i like to think that i’m pretty handy. i can cook, sew, take on minor home repairs, write a kick ass resume, open jars, list all my US presidents in order in under 20 seconds… i’m completely capable of doing a myriad of assorted tasks, both in and out of the home. taking into account these skills and combining with my cheap/broke factor, one might assume that i’m a DIY junky. surprisingly, one would be wrong. very wrong.
i’d like to make something abundantly clear here today: DIY projects are only a good deal/idea if you actually have the skill to execute them on the same level as a professional. sure, it might be slightly cheaper in the moment, but is a few bucks worth the heartbreak and shame (and often additional cost of having the mistake professionally fixed) that often come with a botched DIY job? i think not:
1. prom dresses. prom dresses these days are stupid expensive, so it may seem like a perfectly reasonable idea to cut a few corners and make one yourself. your daughter may even be excited about the prospect of designing her own gown. DON’T DO IT. unless you’re a tailor (in which case be my guest), formal wear sewing is exceedingly difficult to do in a way that doesn’t scream “my mom doesn’t sew that well!”. even if you are a tailor, for the love of god, give your teen limited input on the creation. teenagers have bad taste, and are often trying to slut things up with glitter and inappropriate cutouts. but seriously, just save yourself a lot of time (you’ll be up all night the night before the prom guaranteed) and heartbreak, and take your child to the g-d mall. someday you’ll both be glad that she wasn’t humiliated by your sub-par sewing skills, and that she didn’t attend the prom looking like a day shift stripper or solid gold dancer.
2. salon services. hey, did you know that you have to be licensed to work in the beauty industry? i wonder why that is? the excessive amount of home beauty systems available at the drug store would lead us to believe that we as unlicensed individuals are capable of doing everything from hair coloring to bikini waxing at home as well as any paid professional. why would we waste the money? well, if you don’t mind having orange highlights or a mangled moustache area, be my guest. the quality of salon products is higher, and surprise! they know how to do it right. i speak from experience! i personally have given myself (on multiple occasions) something that looked like bloody crotch hickeys trying to wax my own bikini area. i have also had big brown splotchy patches of hair for several months when i got drunk in college and decided to become a blonde. admittedly, factoring out the alcohol will help, but not that much. also on the list of at-home personal care “must avoids”: anything you would usually have done at a plastic surgeon’s office (injectibles!), self tanner, and of course, home vajazzling.
3. home repair. that’s right, you are devaluing your home with every single hatchet jobbed home improvement project you attempt. once again, home repair professionals are also licensed for a reason. they’re also expensive for a reason: quality home improvement is both difficult and time consuming. if you’ve never laid tile before, chances aret that it’s more difficult to get those lines nice and flush than you might think (especially if you’re using an assortment of bargain basement tiles). we got a great deal on our condo partially because it was filled to the roof with badly installed (and completely inappropriate) tile, lazy paint jobs, and highly questionable electrical configurations (lucky for us, the boyfriend’s dad is a LICENSED electrician).
4. gifts. oooh. nothing guarantees a fast track ticket to the goodwill like a crappy home made gift. i’m not talking about adorably lopsided hand turkeys and xmas ornaments from children, we love those! nor am i talking about beautifully hand knit sweaters, stunning quilts, or incredible baked goods from friends and family that have the skills. the key word here is SKILLS. if you are not the creative type, please don’t think that you can just whip something up with stencils and craft paint that someone is going to cherish for a lifetime. more likely than not, it’s going to cause an awkward moment or two before they hide it in the back of their cupboard just long enough for it to be socially acceptable form them throw it away. some classic non-nos:
seriously, people hate this shit.
in summation, put that sawzall down, scoop up your dignity, and put that money back into the economy where it belongs by supporting yourself some trained professionals and local businesses. there are a million different ways to save money, but trust me, using your own unskilled labor isn’t one of them.