Wednesday, May 28, 2014

When to DIY and when not to

Cooking has become a passion for me.  Art and crafting always have been one.  Now that we're homeowners, it's so much fun to DIY something, especially when we know it will save us some cash.

But where do you draw the line?  When does DIY go from passion and fun to not-worth-it drudgery?

For everyone, that answer is a little different.  For us, it generally boils down to time and money constraints.

Here's an example:  I love homemade flour tortillas.  They're warm, and yummy and fresh.  But for weeknight cooking with a little one, they're not very practical right now, even though I know it's far cheaper to make them from scratch than to pick up a pack of 8 or 10 for a buck at the store.  The homemade ones don't keep very well, I've found, and don't work as well for things like enchiladas because they're not quite as flexible.  So, I'm willing to give up my love of the homemade ones for the convenience and time on a weeknight.  (But I love going to a friend's for taco night and whipping some homemade ones up when there are extra hands to help with the little Wubba.)

I love reinventing furniture, which often entails painting it.  But I've learned that it's not Benny's favorite thing to do, especially when there are lots of spindles involved.  So, I'll save up some cash and save Benny's sanity by not bringing home one more project for him, and we'll pay a painter friend to use his sprayer to spray the furniture.  I still get a deal by getting the chairs I want (most recently we found $7 all wood chairs, so we snagged six for the basement craft room), and it still costs less than buying new.

When something veers out of our expertise, we hire it out.  Plumbing and electric work fall into this category, though we've rewired table lamps ourselves no problem.  Our dishwasher seal needs replacing?  We find the seal online for $30 and do it ourselves and save the repair guy fee of $75 or more.

When I find a recipe that looks intriguing and like something we'll love (hello these soft pretzels and rolls), then we find time to make them.  It might mean a little time in the kitchen, but it's fun for us, and it means we might have a new favorite snack that costs a fraction of the grocery store variety without all the preservatives.

What about you?  Where do you draw the line with DIY?  Are you an expert plumber or do you love sewing (that's my summer project)?  I'd love to hear from you!

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