Hello Readers! I know right now we are all looking for ways to save money and cut our expenses down, but today I really want to focus on an issue that often comes to mind when I think of DIY ideas: is it really worth it?
I’m not going to lie. I am frugal, along with my husband. Dave Ramsey often says that there are always two people in a relationship: the saver and the spender. While I do spend more than my husband, we are both savers. If I can save ten cents on something, I will. However, I have come to realize that there are often times when DIY or frugal tips isn’t really worth the effort to do.
I can already hear a few gasps out there as penny pinchers like myself think I’ve gone insane. But it’s true. Sometimes I find that spending the ten cents is worth it when the effort to DIY would cost far too much time. Here is an example for you. I buy Bohemian Hearth bread for around $1.89 plus tax. I typically get their Multi Grain version of bread, and our family likes it. The first ingredient listed is Whole Wheat Flour, so it contains the right kind of grains for fiber. Now, I could make whole wheat bread at home, and I have made it in the past. In fact, I have calculated that a loaf of whole wheat bread made at home is roughly $.56. So it’s well worth the price I could save on making the bread from scratch. However, the amount of time it takes to make the loaf is where the extra money comes in. A loaf of bread often takes at least two rises, each rise consisting of an hour or more to proof the dough. Adding in the hour it takes to bake it, minimum, and you’re looking at three hours at least spent at home waiting on bread. The extra money spent buying a premade loaf s actually worth the price over spending the extra time making a loaf from scratch, especially now that I’m forever chasing after a toddler.
Another key to focus on when thinking of DIYing it rather than buying it is the cost. I know that often things are marked up heavily, but sometimes the supplies needed to DIY something can be more expensive than the item itself. For example, I often see really cute decorations that I would love to have in my own home, and I sometimes think about buying the supplies to make them. But when I start pricing everything out, it turns out that sometimes those great decorations that look oh-so-easy to recreate will cost me a pretty penny. Sometimes, that price is higher than the original item. I then tend to re-evaluate my “need” and determine if the final product is worth the price. And often, I end up not buying it because the product isn’t worth the price. So, sometimes estimating the cost to make something myself prevents me from having the product in the first place.
One final point of the DIY project that I often ask myself when determining whether or not to do it is “What is the demand versus the supply?” I am always torn about selling my ideas or turning my ideas into something of profit because I often see small businesses fail and side ventures crash due to time or money constraints. If they don’t fail, the owners/creators often hit what I call “burn out”, or the point at which they burn themselves out trying to fulfill the demands on their own without hiring anyone. My hesitance has often prevented me from venturing into a money making opportunity, which is fine for me because I am not a businessman. But occasionally I have a DIY project that makes the cut because the effort is worth it, the price is right, and the demand is there. One such project was my 2017 Planner idea.
Confession: For the first time in almost 20 years, I don’t have a planner of some kind. And it’s killing me! But, I couldn’t find one that I truly liked anymore, and the one I wanted (a Mom’s Planner) was sold out whenever I looked for it. I had a planner that I purchased and that I thought I would love. But I hated it! Most planners come spiralbound, which I have grown accustomed to, and I have to be accustomed to them because I’m a southpaw. Left-handed planners don’t have the features I want, so I don’t bother with them. Most of the time, I feel like those planners try to dumb down the planner system, which doesn’t help me in my quest whatsoever. Anyway, I ordered this really cool motivational planner to use for this year, but I didn’t really think about its binding until it arrived. Surprise! It’s book bound. Now, this is typically okay, but it requires you to write in it. Weekly. I mean really write in it! Frankly, I grew tired of fighting with it to stay in place while I wrote in it, of having to write in it all the time when I had a kid to take care of, and wrestling with it to keep it neat and clean. And, after getting it, I realized that the planner didn’t have things I needed.
I started questioning what I wanted out of a planner and I started thinking about the cost. I would see planners that I really liked, but they were way too expensive! I once found a simple weekly planner I liked that had some nice features on it, but it was almost $50. For a spiral bound planner. There was no special cover or reusable binder. That was it. But after looking at it and realizing it was overpriced (it was a designer one, so the name was what you were buying), I realized I could recreate something very similar to that. And so, I got to work on my planner idea.
It took me some time, but I created a planner that works very well for me. And it has been extremely useful for me. And best of all, it cost me less than a regular planner of its caliber would cost me. Far less. So, sometimes DIY projects can be useful, but often it can cost you more in time or money than the project is worth. When evaluating your own DIY projects ask yourself if the time, money, and demand is really worth it before you start. If you can answer yes to all three, then go for it! If only two yes answers, then re-evaluate it before moving forward. And if only one yes, then table it until you can get another yes or two. Often, you will find yourself not doing those extra DIY tasks that don’t always work with your time and money.
Until next time,