As Americans, we are wasteful. If something breaks, most times we toss it in the trash and go buy a new one. While this makes life fairly easy, it does tend to cost us more money in the long run. If we instead figure out ways to repair or fix our broken items, we can save ourselves a good amount of money in the long run and pick up a new skill in the process. Now, I do realize that in some cases, it is cheaper to simply toss and buy new, but not as much as we like to think. Below are 3 ways you can take advantage of fixing things and stop being so wasteful.
3 Tips To Learn How To Fix Things
Do you know how to replace a toilet? I didn’t when I bought my house. And I still didn’t when I started to rent it out. But I know how to replace one now. I learned how to do it by simply watching videos on YouTube. If you haven’t done this, you have to. It’s amazing how much great content there is on there, and I am not just talking about funny cat videos.
Over the years, I’ve learned many things simply by watching YouTube, including:
- How to replace a toilet
- How to fix a leaky swimming pool filter
- How to get “yellowed” headlights clear again
- How to replace a windshield wiper blade on a new car (harder than you think!)
- How to replace attic pull down stairs
Now, I could have simply hired someone to do these things or even taken my car to the shop to get my headlights clear. But, I saved so much money by doing them myself. By replacing the toilet I saved over $100. By doing the work on my car I saved about $125.
The best part is that going forward, I can keep doing these things myself, saving that money over and over again.
When I was installing a hardwood floor in our house, I was clueless how to go about doing it. I did watch the YouTube video on how to do it, but was still a little skeptical as this was a big job. So, I reached out to a friend of mine that has done a good amount of house repair work. It cost me a pizza and a six pack of beer, but it was well worth it. We got to spend a Saturday afternoon together and again, I learned a new skill for the future.
So, make sure you have a list of what all of your friends can do. You’ll be surprised how many friends can help out with various projects.
Seek Out Free Classes
Not only are more and more college courses offering free, non-credit classes, but many companies are now offering these courses too. With regards to Apple, you can take free course if you need help learning how to use your new iPad. Granted they can’t help you fix your broken smartphone screen for free, but they can guide you in the right direction to getting it fixed instead of buying a new phone.
Same applies for home projects. You can go to Home Depot or Lowes and attend a workshop on how to do various projects around your house. Every day I see more and more companies offering these free training courses to customers. Make sure you keep an eye out for them. I recently attended one so I could learn how to build a raised bed garden and grow my own vegetables.
Overall, learning to fix or do jobs around the house is a great skill to have. Not only will it save you money now, but you will also save money over the long term as well when other issues come up and repairs are needed. So the next time something breaks or you need to replace something, don’t throw the item out or call for help, take the initiative and see if you can do it yourself. You’ll be surprised with how easy many things are to fix.
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Jon writes at Penny Thots, a personal finance blog that talks about all things personal finance. The goal of the site is to improve your finances one day and one penny at a time.