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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Doing it Yourself

When it comes to chores and projects, the Yankee in my tends to want to do it myself. I don't like paying people to do things I can do on my own. I learned to change my own oil in college and used to crawl under my car (no jack required) every 3000 miles, thrilled at the $15 I was saving. If I can make it, I will: granola bars, clothes, stationary, quick fixes. If I can repair it, I will (with the occasional dubious result. I "fixed" our toilet once and it ran until it overflowed).
But I've been thinking lately that there are some things that it makes sense to pay others to do. I read somewhere that if you make more per hour at your job than you'd pay someone else, plus you don't have the right equipment, you should pay someone else to do it for you.
I get my oil changed now because I don't have a driveway and I don't want to get run over. But I still fix my own dishwasher, change my own wiper blades and air filter, and make bread from scratch. It's hard for someone cheap like me to pay someone else to do something I feel capable of doing.
I draw the line at electrical work. I hated that part of physics and shocked myself in lab. If it has an electricity source I'm not touching it!
What would you pay someone to do?
Clean your house (I really want a maid! Just to do one thorough cleaning a month and I'll do upkeep!)?
Wash and fold your clothes?
Paint a room?
Hem your pants/do alterations?
Steam carpet?
Trim your bushes and water your plants?
What's your cut-off point for doing a job yourself verus paying someone else?
Image from, which is a website full of awesome stuff.


  1. Between my cheapness and my husband's DIY skills, we'll pretty much try to tackle everything on our own but most car things we let the pros handle (with the exception of the things you listed). Oh...and computer problems. If it's easy, I'll take care of it but some things it's just easier to pay the $50 and get it fixed quickly without all the frustration.

  2. I owned an electrical contracting company for two years, and did the work, so anything with electricity is my forte. I wear the power tools in our family.

    But. I WILL NOT do yard work. At all. In any form. I pay someone to mow the lawn. And if I wanted it pretty? I'd pay someone to plant stuff too.

  3. Um, Jess, can you fix the thing in my wiring that makes sparks come out of the bathroom light switch and blows a fuse for the doorbell every time we put a fuse into the box?
    My house is 100+ years old BTW.

  4. I'd pay people to do electrical type things and plumbing issues. My dad is a mechanic so I always get the oil change for free and any car maintenance as well, but that may not always be the case. Way to be, miss Rosie the Riveter! ;) Mmm...homemade bread.

  5. I must say, I do not do a whole lot of things for myself... No way would I attempt to change my oil! I think the stress of it would be too much for me (I don't do well w/ anything mechanical and would be paranoid that I would mess something up).

    I painted every wall in my condo when i bought it, then when it came time to re-paint my bathroom when I thought I was going to list my place, I hired someone to do it. Best. Money. Spent. It was pretty inexpensive, it was done in a day, and it looked great. Yes, I could have done it myself but i am not the best painter.

    Sheesh, what am i good at, huh?

    Laundry. I would never outsource laundry. :)