Don't try this at home?

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
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Don't try this at home?

Post by Longruninvestor » Sun Sep 23, 2018 12:06 pm

Fear can be a good thing. Depending on your perspective, either our creator or millions of years of evolution have hard-wired a wariness of the unknown deep into us. A recent post on this board about the dangers of operating a chain saw and numerous exhortations to just pay someone to trim your trees got me to thinking about the tasks that I do and take for granted. Perhaps a few words about what we farm out to others would make for an interesting discussion. The basic rules for this will be to list a few things that others would find too dangerous or risky and a companion list of some things that we've chosen not to do and why.

What I do:
I sold my house without a real estate agent and none of the predicted calamities came to pass. Friends warned me about the inherent dangers of installing my own garage door especially the part about winding and unwinding torsion springs. I not only survived the experience but many of those same friends have asked me to either help them replace a broken torsion spring or to simply do it for them. I own a table saw (gasp) and have removed or disabled many of the "safety" features (double gasp) after concluding they interfered with my sight lines and made me less safe. In the interest of disclosure I have been into my local ER a couple of times over the years. Once for sending a finishing nail from a nail gun into my index finger and a second time after flicking some metal into my eye operating a grinder without eye protection. My early adult years weren't blessed with a lot of money and so I either did it myself or I did without.

What I don't do
I hired a lawyer to draft my will and all the various POAs, healthcare directives etc. I hire a local landscaper when there's a tree in my yard that needs removal as I don't possess the requisite amount of experience for that task. Once a tree is on the ground it's all mine. :D Contractors also get the call when I need flooring installed because I hate the activity and did a lot of it at one time in my life.

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Re: Don't try this at home?

Post by cheese_breath » Sun Sep 23, 2018 5:47 pm

Some people are more adept at certain things than others. You seem to be more adept at those things, but I wouldn't recommend everyone try doing them. There's a reason for the safeties on various tools; many less adept have been injured using them. I have a table saw but wouldn't think about trying to install a garage door myself.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.

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Re: Don't try this at home?

Post by BogleMelon » Sun Sep 23, 2018 9:33 pm

I would never DIY any of these things you mentioned. Also I would never mess with car mechanics for example, as I hate them. Air filters and cabin filters replacement is the most advanced task I can do with a car!

On the other hand, I used to assemble/dissemble a computer tower case with each component that came independently. I simply enjoy doing that (or used to, when I was younger).

I enjoy doing my taxes annually. I can do it with a paper and a pencil, but for convenience I use a software. I still have my own spreadsheet that gives me the refund amount exactly (both federal and state) that match always to the tax software results.

In short, it is a matter of passion. If you have a passion for something, you become more willing to learn it in an advanced way and refrain from hiring other people. And if you hired another person, you may feel some kind of insulted or being ripped off, since you could do it easily and even with a higher quality than anyone else.
"One of the funny things about stock market, every time one is buying another is selling, and both think they are astute" - William Feather

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Re: Don't try this at home?

Post by wilked » Sun Sep 23, 2018 10:14 pm

Longruninvestor wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 12:06 pm

What I do:
I own a table saw (gasp) and have removed or disabled many of the "safety" features (double gasp) after concluding they interfered with my sight lines and made me less safe.
I tend to agree with you. The blade guard prevents my left hand from lining up the cut, I dealt with it for a few months but in the end took the sawzall to it.
And the child-safety button (have to push the button before the blade will spin) got me so spun off i jumpered the safety interlock to the common “on” , thus defeating it.

Dummy proofing only makes an army of dummies

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Re: Don't try this at home?

Post by msk » Sun Sep 23, 2018 10:31 pm

I view all Do It Yourself stuff as absurd economics created mainly by our tax systems. In an ideal economy each one of us will do just the stuff that each is good at and contract out the rest. Unfortunately the taxation system makes it "attractive" to do things very inefficiently. I used to do a lot of stuff no matter how incompetently but I am now very grateful that I can afford contracting out practically everything. Strangely, in the same tax regime :confused

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Re: Don't try this at home?

Post by Wildebeest » Mon Sep 24, 2018 8:40 pm

We also sold our own home without a real estate agent and it went without a hitch.

I cut down many trees and decided at one point that now I could afford to pay other people to cut down trees which may fall on our house. Trees kill, I have never used any of the safety gear my family bought me to keep me from killing myself with the chain saw or the tree with an attitude.

My wife has laid to down the law 15 years ago that I am not to get on two story or three story ladders to clean the gutters anymore and I am grateful, I have lost a step and my balance is not what it used to be and I am not crazy about heights anyway.

I used to love to tile and I tiled the kitchen floor, kitchen counters. I tiled the hallway floor , the bathrooms and when I had tiled every thing I tiled tables. So I got a little carried away with tiling. We sold the house and I imagine that the new owners thought they had a professionally tiled house, may be a little overtiled but it looked good. I have not tiled in years nor do I have the urge.

I have not painted, wallpapered or built a deck now in 30 years. It was point of pride that I built my own deck and put the concrete footers in and rented a special drill to dig the holes and did get hurt in the process . I recall that 25 years ago I bought a giant play set from Home Depot for what I considered at the time a fortune and with a friend who was carpenter we worked like dogs for 18 hours on a weekend to put it together. I found out later that for $ 300 I could have gotten two guys "pros" put it together in 3 hours.

So what did I learn? If anything?

I like to work hard and have a sense of accomplishment if I am successful and it really sucks if all the wallpaper comes down the next day after I hung it. I enjoy mowing my own lawn, clear my woods, plant trees and bushes, blow leaves. But now I have money I do want to enjoy myself and not do stuff which might kill me to save a few bucks.

For some tasks there is no match for professionals who make it look so easy. And I love spending the money on that.

And investing is the one task where I can beat most professionals.
The Golden Rule: One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.

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Re: Don't try this at home?

Post by fortfun » Mon Sep 24, 2018 9:08 pm

-Installed gas pipe to main gas line and ran it to a gas fireplace that I installed. Vented out the chimney.
-Wired in subpanel (100amp) and wired entire basement.
-Plumbed entire basement with pex. 2 sinks, shower, toilet. Installed shower.
-Repaired my furnace. New blower motor and squirrel cage fan.
-Repair my own appliances.
-Do all my own oil chages/filters, etc.
-Rent out my basement. Pays for all family vacations. Many on this board said it would be a disaster. So far, so good...
-Cut down huge cotton wood trees on my parents property with a chain saw.
-Installed the plumbing, wiring, and venting for washer and dryer in basement. Purchased used washer and dryer on facebook and repaired them for basement.

Didn't do:
-Paint two story house. Didn't want to end up paralyzed falling off ladder.
-Change springs on garage door. I think I'll try it next time.
-Re-roof my house (insurance paid for that).
-Installed European shower glass.
-Install granite counter top.
-Install sheet rock or insulation (cheaper to pay someone else for these jobs).

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Re: Don't try this at home?

Post by GoldenFinch » Mon Sep 24, 2018 9:13 pm

I manage a portfolio of dough :moneybag all by myself. :happy

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Re: Don't try this at home?

Post by cheese_breath » Mon Sep 24, 2018 9:30 pm

GoldenFinch wrote:
Mon Sep 24, 2018 9:13 pm
I manage a portfolio of dough :moneybag all by myself. :happy
So does the Dunkin Donuts baker... Anyone remember that commercial? It shows the baker coming in at 3:00am to make the donuts so we can have fresh ones in the morning. Now how did that pop into my mind decades after the commercial ran? :confused
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.

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