Saving money is something that is on a lot of minds these days. We’re all looking for ways to keep a little more cash in our bank accounts. It doesn’t take much time watching TV to see how focused we are on this mission. There are entire reality shows about couponing, and it seems like every other commercial is promising to save us money on car insurance.

Many of us are quite successful in tightening the purse strings without eroding our quality of life, but in time it seems like that’s the last option. The low-hanging fruits are all gone, and if we still aren’t where we want to be, we feel like we have tough choices to make.

That may not be the case. Yes, our expenditures on things like utilities, insurance, and groceries can often be reduced enough to make a big difference, but there are other things that might slip under the radar on us.

One good example is professional services. After the couponing show goes off, the next program might be some kind of do-it-yourself show where a married couple or a group of friends work through some type of project with cheap materials that they put together themselves. Before you know it, they’ve redecorated a room or landscaped a home for a fraction of what it takes to hire the work.

Here are some of the factors that should help you decide which route to go.

Availability of Products

“Professional grade” is not just an idea from Madison Avenue. It’s a legitimate classification of certain products.

Pest control chemicals are a good example. It may seem easy enough to buy a couple jugs of insecticide and walk around spraying them, but that is inaccurate. For one, a special license is required to purchase and apply the most effective pesticides, so an unqualified person like yourself would have to apply weaker, less specialized store-bought products.

Companies providing professional pest control services in Kansas City are far more effective than homeowners at managing the termites and other pests that invade homes there. When high performance is necessary, use a professional.

Danger Levels

Other jobs can be done with whatever tools and materials you can get, but they require a lot more skill than you have. Any of us can go cut a limb off a tree, but when it comes to taking down a large tree, it doesn’t matter what chainsaw we use or how skilled we are with an ax. If we don’t know how to drop a tree or limb correctly, we can easily be injured or killed.

Even the tools can be dangerous before we start the job. Air-powered nail guns send many people to the emergency room each year, some of them professionals but lots of them DIY’ers who just didn’t know how to use the tool.

Diagnostic Skills

Let’s say your heat isn’t working. You do a little online research and decide that it’s the capacitor, a part that runs about $20 and is easy to install yourself. No problem, right? Off you go to the store, you buy the part, you install it…and you still have no heat.

Complex systems in homes and vehicles are rarely easy to diagnose. A professional can tell you that. The biggest part of fixing something is knowing what to fix, and if you can’t do that, you’ll waste time and money—and maybe do more damage—and still not fix the problem.

There is no question that DIY is a potential money saver for us, but there is a fine line to walk. Before you delve too deeply into these projects, you need to think about which ones you should leave to experts. Remember, it’s not an all-or-nothing proposition; you can do some things yourself while still contracting for others, and the more you save on the former, the less painful it is to do the latter.


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