Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Posting images to share ideas and get advice is always fun, but please be mindful of copyrights (i.e. if it's not yours, just link to it instead).

How Do You Find the Time/Money to DIY?

I love reading YHL and the fact that there is now a forum has made my day, my week, my month and quite possibly my year. I've gotten many ideas from this website and other design websites. My question to you is how do you find the time and the money to DIY? Do you set a portion of your paycheck toward home improvements? Do you set a specific time during the weekend to focus on DIY? What if you don't have the tools to DIY? Do you hire someone? I'm curious as to how others schedule home improvements in your life. Care to share? I'd love to incorporate some of your ideas. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed with all of my projects and if something is too expensive I get the blues. Help.


  • I try to move in baby steps. When we first moved into my house it was a 1970's nightmare. I found which wallpaper was the easiest to remove and started there. The materials weren't costly and it improved our home in a really obvious and satisfying way. I also like to work in short spurts of time. I work full time so there often feels like I just can't get everything done that I want to. So I do a little bit here and a little bit there until it's done.

    1. Do inexpensive things with big payoff (like painting) until you can save up enough for that major project.
    2. Take your time. Who says you need to reno your whole house in a month? Do what you can when you can.
  • I feel your pain! We kind-of have a monthly budget for "house stuff" (it could mean buying molding/tools, or new curtains). We're not good at getting things done in the evenings after work, so so far we try to blast through things on the weekends as much as possible. I miss relaxing weekends though, so my new goal is to do more after work now :)

    We have a 1 new tool per project max. Sometimes it's something simple, or sometimes it's big (a mitre saw to install flooring). Over the course of two years we're amassing quite a collection. Oh, sometimes we try to borrow tools from neighbors too, especially if it's something we know we'll only use once.
  • DIYing is hard because even though it's cheaper than paying to have things done, you still have to have money to do it!

    Right now, I'm just doing little things with the bit of extra money we have. I'm trying to save up for supplies for a new kitchen backsplash!
  • Following. I don't have any tips here but want to hear what others say. We moved into our first house when our newborn was only 4 weeks old. Needless to say we are taking baby steps (pun intended). With working and taking care of our little guy we finally have some time to ourselves around 9:00 at night but are too exhausted to start a project. I don't know how John & Sherry managed it all with Clara! Inspiring!
  • Glad I'm not the only one in this boat. Thanks for the ideas.

  • K8e9 said:

    1. Do inexpensive things with big payoff (like painting) until you can save up enough for that major project.
    2. Take your time. Who says you need to reno your whole house in a month? Do what you can when you can.

    So much truth! I had trouble getting this through my head when my boyfriend and I first started DIYing the house. I had to learn to slow down and realize that some things were not going to get done quickly and that's okay! I like to think of it as having a permanent hobby.
  • I think the number one thing when hoping to be a DIYer is PATIENCE. We moved into our first house last May and are STILL chipping away at TONS of projects. We both work full-time, so it's not like we have a ton of spare time, so we just do projects when we can and when the motivation strikes. Some weekends we don't get anything done - some weekends are full of DIY productivity. We just go where our motivation leads us, and we've learned to be OKAY living in half-finished spaces and having half-finished projects laying around (we've been working on redecorating our master bedroom/bathroom since December). As for money, we do have a monthly "house" category in our budget that is set aside for anything we need related to updating our house.

    Another great idea, if you have DIY-minded friends and loved ones, is to throw a "DIY Party" (similar to a "Pinterest Party"). Have friends come over and bring their latest project and spend a Saturday DIYing together. It's great motivation to finally get going on some projects, and you get to socialize at the same time (bonus points for making a fresh pitcher of sangria to share!).

    All in all, my advice is to be patient and flexible. And don't forget to ENJOY IT!
  • We take it one step at a time. We have a one-year-old and we both work, so projects have to be broken down. We put aside a certain amount of money each month for projects. There's no way we could do projects as quickly as YHL does since we both work outside the home.
  • BeckyBecky Minnesota
    My hubby and I both work full-time and we have two young kids (3 and 1) so our DIY projects are usually done after they go to bed or we sometimes hire a babysitter to entertain them on the weekends for a chunck of time. As for budget we haven't really had to save up that often for projects because we are able to work it into our monthy budgets. That's one advantage to buying a fixer-upper for us is that it left us with lower mortage payments and more wiggle room in our budget. Bonuses and tax returns usually go towards bigger splurges (countertops, ect.)
  • 1. Before we made any updates/purchases for our house, we paid off our credit card
    2. We don't go to movies/out to nice restaurants so our "entertainment" portion of our budget goes to small projects and purchases
    3. We use tax returns or "premium" paychecks to do/save for bigger projects.
  • We have spent the last 6 yrs DIYing our home. We take one project on at a time. We try to pay cash if we can so our credit cards don't built up. It took us almost a year to finish our Family Room because we mostly only worked on it on weekends, but in the end it was worth it. Take your time and make sure you still do things outside of your home like go to dinner with friends or family or out to a movie. It's easy to let the house projects take over. I like to make list for each room. Let's say the bathroom, I put a list together of short and long term projects for that one room. Projects always seem to take longer then you expect, so I always give a time frame that is realistic. Think about the projects in the one room that are most important to you first. Number all of the projects for that room. Then check things off as they are done. Some projects just come out of our weekly salary, but some projects have to wait for tax returns. We always figure out during the week, what we will do on the weekend for whatever project is next in our home. It seems to work for us. We also try to get the supplies for that project during the week, so we are ready to go Saturday morning. And if we don't have the tools for that project we either borrow from someone or go out and buy it. We have hired pros to do certain jobs though. We have even hired our neighbor that does side jobs. Lower cost sometimes to hire a handyman or someone that just does it on the side. With any contractor we have found that if you offer cash, they will come down a little with their price. Always ask, it will not hurt. Hope that helps. :-)
  • My husband & I both work full time, however we love DIY & home improvements. We normally plan early in the year which 'big' projects we want to do in the year ahead, work out approx costs and how much we can afford to put away - this dictates when the project will happen. Our budget thankfully is flexible enough to have many small projects to work on in between the bigger ones :)
  • We also pay cash for the smaller things and save big projects for tax time. Sometimes it means spreading a project along the span of a couple weeks (or months) to pay/work in phases, but the end result is always worth it. When I get the urge to buy something (or eat out) I ask myself.. "Do I want this, or do I want to save the money for this project I've really been wanting to tackle?" Most times the project wins, and I stick the $ into my DIY fund. :)
  • Having the right tools is a big cost barrier sometimes. It's takes money to invest in tools to make future DIY projects cheaper. I sort of view each DIY project as an investment- in my home, my skills, and my arsenal of tools. But it is certainly an upfront cost that I factor into a project.
  • I work full time more than 40 hours a week. I try to do 2-3 small projects a month if it is only putting up some pictures so I feel I am moving forward. Big projects like painting a room I do when I have 2-3 days off in a row. I do a lot of reading and saving of ideas (hello pinterest!) so that when I finally do a project I've thought about it so much that the indecision is gone.
  • I'm learning I have to be patient. We've been in our house a bit over a year and a half, and while we've taken a huge chunk out of the to-do list around here, part of that has been us just being realistic about what we can/want to do, and striking things that don't fall into those categories off.

    We're pretty lucky that we don't have many major projects to do around here, and those that we do can be broken up into smaller chunks (ie our main bath reno, which was a gut job down to the studs, took over a year from start to finish, though the bathroom was usable for 90% of that time). It's much easier for us to pay for smaller projects or chunks of bigger projects than it is to save for and tackle something huge all at once. We like to do things on weekends since we work through the week, and don't usually spend the whole weekend DIYing. It's all about balance.
  • We don't own yet, but we have the money-saving part down. We are really particular about not putting things on our CC that can't be paid off. I already have lots of ideas for our house (whenever that may be), so I'll have to work on the patience part, but making sure that its paid for, I'm not too concerned about.
  • I sell stuff I no longer use, or no longer want, or things my kids have get the idea! All the money I make from selling off stuff gets funneled into home improvement projects! I've redone our laundry room, painted our daughters room and picked up a few "girly" items for her walls (I was a boy mom for 9 years before we adopted her so I'm new to the girly stuff!), painted the hallway, created 3 photo walls throughout the house, and next up is our hall bathroom! I already have the paint, and the flooring...and I'm purging my closet to purchase a new mirror and light fixture! It's like a game! "How-long-can-you-feed-your-DIY-addiction-just-by-selling-off-your-crap" lol
  • I have to admit I don't do very big DIY projects... The biggest I've done was tearing down the hideous wallpaper in our previous home and painting the walls a warm white with grey accents. But it took me three years to get there :)

    When we bought our current house we decided to save money each month for home improvements and other house related things, and that works well for us. We lived in our house for over a year without doing anything (except putting up a wall and not finishing it!). By then we knew what we wanted to do and had saved enough money to do it.
  • Hey all,

    Great thread...before we moved into our renovation project we culled all non-essentials. Eating out, gym membership, buying lunch at work, expensive mobile network contracts, extra cable channels all went bye-bye. Then all the extra money went into the pot for moving costs and to get the first lot of big work done in the house (damp proof, re-wiring, etc.). Also, if you get in a professional to do something, ask them straight out what you can do to save money, so with the damp proof we saved over £1000, by digging the trench round the house ourselves, and stripping off all the plaster, you get a lot of bang for your buck if you do some of it yourself, which makes whatever you bean put away go so much further.
  • We have been renovating our house for about 5 years now. Little by little. My husband and I both have full time jobs with non-regular schedules so finding time is very hard. We usually spend all of our weekends doing house projects. There is not one room in our house that doesn't need to be gutted (because we have no insulation). We take it one room at a time, and most of the time, we get the construction part over with and don't feel like dealing with the decorating. We also put aside money every paycheck for house projects. Sometimes life gets in the way and our savings go towards other things, but we deal. We also use our tax money every year to do something big. This year we did our kitchen renovation, last year we got a new heat pump and did a small bathroom. We had 11 windows that needed to be replaced, we have replaced 8 so far. The good thing about taking it slow, is that we have time to shop around for good deals. Ask friends for tools. We pretty much have our own circular saw, sawzall, drywall tools, and paint tools. everything else we borrow from friends and family. And we have done absolutely everything in our house by ourselves, electrical, plumbing, drywall, flooring, and windows. Good luck with everything. Sometimes when I am exhausted from renovating I look at how far we have come instead of how much we have left. :)
  • I sell stuff I no longer use, or no longer want, or things my kids have get the idea! All the money I make from selling off stuff gets funneled into home improvement projects! I've redone our laundry room, painted our daughters room and picked up a few "girly" items for her walls (I was a boy mom for 9 years before we adopted her so I'm new to the girly stuff!), painted the hallway, created 3 photo walls throughout the house, and next up is our hall bathroom! I already have the paint, and the flooring...and I'm purging my closet to purchase a new mirror and light fixture! It's like a game! "How-long-can-you-feed-your-DIY-addiction-just-by-selling-off-your-crap" lol

    Great idea!

  • I'm an accountant and my husband is a software engineer so we have a spreadsheet of everything we want to do to the house with a priority level and estimated cost. We add/edit this list often but that is generally how we decide what to tackle next. We don't do anything we haven't saved enough money to tackle with cash.

    We also have 1 small child and another on the way so most of our DIY time is scheduled after bedtime and on weekends with help from family to watch our daughter. We are very lucky to have family around to help.
  • I find that my DIY stuff happens in spurts...i'll do a few things within a couple weeks of each other then nothing for a time. Most of my projects are paint related so pretty inexpensive and like others have said already painting packs a good-sized punch for little cost.
  • We’re restoring an 1890 Victorian home… that had been neglected in every way you can neglect a house… and we’re now going on four years.

    My best advice (I wish someone had given me) is to plan every detail possible before even beginning… that’s not always feasible, but I think it has a direct correlation to everything from budget to stress to timeframe… especially with large projects.

    When you get to a point where you are so overwhelmed, you’d spend ANY amount of money to be finished, that is not the time to be making decisions.

    Victoria • Restoring our 1890 Victorian
  • Sign In or Register to comment.

    Debug Trace

    preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead
    #0 [internal function]: Gdn_ErrorHandler(8192, 'preg_replace():...', '/var/www/fronte...', 270, Array)
    #1 /var/www/frontend-719b11c93ff3b4/library/vendors/Smarty-2.6.25/libs/Smarty_Compiler.class.php(270): preg_replace('~\\{\\*(.*?)\\*\\}|...', ''{php' . str_re...', '<!DOCTYPE html>...')
    #2 /var/www/frontend-719b11c93ff3b4/library/vendors/Smarty-2.6.25/libs/Smarty.class.php(1509): Smarty_Compiler->_compile_file('customtheme:def...', '<!DOCTYPE html>...', '<?php /* Smarty...')
    #3 /var/www/frontend-719b11c93ff3b4/library/vendors/Smarty-2.6.25/libs/Smarty.class.php(1442): Smarty->_compile_source('customtheme:def...', '<!DOCTYPE html>...', '<?php /* Smarty...', '/var/www/fronte...')
    #4 /var/www/frontend-719b11c93ff3b4/library/vendors/Smarty-2.6.25/libs/Smarty.class.php(1274): Smarty->_compile_resource('customtheme:def...', '/var/www/fronte...')
    #5 /var/www/frontend-719b11c93ff3b4/library/vendors/Smarty-2.6.25/libs/Smarty.class.php(1126): Smarty->fetch('customtheme:def...', NULL, 'younghouselove....', true)
    #6 /var/www/frontend-719b11c93ff3b4/library/core/class.smarty.php(138): Smarty->display('customtheme:def...', NULL, 'younghouselove....')
    #7 /var/www/frontend-719b11c93ff3b4/library/core/class.controller.php(1855): Gdn_Smarty->render('customtheme:def...', Object(DiscussionController))
    #8 /var/www/frontend-719b11c93ff3b4/library/core/class.controller.php(1314): Gdn_Controller->renderMaster()
    #9 /var/www/frontend-719b11c93ff3b4/library/core/class.pluggable.php(199): Gdn_Controller->xRender()
    #10 /var/www/frontend-719b11c93ff3b4/applications/vanilla/controllers/class.discussioncontroller.php(268): Gdn_Pluggable->__call('render', Array)
    #11 /var/www/frontend-719b11c93ff3b4/applications/vanilla/controllers/class.discussioncontroller.php(268): DiscussionController->render()
    #12 [internal function]: DiscussionController->index('67', 'how-do-you-find...', 'p1')
    #13 /var/www/frontend-719b11c93ff3b4/library/core/class.dispatcher.php(326): call_user_func_array(Array, Array)
    #14 /var/www/frontend-719b11c93ff3b4/index.php(44): Gdn_Dispatcher->dispatch()
    #15 {main}