Rediscovering the Power of DIY

22 Jan

diy toolsWe live in a world of automation and outsourcing. Our culture tells us that we need to eat precooked food, buy pre assembled products, and let others work for us. How many people these days change their own motor oil or paint their own homes? Not as many as their once were, that’s for sure.

But as our culture continues to move in those directions, you can unlock some serious potential in many respects by rediscovering the notion of DIY, or Do It Yourself. The DIY subculture in America is massive, and growing bigger by the day. There are more popular DIY websites than I could ever fully research, and pretty much any task or item in today’s world has a DIY alternative.

Learning how to do things yourself is very easy. Instead of paying someone else to do something for you, you just have to learn how to do that thing and do it yourself. Obviously the difficulty will change based on what you are doing (cooking your own food is much easier than, for instance, installing your own roof).

Embracing the practice of DIY has numerous benefits. Here are some of the biggest:

  • Save Money: It is pretty obvious that when you do something yourself instead of paying someone else to do it for you, you are going to save money in the end. Of course, some types of DIY will save you more than others. For instance, cooking from scratch will save you at least 75% on your total food costs over eating out, while changing your own oil won’t be anywhere near that. But almost all kinds of DIY will save you at least a small amount of money.
  • Learn How Things Work: By doing maintenance on things like your car, home, or computer yourself, you learn how they work. And when you have a better understanding of how something works, you will be more able to use it more effectively. It might also help in a time of need, like if your car breaks down in the middle of no-where.
  • Exercise The Brain: What kind of information do you think will be more useful in life: memorizing the lines to your favorite romantic comedy, or knowing how to replace the air filter of a car? DIY activities are typically mentally stimulating, and can help you constantly learn all sorts of interesting and helpful knowledge.

If you want to get started in the world of DIY, you may have a hard time knowing where to begin. Here are some of the best places (in my opinion) to start out:

Auto Maintenance

Learning how to perform your own basic car maintenance is one of the greatest skills a young man can acquire, and one that many women will want for practicality’s sake. You can save a lot of money by doing your own routine maintenance, and if you have a real knack for it, you can even do some of the more complex stuff that would normally cost hundreds in labor. If you really want to take this up a notch, considering restoring an old car. I once rebuilt an old dirt bike, which was a very enjoyable and worthwhile experience. From the knowledge I gained there, I’m able to do all sorts of maintenance on automobiles.

Home Maintenance

Another great starting point is doing your own home maintenance. Learning basic skills like simple plumbing, appliance maintenance, or wiring can save you thousands of dollars over time. It is also a fun hobby to have, and is very satisfying. And if you ever want to build your own house, you’ll be able to do some of the work yourself. If you want a good place to get started in home maintenance without jumping right into the critical pieces (it would suck to accidentally blow up a pipe trying to fix a leak), try something like painting.


The simplest and most common form of DIY is cooking your own food. I cook all my own food from scratch, and I can tell you that there are countless benefits. The food is healthier than processed alternatives, you save a ton of money, and it is actually quite fun to cook. Let’s face facts, cooking is just a giant excuse to play with knives and scalding hot metal, and then eat copious amounts of amazing food. What can be better than that?

Build Furniture

One of my favorite DIY hobbies is furniture building. Surprisingly, this isn’t nearly as hard as you would think, doesn’t require too much equipment, and can be done in a limited amount of work space. Building simple things like book shelves and clothes drying racks is a great place to start, and all you need are some basic power tools. I built my computer desk with nothing more than a simple circular saw, power drill, and sander. Of course, you can really scale things up if you have access to more serious equipment. I built my gun cabinet with my uncle, who has a wood shop, and it is leaps and bounds above anything I could ever purchase.

Endless Possibilities

Of course, those are only a few ideas. DIY has literally limitless possibilities. Whatever your hobby or needs are, there is going to be some sort of DIY project out there that can make things cheaper and more interesting. Whether it is reloading your own bullets, making christmas gifts for your family, building armies of small robots, or any other little project, DIY is the way to go.

If you want to do some more research into DIY, there are some websites that you should check out. One of my favorites is Instructables, which I’ve used for years, and has all sorts of excellent tutorials. They have thousands of user submitted tutorials for any sort of project you may have. There are lots of other DIY sites out there, including many that are specific to a category of project. Do a simple Google search for whatever it is you want to do, and you’ll no doubt find someone else who has already done that DIY project and shared about it online.

Do you have any favorite DIY projects? Let us know in the comments!

3 Responses to “Rediscovering the Power of DIY”

  1. Sean @ One Smart Dollar January 22, 2013 at 8:08 am #

    I wish I was more handy around my house. I know that I could save a lot of money by not having to pay someone to do it. Labor costs are so high.

  2. Canadian Budget Binder January 22, 2013 at 4:23 pm #

    I’m pretty handy around the house but I only DIY what I know I can DIY. There’s nothing worse than people who “think” they know how to do something and then mess it up. What happens is it costs more in the long run. I remember looking at houses when we were buying our first home and the bloody mess some people made with their DIY projects that they expected to get paid for was alarming. Needless to say we opted for a home with an unfinished basement and that no one messed with. Best decision thus far.

    • James January 22, 2013 at 4:28 pm #

      Yeah that is a good point, it is definitely possible to do more harm than good if you don’t know what you are doing, especially when it comes to home maintenance.

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