A question as old as time. Handiness vs Frugality and When Do You Call The Guy? The answer varies from ‘never’ to “before anything actually goes wrong….just in case.” Like most of the FIRE community, I hate parting with money. I usually don’t unless I have to, or at least when it feels like I am going to get some value in return.
Project Scale, Time Suckage, and Worth(opportunity cost) are all factors that change with our own confidence and pocketbook.
One of the best things that ever happened to me was my first real house. It was from 1906 and had been gone over by packs of DIYers from at least three different waves of Chicago immigration. I could do no wrong. Here is a list of all the things I improved or replaced.
I was young. We were childless. I had a steady income and an inferiority complex about my Man Skills. All sorts of systems needed to be worked on and I could not mess it up any worse than it already was.
I taught myself electrical, HVAC, plumbing and general repair. The only system I did not tinker with was natural gas. A friend of mine’s Dad always said ‘don’t f@#$ with gas‘ and I just figured that made sense to me.
I built a home had a home built and got almost 10 free years out of it before things started to go wrong again. But now, I have kids and a more demanding job, not to mention soft lawyer hands. I started to weigh when it was easier to just ‘call the guy‘.
The same is true for cars. I would try to fix my earlier cars because they were worth less than the repair bill would be at a shop and I did not care about cosmetic issues. But alas, cars became computerized and I finally had decent ones and started to rely more and more on ‘the guy’.
What factors do we use to determine if calling ‘the guy’ is warranted nowadays? Handiness vs Frugality
Bee hive, I got this!
Rabid opossums, there’s a guy for that.
Can I do it in one half of a Saturday? OK I’ll try it.
Instructions say it takes 2 people and 2 days, call the guy. My friends are past the point where pizza and beer can make up for 20 lost hours.
Instructions written in China by a guy who has never seen the finished product, I think I can ‘wing it’
Oil change in my own garage to save $20, nope, Call the Guy.
Can save $200 bucks doing it myself, will probably try.
Looks like this tree would fall away from the house if I cut here. CALL THE GUY.
I mow the lawn myself, but I have a guy winterize the sprinkler system.
I straighten up constantly, but I have a housekeeping service. (only every two weeks, It’s not like I’m a Czarina).
Over the years, I am glad I have built up a skill set that allows me the opportunity to tackle projects around the house if I feel like it. I think I am even more glad I have the resources to have it done by someone else when I don’t feel like it.
Where do you draw the line?
Specific Example; Always call for at least 3 estimates before deciding. I recently replaced a hot water heater and saved $600 by calling around. Not only do you get a feel for the price range, but you get a feel for the person behind the work.
And remember to call the people back even though you did not ‘go with them’. It is polite and our world needs more of that.
Where do you come down on Handiness vs Frugality?