away for savings. Hence by doing it yourself you can put away the money you might have spent for others to do it for you thus increasing your wealth!

  21. Curt says:

    As the economy slows, more people will be doing more of this things, but all the service sector of the economy is based on these things. Therefore, as more people take care of their own chores, the service sector of the economy will likely slow.

  22. jerseygrl says:

    I agree with some of these points, but I prefer to pay people for lawn service. When you have a 1 acre lot and you work 12 hour days, you don’t want to spend the weekend mowing your yard, trimming, etc. Money well spent on getting the help. I agree that cleaning the house is a luxury and I’m planning on getting rid of my cleaners since I can easily do that myself. I think it should be a balance of both (things you have time to do/like to do vs. things you can’t do/dont’ want to do). I hate sewing and it’s tedious to me and requires some skill to make it look right, therefore I use a tailor.

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