You'd Be Surprised How Much Money You Can Save With These Five DIY Hacks
The best bit? Anyone can do them.
“I don’t want more money,” said literally no-one… yet in the age of Airtasker and Uber Eats, most of us are pretty quick to throw money at projects we could so easily do ourselves in exchange for a bulked-up bank account.
From learning how to change your own car oil to fixing your favourite jeans at home, you’d be surprised how much money you can save when you ditch the “I’ll just pay someone to do it” attitude.
1. Change Your Own Car Oil
This is up there with changing your own tyre: most people could do it, but don’t because they can pay someone else to do it for them. But changing your own car oil could save you up to $200, and it’s not as hard as you might think.
You’re going to need oil (duh), and it’s best to go to an automotive shop like so they can help you choose the right one for your car (coz nobody wants to use the wrong lube). While you’re there, them to fit you out with the other bits you’ll need – like a new oil filter. Then it’s time to get really friendly with YouTube tutorials. Look for ones that relate to your car’s specific make and model, and watch a few through before you get started to make sure you’ve got everything you need and a good understanding of the plan before you start pulling bits out of your engine.
Keep in mind, some services and repairs definitely shouldn’t be DIY jobs. That’s what mechanics train for, so use them for anything more involved.
2. Grow Your Own Herbs
Seriously, have you seen the price of fresh basil at the supermarket? If you’re thinking of putting homemade pesto on your menu, you’ll be forking out a lot for enough leaves. Or if you only need a spoonful or two for a recipe, the wastage in buying a whole sleeve is real. Instead, grow your own – you’ll save money, reduce food wastage and feel really clever about yourself that you kept plants alive. Even apartment-dwellers can get in on the action – there are plenty of cute indoor planters around that you can set on the windowsill. Bonus: whose home doesn’t look better with a little greenery growing?
To get started, pick a pot or planter (the clever self-watering type will save you if you’re the forgets-to-take-care-of-plants type). Pick up some potting mix (not garden soil – it’s different, and won’t do your pot plants any favours) and some pre-potted starter plants (sooo much easier than growing from seed) – parsley, mint and basil are all good pot-growers.
3. Fix Your Own Clothes
Okay so we’re only talking basic mending here: but are you really going to let a tiny rip force into a whole new $200 pair of pants? Or a popped button stop you wearing your favourite shirt?
Didn’t think so.
There are a couple of basic rules to remember when you’re stitching up your own clothes: Do the repair asap, even if it's only temporary, and get yourself into good lighting. You need to be able to see what you’re doing! Use thread that is the same colour or a shade darker than your fabric, and avoid using long lengths of thread, which can pull and stretch the fabric out of shape. Different stitches are best for different mending jobs (Google will be your best friend in learning how to do these).
Running stitch is the most basic hand sewing move you can do, but it’s a goodie for repairing hems (like, pant or sleeve cuffs) or reattaching straps that have come loose.
Back stitch is a little more advanced, but nothing to freak out over. It’s good for re-attaching zippers where the seam has come undone, or repairing tears in the fabric (rather than simply an undone seam).
Whip stitch is a bit trickier again, but great to repair busted seams, split pockets, or hems where the fabric (rather than the stitching) has split open.
Bonus: some research has suggested that hand-stitching is associating with feelgood hormone serotonin in the brain. This is (not?) a stitch up!
4. Painting The Walls
Home renos aren’t cheap – and while you probably (definitely) shouldn’t try installing new electrics yourself, you can easily save yourself a couple of grand doing the interior painting yourself. And honestly, it’s not that hard to get a profesh finish. First warning though? Do not rush this. If you don’t want it to look like your mate’s three-year-old did the decorating, take your time and do it properly.
Check in with the local hardware store about which exact brushes or rollers you’ll need, as it varies depending on the job. Load up on masking or painter’s tape to cover light switches, borders and window sills, for perfectly straight lines (and no splodges from an unsteady hand). Drop cloths are a must, because you will be pissed if you get paint on the carpet or floorboards. And don’t skimp on the super-important step of cleaning and priming the walls. Boring, sure, but worth it for walls that look like you paid the pros.
5. Introducing: Your Café-At-Home Latte
Look, we get the desire for that morning flat white. It’s not a matter of ‘want’; it’s a ‘need’ through and through. But if you swap one of your daily three (four? Five?) café-bought espressos for one you make yourself, you’ll be saving up to a grand a year – so, we reckon it’s worth it.
You can elevate your pod/aeropress/cold drip/instant cuppa by frothing your milk at home without forking out money (or bench space) for any fancy gadgets. Grab a glass jar with a lid and fill it no more than 1/3 full with milk. Screw on the lid (tightly, please!) and shake the shit out of it. When the milk’s frothy and about doubled in volume, whip the lid off, throw in the microwave for 30 seconds and watch while the froth magically (science, actually) rises to the top. If it threatens to sill over, just pause the microwave until it settles then hit go again. Voila! Pour the warm milk into your coffee, spoon the froth on top and thank us later.
Clearly, every little bit adds up – and, let’s be real, devoting even half the time you spend scrolling Insta would leave you with enough time to fit most of these hacks into your life. (Unless you literally sit and watch the herbs grow, which we don’t advise… but you do you.)
For the potentially thousands saved, we say: worth it. And you don’t even have to give up smashed avo on toast.