October 25, 2012

How Handy Are You?

Posted in personal finances at 11:48 pm by otherdeb

First, an apology…been down all day with a stomach bug, so have not been up to writing until now.


Erica, at Northwest Edible Life, has an excellent article on handiness around the home today.  In it, she talks about a friend who does a lot of heavy work around the house so that she can save the money for something she wants.

Now I live in an apartment, so there’s not a lot of handiwork around the house I can do.  My  landlady prefers it if we have her call her son’s friends to do the work.  The thing is, they are generally not certified, and the quality of the repairs is highly variable.  Because of this, I have been thinking about learning more about home repair.

For one thing, my shower drain has been clogged for a while.  I’ve tried hot water, and I’ve tried Drano, and neither of them have worked.  We also have a toilet whose handle leaks whenever we flush it.  I’ve told the Landlady about it before, and her guy came, and did something to it, but it still leaks, and is getting worse.  I’m pretty sure I could fix it, given that I am a construction worker’s kid.  Well, being his kid isn’t enough, but my sister and I did spend a large part of our child- and teen-hoods helping him remodel houses.

It occurs to me that if I could learn to do remodeling stuff then, I can probably relearn it now — at least enough for small repairs.   (In fact, I just stopped writing long enough to actually get the shower drain unclogged!)

Saving money is a good thing, whether it’s for your emergency fund, for paying down your old debt, or for saving up for that new shiny tech toy you really, really want.  And learning to fix things around your house or apartment is a great way to enhance your confidence.  I don’t mean you need to start fixing your car if you don’t have the knowledge, but you can start by doing small things — gluing together a drawer, rehanging a wobbly cabinet door — stuff like that.

So, how handy are you?  What level of competence do you have to fix things around your home/apartment?  Where do you think you can start to improve your skills?  If you aren’t  handy at something, can you create a barter for it with someone who is?  Further, what uses can you put the money you save this way to?





  1. Janet Wilson said,

    Not a lot I can say this time — I’m totally unhandy (bad eyesight and clumsiness). My son, however, can unclog drains and replace washers and stuff like that, and he does. For major problems the landlord’s agent sends someone over. Some things just don’t get fixed, and that’s where I come in, by learning to live with the situation. As to any money saved, it goes onto the debt automatically (or if my son’s saved it, goes on snack food). Congratulations on conquering the drain, Deb!

    • otherdeb said,

      Thanks, but I kind of had no choice. Showering every so often is an important part of 21st Century life, in order to not offend others.

      I’m glad you have a handy on, Janet. I have to borrow my ex’s kid when I need a guy to help. I’d borrow my ex, but he is the first to point out that both his wife and I are far better at this sort of thing than he is.

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