Music Mondays – I Need a Hero


The DIY Kind

I was never handy and until I met my hubby, I would pay large sums of money to get “professionals” to help me with anything from unclogging a toilet to fixing a light switch. I was in dire need of a DIY hero to save me from spending money on projects I could probably do myself, and then thanks to, I found him. For full disclosure, DIY was not one of the items I added to my “wants” in a man, but lucky for me I found it anyway. Here is a post from my DIY hero.

Forced into DIY

Hi everybody, its FB Hubby. I know what you are thinking, I only show up on FB Foodie Friday posts since I am the main cook of the house. So what am I doing here on Music Mondays and why the song I Need a Hero? Well, turns out cooking is not the only cost saving talent I have developed over the years. I am also a very big Do It Yourself (DIY) guy. I was lucky enough to have been shown several things while helping my very handy father while I was growing up. Of course, at the time, I did not see it that way. When you are 14 and having to help Dad refinish a basement during your vacation time (including hanging sheet rock, wiring switches, and painting) you don’t consider yourself lucky. Not to mention having a younger brother (13) who tried to constantly get out of the work by loudly complaining the whole time. In all, it did not seem like a worthwhile experience at the time. However, those early lessons certainly paid off big later in life. It has also made me a DIY Hero among many that I have helped with their homes including friends, some other family members, and most importantly, Shannon.

My DIY beginnings

Although my Dad did show me things when I was younger, I really was not paying a huge amount of attention. After all, I was a teenage boy and the only thing I was capable of paying any attention to were teenage girls. When I bought my first place, I wanted different light fixtures, ceiling fans, room colors, and a dimmer for one of the lights. I was also a teacher and there was no way I could afford to hire someone to do all of these things. I took these projects on one at a time. When I would go to Home Depot, I would ask the staff about what I might need to do each project and any tips they could give me. I remember when I put in my first ceiling fan with an attached light kit. I read all the directions first and set out to doing it. I also made my first mistake, starting to do it at night after dinner. I didn’t think about the fact that I would need to turn off the power to the room and that would leave me working in the dark. (You would think a Physics teacher would think of that). So when I did tackle it, it turned out great. Yes, it probably took me a good two hours to do. That can often be the case when you DIY something the first time. However, since then, I have put up a dozen of these and it does not take long at all. It also gave me the confidence to tackle my other projects.

Start Small and Build

Like any learning process, it is always good to start with a small project. This will help you build that confidence and experience to take on more complicated projects. That first ceiling fan and dimmer switch helped me understand a good bit about electrical work. Since then I have installed track lights, pendant lights, sconces, and replaced outlets, GCFIs, and switches, and even put in a new garbage disposal. In my first experience with painting a room, I made several mistakes that were easy enough to correct. Since then, I have painted many of the rooms in every place I have lived. Some projects will take time, especially if it is a new project. I recently redid our downstairs bathroom including new tile, a new toilet, and a new vanity. I had never done any of these. I could have hired someone to get it done in probably one-third the time, but at four times the cost. However, the time I took to do it myself not only paid off financially, but I now know how to do it all. So when the time comes to take on the next bathroom, I will save both time and money. Plus the satisfaction I got from this made me feel like a DIY hero!

Ten Tools Every DIY Hero Needs

It turns out that to do most of the projects I have tackled has required only a few basic tools. Larger projects I have done like redoing the bathroom, installing a double wall oven, and building Shannon a desk, have required some special tools. However, most everything else, including putting in a garage door opener and a new back door, really only needed a few basic tools. These are what everyone should have. They don’t take up much room (except for the ladder) and can be stored in a small location. So here is what you should have in your toolbox:

1. Claw Hammer – These range from $7.00 – $30.00. I don’t see why anyone needs a $30 hammer.

2. Ratchet Screwdriver Set – These are great as they have changeable bits that allow a single screwdriver to adapt to any situation. Also, the ratchet feature makes it easier to use. They are only about $10.00.

3. Cordless Drill – This will be the most expensive of the basic tools you should have. They can range from $30 for a 9.6 V drill that probably will not do much for you, to $300 for a 20 V, three speed hammer drill that you really don’t need. I recommend an 18 V drill, most of which range from $50-$100 (this includes the battery charger). You want to go cordless and wires can be a nuisance when working. You will also need a set of drill bits, and they run about $15 for a good set.

4. Locking pliers – You need pliers for lots of things, but the adjustable, locking kind make many jobs easier. This set of three is $15.00.

5. Hex Key (Allen Wrench) Set – There are so many things from furniture to door locks that have these special screws that require an Allen Wrench. This set with all different sizes runs about $10.00.

6. Tape measure – A 25 ft (7.6 m) one with a locking mechanism is usually good enough. They can cost as much as $35.00. Please don’t spend $35.00 on something that an $8.00 one will do just as well.

7. Combination Wrench Set – A good set runs about $20.00 and has two sides to each wrench to deal with different types of bolts and nuts.

8. Good Paint Brush – A good, multipurpose brush that will last runs about $12.00. I recommend a 2 inch angled brush. It will come in handy for large and small paint jobs.

9. Wire Stripper/Cutter – This handy little guy is essential to doing anything electrical. (Always remember to turn off the power at the breaker box when doing any electrical work). It will strip and cut most wires you will encounter and can also grip and bend them and costs about $8.00.

10. Ladder – A good 6 ft ladder is what most people need. An 8 ft is better, especially if you have high ceilings, need to do stuff outside, or you are vertically challenged. Ladders can run from $50.00 to $200.00, but I have not needed a really expensive one.

I need a diy hero 2

You Can Be a DIY Hero!

If you have ever hired an electrician, plumber, or repair person, you already know the costs. I have often heard that these people have already charged you $100 before they got out of their van. Over the years I have saved thousands of dollars by doing it myself. It has given me the freedom to do things in my home that I really wanted because I could afford to. Even with some of the more frustrating projects (usually plumbing related) I have always felt a great sense of satisfaction when I was done. In the end, if you ever feel a project is beyond your abilities, then do contact a professional, but always get quotes from more than one. I like using Angie’s List for reviews and contacts. Aside from places like Home Depot and Lowes coming along, the greatest help to DIY has been the internet. Now every time I want to tackle a new project, I go online first. On Wednesday I will share my favorite DIY videos I have used to help me with projects both small and large.

You got to love this video, if nothing but for Bonnie Tyler’s 80’s hair style, plus that house is in need of some serious DIY!

Are you a DIY hero? Have you ever done a DIY project you didn’t think you could accomplish? If not, what are you afraid of?


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Shannon is a financial planner who left a “traditional” financial services firm to start her own company, The Financial Gym, because she felt traditional financial services firms did not have the tools or resources to help people in their 20s and 30s who are starting out and trying to build assets while also managing debt. She realized that the key to long-term personal financial success is a commitment to financial fitness and making smart financial choices. Through her blog, Financially Blonde, her book, Train Your Way To Financial Fitness, her podcast, Martinis and Your Money and The Financial Gym, Shannon is committed to making financial fitness fun, easy and accessible for everyone.

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