Frugal Fixes

Did you know that there are a ton of things you can do around your house on your own to save money? Some of them might seem scary at first, but a lot are fairly easy to learn how to do! I never considered myself a “fix-it-yourself” type of person – my dad was the first person I called for any sort of handyman help, and if he couldn’t handle it, then it was definitely a job for a professional. When we bought our first house, my husband was adamant that we do things ourselves in order to replenish our savings, and I was extremely skeptical. However, after seeing how many tutorials are available both online and in our local hardware stores, I felt more confident in letting him attempt some work on his own. I was pleasantly surprised at all we were able to accomplish, and I even learned how to do a few things myself! I thought I would share a short list of some of the small projects and repairs we’ve taken on. Remember, if you’re uncomfortable doing the work yourself, by all means, call a professional, but it doesn’t hurt to do a little research and give it a go first!

Painting. This was probably the most simple of all the things we tackled on our own. It was a little-cosuming (mostly due to my perfectionism and the need for lines and angles to be “just so”), but we saved hundreds of dollars by doing this ourselves. You’re only paying for basic supplies (paint, brushes/rollers, trays, and any tape or protective coverings you might want).

Fixing holes in the walls. This was another fairly simple task, providing you know what materials you need. My husband was a pro at this, so he did most of the teaching in this case. We bought spackle to fill in a few holes and cracks in our walls (mostly minor, but a few larger ones here and there), and then we sanded it down so it was smooth and flush with the wall, repeating when necessary.

Hanging pictures. This seems like it would be fairly easy, but you’d be surprised by how frustrating it is for many people (i.e. me) to measure out spaces for hanging the hooks while keeping them level. I found a super simple solution that allowed me to hang pictures easily WITHOUT damaging the walls… I used Command Picture Hanging Strips! You can use as many as you need to support different weights, and you can adjust them if they’re crooked on the wall or just not to your liking.

Refinish furniture. These are some of my favorite projects because they freshen up your space without having to replace anything. Instead of buying new pieces or taking your old ones somewhere for an update (which can cost a small fortune), there are a number of quick and easy fixes you can try! Our favorite was Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, which allowed us to change the color and finish on a number of furniture pieces without having to strip, sand, or prime anything. We spent about $60 to refinish our media console instead of spending $450 on the new one I was eyeing up.

Unclogging the drain. Would you believe that I was 26 years old the first time I ever had to plunge a toilet? While this is a simple solution, it’s not always quite that easy, but still manageable. Having worked in early education for the past 9 years, I have a fair amount of experience retrieving odd objects from toilets and sink drains (or as I’ve encountered at home, tons and tons of hair). Most things get stuck in what’s called the trap, which is typically easy to access yourself (seek out the assistance of YouTube for a tutorial!), and you can usually clear away the debris causing the clog. You can also purchase items to blast the blockage through the pipe, such as this handy little guy we found at the hardware store.

Lawn care. I’ll just come out and say it – I HATE yard work. I don’t like the dirt, I can’t stand bugs, and I’d rather not spend my afternoon covered in sweat (unless I’m sitting by the pool). My first thought was to hire a lawn service to take care of our unsightly brown yard and pine-needle-covered flower beds, but the hubby would have none of that! We did a little investigating in the outdoor section of our hardware store, and found a number of products to help us get our outdoor spaces in line. Even though we sacrificed a few weekends sprucing it up, we saved a few hundred dollars by reseeding and treating our lawn on our own instead of hiring someone.

Stay tuned to find out how our next home project turns out… we’re doing a small bathroom remodel all on our own! Have you ever attempted any home repairs yourself? What did you find the easiest or most difficult to do?