Whether you’re living on a tight budget or just love to undertake new tasks around the house, do-it-yourself (DIY) projects can sometimes be a great way to avoid the cost of pricey retail items and save a bit of extra money. And with all of the instructional videos, tutorials, and blog posts online, DIY projects are seemingly more accessible than ever. Whether you’re making a desk, new planters for your garden, or any number of other DIY projects, it might seem like there’s a simple, inexpensive, and doable way to take care of it on your own.
But the truth is, DIY projects can be harder, more expensive, and more complicated than you might think. People might be flooding the internet looking for easy home projects and ways to build things on their own, but the internet can sometimes make things look easy, when in reality, they’re not. Some things are just better to leave to the pros.
You might beam with pride when you get the chance to show people something you’ve built yourself, and you also might be able to save a pretty penny by not hiring someone to do work that you can do on your own, but in some instances, it may be best to hire a professional or buy something pre-made. Here are three of those instances.
There are times when DIY projects that building an item on your own will save you money and you’ll also end up with something that’s better quality than what you would get in a store. For example, there are number of furniture building projects that you could undertake that would only require some simple materials, some tools which you might already have or can borrow, and a set of instructions. After a little hard work, you could end up with a side table, coffee table, or even a dining room table that would normally cost you hundreds of dollars, for much less! And if you opt for a cheaper in-store version, there’s a good chance that you’ll be left with something of lower quality that you might even need to put together yourself anyways.
The problem here is that sometimes you can’t always replicate the quality of a store-bough item. For example, if you do a quick search online for DIY dish detergent, you’ll find all sorts of recipes for easy-to-make dish detergent. But these recipes often leave you with an ineffective product that leaves streaks and clumps at the bottom of your dishwasher. While you might save a few dollars, buying dish detergent from the store will ensure your dishes are safe to eat off of and that they’ll actually be clean.
If you have a costume party coming up or Halloween is right around the corner and your kids need new costumes, you might have the idea to make these costumes yourself to save a bit of money. If you’re an avid sewer, have a full bin of materials, and the costume you’re making is relatively simple, then this is a great idea! But if this isn’t the case, then making a costume yourself can be a lot more work – and money – than you initially thought.
If you need expensive fabrics, zippers, elaborate embellishments, and plenty of other materials, it might be cheaper to buy a pre-made costume or a bunch of miscellaneous items that you can put together to make a costume. A great place to start your search is at nearby thrift stores or consignment stores.
You’ll also need to think about what tools you’ll need for any DIY projects you’re considering. If you’re missing tools, you’ll have to account for these in the cost of the project. For example, maybe you have plans to make a beautiful wood dining room table and the materials will cost less than $150, but if you don’t have some of the tools you’ll need to build it, the price of the project could sky-rocket depending on what you’re missing. If you plan on taking on this task, only do it if you have the tools you’ll need, can borrow them from someone, or can rent them at a reasonable cost.
They say that time is money, and this is something that people often forget when they’re planning to undertake DIY projects. While you still might be able to save some money, the amount of time you’ll need to sink into your projects may not be worth it in the end.
If you get paid by the hour or work for yourself, every hour you spend working on your DIY projects is an hour of lost wages. Even if you’re not spending as much money on the item, you still might be losing more money than you’re saving.
If you’re not doing your project during your normal work hours, you should still think about the amount of time you’re sinking into this task and if the time you’re investing is actually worth it. It might be tough to quantify this into a dollar amount, but consider what other things you might be missing out on.
For example, you might want to throw a backyard barbecue to celebrate someone’s birthday, but you want to take care of as much of the work on your own as you can. You spend all your time making food, decorating your backyard, baking a cake, and everything else that comes with throwing a birthday party. While you might be saving some money, the amount of time that all these tasks would take up might force you to miss out on actually spending time with the person you’re throwing the party for. Instead, you could ask friends to chip in with food, decorations, and dessert.
Aside from the time you’re burning, DIY projects can be hard work. It can be physically draining and particularly frustrating when things don’t turn out exactly how you planned. And if it’s not something you enjoy doing, it could end up feeling like just another task you have to complete from your long list of chores.
Your goal when you start DIY projects may be to save yourself some money, if the whole process becomes overwhelming and too stressful, whatever money you’re saving may not be worth it in the end. If you have enough money set aside to buy something or hire a professional without putting stress on your budget, there’s nothing wrong with spending some money to minimize the strain it may put on you to make something yourself.
Before you dive into the DIY projects you’ve been planning on tackling, take some time to consider some of the things we’ve listed here. If your project is going to cause you stress, be of poor quality, be too time-consuming, or wouldn’t’ really be saving you money, it might be something you want to reconsider doing. Just make sure you weigh all the factors before jumping into something that may not be worth it in the end.
Are you considering any DIY projects? Do you have any regrets about taking one on? Share below!