Last year we did some remodeling to our house. Remodeling means living through the chaos of construction and painting crews. It’s also when money starts hemorrhaging faster than the speed of a nail gun. Forget financial management. There are estimated costs and a contract, but there always seem to be addons and change orders. In all fairness to contractors, they really don’t know what they’re going to find once they start poking around.
In a moment of acute fiscal anxiety, I considered saving money by doing the complicated interior painting myself. Clearly the hemorrhaging clouded my sanity. Kudos to our contractor for repressing his laughter.
Luckily, sanity prevailed and now we have a beautifully painted addition
It took three painters more than a week to finish this job. This is a perfect example of a DIY disaster in waiting, both financially and emotionally. What was I thinking? I cringe at the outcome if I had attempted this myself! But that’s a reason we hire professionals.
There is the matter of personal satisfaction of accomplishing a new task yourself. That’s no small matter. If you love to do something, get great joy in learning new things, and have plenty of extra time, go for it. You are the perfect DIYer.
But doing it yourself vs hiring help is worth a discussion
While we’re all about saving money here, DIY isn’t always the better choice. If you’ve chosen the DIY option to save money, think about how much your time is worth. This is an important part of rethinking your life to learn better financial management skills.
A simple cost-benefit analysis will give you a rough idea
If you work extra and make $40 an hour, and you are paying someone $20 an hour for a task, it’s a no-brainer. You should be outsourcing that task. But it transcends the numbers. If you feel overwhelmed by your to-do’s and can’t find time to relax, paying for help is a way to minimize your stress and get a needed break. You can’t put a dollar value on that. This is part of learning sound financial management skills and doing some long-term planning.
DIY vs potential risks
Think about the potential of serious consequences from attempting a new DIY task such as doing your own tax return, creating a legal document such as a living trust or divorce. It could also be a matter of home repair projects. Plumbers and local handyperson are expensive, so you figure you can do this yourself. You quickly understand why these workers charge for their services. Be realistic about your own abilities, the timing and weigh the potential risks.
Are you self-employed and minimizing expenses?
Consultants, solopreneurs and small business owners know all about doing more with less. These are the people who know all about living within your means. It’s easy to think you can do everything, and you probably can. But is it the best use of your time? Is your expertise the best fit for the task? You could take five times longer than a professional (and possibly do it badly)!By outsourcing that task, you can focus on developing your business and increasing your profits.
Too hands-on? It may be time to outsource work
She’s a digital media specialist and works with consultants and small businesses. She’s very hands-on and likes to do everything herself. She also loves trying out new applications. Unfortunately, there is always a learning curve and she spends too much time learning how new applications work and how they integrate with other apps. This likely isn’t a very good use of her time. It might be time to rethink her workflow.