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Saving Money on Home and Auto Repairs

I used to be all thumbs. Totally un-mechanically minded. And it cost me a bundle. Simple home repairs around the house and car that I could have done myself were delegated to highly paid (and SKILLED I might add, no disrespect intended) tradesmen. This can throw off anybody’s budget.

Things I could have done myself cost literally hundreds of dollars. Things like a tune up for my car. In  this day and age, a tuneup generally consists of changing the plugs, wires and distributor cap. Not brain surgery. And no, I did not use a hammer, that was for the stairs…

Save money - and avoid debt - with ACCC's tips.

Save money – and avoid debt – with ACCC’s tips.

I would look at a task and say, “Geez, I’ve never done that.” Better hire somebody. Now I say, “gee, I wonder if I could do that and save a few bucks.” I’m not talking re-wiring the house, or swapping an engine or transmission. I’m talking simple things that you can look up at places like Ehow.com, or YouTube, or howstuffworks.com.

There is a huge amount of money saving information out there on just about any subject. You can do some simple home repairs yourself and save a bundle.

Empowered by this information and armed with just a few tools in the past 3 months I have saved hundreds of dollars, for a couple of hours work. If you’re paying off debt, I recommend trying to fix a home repair yourself before calling in a professional.

A couple of months ago I replaced my entire sink faucet set (both sides, and the spray unit. It took me an hour after watching a 3 minute Youtube video. ) I bought the parts, and got some reassurance from the guys at Home Depot. (Note: The folks at Home Depot are a VAST wealth of knowledge. When your business is built around diy home repairs, you want to help them as much as you can!)

My savings? Oh, around $400 for a plumber to do a simple job. (Add that to the fact that it was a holiday weekend, the sink was dripping onto the apartment below – and I probably could not get a plumber. If I was fortunate enough to find one, there would be a “rush charge” or holiday charge, I am sure. )

And last month, I replaced the front stairs at a savings of several hundred dollars. I am not a carpenter, and I don’t even own a saw or hammer! My point is, armed with the Internet, and all sorts of “how to do it” videos – if an “all-thumbs” guy like me can get things done, anyone can. And save a bundle. Before you panic and call a repairman, take a closer look and see if your repair is simple enough to attempt. The worst that can usually happen is that you need to call one to make the repair if you fail. (Do use caution – don’t attempt things that can really mess up if you fail!)

Just three weeks ago, my aging Jeep Cherokee broke one of the straps that hold the gas tank. I called around and found two of my local garages were closed on Saturday, and got two estimates from new prospects. I took a closer look at the problem, and went to Google. I found the name of the part I needed, and instructions for the easiest way to do the job. Parts were $33 at AutoZone. The lowest estimate I got was for $275. It took me half an hour. Let’s see, a $242 savings for a half hour’s work, after 10 minutes on the web and a trip to AutoZone. I only used one tool. An adjustable wrench. (The only tool I actually had in the car!)

And this is not just for you guys either. Lots of women can “do stuff” too! The best mechanic my old Subaru ever had was a woman. And if you aren’t the handy type (of either gender) and your significant other isn’t interested, how about asking a friendly neighbor to trade a little repair work for say, some home baked goods, or dinner, or any other barter you can think of.

Even if you are a renter or lease your home, there are repairs that you can do that perhaps can be applied to your rent. Check it out with your landlord. He or she may be up for the idea. Things as simple as yard work or keeping the hallways clean can be a savings over time that can really add up.

If you’re struggling to pay off debt, ACCC can help. Schedule a free credit counseling session with us today. 


Andi is a Marketing Assistant at ACCC. He is passionate about supporting financial literacy efforts and helping to educate people on the Talking Cents blog!

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