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Our dishwasher broke a little while back. It was making some funny whirring noises that had the husband and I convinced that it could work, but ultimately left scratching our heads. Although we are both somewhat lacking in the DIY and technical skills needed, we LOVE having a go at household repair jobs. It feels our frugal hearts with joy.
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The desire to fix our stuff comes from three places:
We don’t like spending money
Whether this is on replacement stuff or engineer callouts, if there is a saving to be had we will do it.
We don’t like throwing stuff away
The thought of our dishwasher lying in a landfill for the rest of time makes me want to cry so we will try and keep things for as long as possible.
We don’t like being the same as everybody else
In our minds, most people throw things away at the first sign they are going wrong. We actively work to be different from everybody else so that means we keep broken stuff forever.
With this mentality we regularly find ourselves dismantling things, poking around inside things and patching stuff up. Before I tell you some ways that you too can save money, I’m going to start with some warnings.
When NOT to attempt household repair jobs
- When gas is involved. There is a reason that gas engineers have lots of qualifications and you must get your boiler checked regularly. It’s because gas can be dangerous. We don’t have the first clue about it, so we stay well away and I fully recommend you do too.
- Same with your electrics. Some electrical jobs are simple, but they should still be carried out by a professional to ensure that they are safe. Messing around with your home’s electricity supply is silly. Pay for someone else to do it.
- If you don’t have the right tools. In my opinion, a good set of tools is a must for any frugal home. It allows you to attempt loads of jobs like this. Yes, it can be tempting to give things a go, using a penknife and a rusty old spanner. However, this runs the risk of an imperfect job. Invest in the right tools and they’ll pay for themselves.
- When you haven’t disconnected everything. This one is for appliances. Before you start working on something, make sure it is unplugged (switch off at the mains if you must), disconnect or switch off any incoming water and have a plan to deal with any outlet water.
- If you are lacking in confidence. If you’ve read all my steps below and you still think that it is beyond your capabilities then I would recommend just not trying. You don’t want to find yourself in an even bigger mess.
- When it’s the microwave that needs repairing. I spoke to my husband about this post and he said that repairing a microwave is dangerous. Something about magnets. I don’t understand but I do trust him.
Disclaimer: If you decide to attempt to repair something yourself, then do your research. No responsibility will be taken on my part for any outcome. The information given here is not a substitute for professional guidance.
Things to do before you start a household repair job
- Get on YouTube. You can find videos on how to repair most things on YouTube. We’ve fixed our oven, dishwasher and fridge thanks to those videos. And it doesn’t stop there. You can look up various hacks and techniques to make fixing them even easier.
- Source the right tools. Having the proper tools for the job will make all the difference. But this doesn’t mean that you must head out and buy them all from B&Q. Ask around. My parents have been doing DIY for years and have accumulated all sorts of tools. When I need something, I ask them first.
- If I can’t borrow what I need I head to Gumtree or Facebook marketplace to see if I can get what I want second-hand. Invariably, someone near me is selling what I need for much less than I would pay in the shops.
- Shop around for spare parts. Again, you can get parts for everything online. And if you are prepared to put in the time you can get them for a good price. If you really want to save money, then you may even be able to look on eBay for a used version.
- Prepare your work area. The last thing you want is to cause further damage to the item you are trying to fix or another item in your house. Covers, blankets and rugs are good ways to protect the floor and nearby furniture. Overalls can be used to protect your clothes.
Things to do during a household repair job
- Pay attention to what you have done. The last thing you want to do is forget how to put everything back. My husband and I always work together on tasks like this because then we’ve got two people to watch what is going on.
- Keep any parts you remove in a safe place. Sometimes you might need to undo a few screws to get to the bit that needs fixing. Having a box or a pot to put these parts in will keep them safe.
- Trust your instincts. If something looks wrong then have a look into that. It might not fix your current issue but it might prevent a future one.
- Give things a little clean as you go. It’s not as though you are going to open it up again in hurry, so you might as well give it a little clean now.
- Keep your phone or tablet close so you can watch any videos or refer to any helpful guides as you go. Just remember to keep such devices away from any water.
Things to do after completing a household repair job
- Congratulate yourself and anyone who helped you. I like at this point to work out how much it might cost me to get someone else to repair it or buying a new one. Then I proudly quote this figure as a saving to anyone who will listen.
- Remember to dispose of any old parts safely and in an appropriate way. Some parts may need to be taken somewhere special to be disposed of. Contact your local recycling centre for more information.
By doing taking this action you put yourself in a good position to save money by doing your own household repair jobs. Just remember to be safe!
Disclaimer: Remember the information you read here does not represent advice. Any ideas or suggestions are just that and may not work for you. Read the full disclaimer here.