One of the ways that many try to save money is to do it yourself. There are a number of posts around the Internet offering advice on DIY. From DIY home repairs, to DIY health and beauty supplies, to DIY cleaners, there are a number of opportunities for you to save money by taking care of things on your own.

However, it’s not always best to do it yourself. While you can save money with creativity and elbow grease, doing it yourself isn’t always the preferred method of getting things done.

When You Shouldn’t DIY

There are times when you really shouldn’t DIY. Before you decide to tackle that project, where are some things to consider:

  • Do you have the expertise? You don’t need to be an expert in all case to do something yourself. Indeed, DIY is often a learning experience. But some tasks really do require a certain amount of expertise. Some electrical and plumbing projects, or major remodeling projects, just can’t practically be done on your own. Plus, if you do something wrong, you could cause enough damage that it costs you more in the long run, since you have to pay to have the damage repaired and to have it done right after the fact.
  • Do you have the right equipment? Some projects require special equipment. Before you engage in the project, do a cost analysis. How much does it cost to buy or rent the equipment you need? If it is costly, you might be better off just hiring someone else. If you need specialty equipment for a one-time project, and you won’t use the equipment again, it’s not worth to purchase the equipment.
  • How much money are you really saving? Another consideration is how much money you are really saving. In some cases, making certain personal care items or cleaning products doesn’t really save you a lot of money. You might put in time and effort only to save a couple bucks. You have to weigh the benefits and costs. If you want to DIY in order to live greener, or if you are trying to avoid harsh chemicals, that’s different. Figure out why you want to DIY, and determine whether your other reasons outweigh the fact that you might not be saving a significant amount of money.
  • How much time do you have? There is no replacing time that you have lost. You can make more money, but you can’t get time back. Figure out the value of your time (many people base it on their hourly pay rate), and determine whether the money you will save with your DIY project is worth the time you spend. A time-consuming DIY project might save you money, but what have you lost? You might be giving up time that you could use as an entrepreneur, or time that you could be using for your family, or doing something you want to do.

Before you do it yourself, consider the consequences. If you enjoy the projects, and if you don’t mind spending the time, it can be worth it. On the other hand, there might be some projects that are not worth DIY.



Miranda is freelance journalist. She specializes in topics related to money, especially personal finance, small business, and investing. You can read more of my writing at Planting Money Seeds.