Actually, I think this post could be easily summed up in one word: cooperation. Cooperating is something that I think our grandparent's generation did really, really well. Ours, not so much. I think the economic constraints of WWII probably had a lot to do with that. Most families wouldn't have had a ton of cash, but most of them would have had a garden or been skilled enough at a trade to barter their services. And if our economy doesn't pick up soon, I feel pretty secure in saying that a lot more people are going to turn to bartering to help provide for their families. Everything comes full circle, I guess.
We swap everything from produce to clothes to coupons. And if we really trust them, we even let them borrow power tools. ;)
The list goes on and on. And you might be shocked how many people are willing to work for beer. There's nothing crazy or earth-shattering about #4, but it works.
Despite all of our crazy home improvement project, I would have to say that my nuttiest DIY adventure was mowing our 3 (totally unlevel!) lots while 41 weeks pregnant with our daughter. Not my brightest move ever. But, that actually brings me to a point about doing it yourself. We actually talked about hiring a lawn service during the 3rd trimester. You see, my husband is quite literally allergic too grass. Not all grass, just the kind that grows in the Northwest. Which is where we live. It would have cost us $35 per week to have a lawn service come in and just do the basic mowing. Even in this part of the country, we mow from April to October, roughly 28 weeks per year. That's almost $1,000. And I am way too cheap for that. That's a small(er) DIY saving.
Here's a huge one: our master bath.
Depending upon which contractor we'd gone with, we would have shelled out between 30k-35k more, and that's just for the slate tub. The sink console I wanted was Pottery Barn and in the thousands. But we found a great old sideboard at a thrift store and modified it ourselves. We got the same look I wanted, but for $300 bucks.
By doing the work ourselves, albeit slowly, we simply paid for the cost of materials and the tools we needed for the project. We mostly worked on it on the weekends and there were times that we took baths in rubbermaid storage tubs. Go ahead, you can laugh. It's funny now. It was so worth it to keep all that cash in our pockets. You can see pics of our sink console here and read about the slate tub here. (I actually need to update our bathroom pictures- we've added a lot more molding)
I really prefer that we buy our tools vs. renting them. If you rent them more than 1-2 times, you've basically shelled out the cost of the tool, but without anything to show for it. Even if it's a tool we aren't likely to need again, I'd still rather buy it then sell on Craigslist. Quick disclaimer: I really don't recommend DIYing electricity unless you really know what you're doing. And while the husband has a construction background, he'd never built a custom tub. What he came up with was the result of a lot of reading, how-to video, and trial&error.
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