And I am talking serious money – we have saved hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of a couple of decades by tackling projects that we could have hired out.
And I also mentioned that YouTube is a great place to look for instructional videos to guide you through a whole range of DIY projects.
There you’ll find advice on how to do all manner of things, both big and small -- from home décor and crafts, to car repair and major renovations -- to get you started on doing more on your own and keeping money in your pocket.
An Example of a "Small" YouTube Fix
My husband used YouTube just this week for something he’d never done before when our printer stopped functioning.
The same gentleman who had the video also sold parts from printers he serviced at his website. My husband ordered the part for $10, and when it arrived, he followed the instructions in the video to replace it. It took about 5 minutes, and we had a functioning printer again.
Now this particular fix saved us “only” about $50-100, since a new printer is often quite cheap, particularly compared to the cost of ink cartridges.
But that’s still savings. And it also prevented our printer from ending up in the local landfill, to say nothing of the time spent researching and buying a new one.
That’s no small benefit in my eyes.
Washing Machine Problems
Here is another example of a situation we encountered where an instructional video saved us an expensive repair call.
A few years back we purchased a new washing machine. It’s a front loader made by Whirlpool, and we’ve generally been very happy with it.
However, there is one design feature that proved a problem for us in the beginning because of a habit we have of turning off the water supply to the washing machine when we are not using it. That’s simply an extra precaution we take to avoid the chance of bursting hoses and flooded basements.
With our old machine, it was not a problem when we forgot to turn the water supply on before starting the machine. That machine would merely blink at us and refuse to start. So, the worst that happened was returning an hour later, thinking the load was done, only to find it had never started.
We would push a reset button, turn on the water, and simply be a bit behind in laundry loads that day. No big deal.
However, with our new machine, if we fail to turn on the water when starting the machine, that triggers a complete lockdown of the door and a shutdown of all functions ---- that cannot be remedied with the simple push of a button.
We discovered this, to our chagrin, when we called the company and were told that the only solution requires a service call from a licensed repairman.
A Design Flaw That Could Cost Us Money
Now, in my opinion, this is truly a design flaw in the machine, and is a sign of the increased complexity and expense of computerization in all our gadgets and appliances.
We were fortunate that the machine was under warranty still, so the visit did not cost us any money.
However, when I absent-mindedly forgot a second time to turn on the water, which required a second visit by the serviceman, he was not as warm and friendly about it.
He told my husband who met him when he arrived for the repair that a 3rd time would be at our expense, to the tune of $300. (I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned that appliance repairpersons command very high hourly labor rates. But they most definitely do!).
That dollar amount made my husband (and me, when he told me about it later) stand up and take notice.
He made a point of standing by the repairman and observing him as he repaired the problem. And when he saw how it was done, my husband realized that it was a fix we/he could do himself, although he lamented how unnecessarily complicated the process was.
When My Own Incompetence Nearly Cost Me $300
There were no problems for several weeks. Then, in a moment of distraction, I made the same silly mistake again with the water (yes, I was really that careless!), and the machine went into its fits.
This time, however, I was home alone, since my husband was overseas visiting family for a couple of weeks. And I had, unfortunately, not been around to observe the repairman the way he had.
That meant I was stuck. The door was locked and wouldn’t open, I couldn’t reset anything, and I was facing the prospect of making a very expensive service call.
YouTube to the Rescue --- Again!
So I did what I have done countless times before and advise everyone else to do. I turned to YouTube. And voila, within a few moments of searching, I found an excellent video that showed me precisely what I had to do to get the door open again.
Following those instructions enabled me to reset the machine, and I was then able to start the load.
Now, I don’t begrudge anybody a decent wage, but that strikes me as highway robbery. I don’t have to tell you that I was very pleased to have saved myself that service call expense.
Such exorbitant repair costs are not uncommon, sad to say, and can definitely hit you hard in the wallet, particularly over time.
Using YouTube can save you the hassle of dealing with repairman appointments and provide major savings as well.
Savings Beyond Household Repairs
And don’t think that the YouTube help is limited to household projects. Car maintenance and basic repair can also be major hits to your budget, but YouTube offers all kinds of automotive how-to videos that explain car issues for the non-mechanic.
As an example, here’s a site I used to show my son how to change the belts in his Subaru.
And just yesterday, I used YouTube to learn how to replace the battery in my programmable thermostat and how to re-program the times and temperatures.
Really, the possibilities for learning how to do things are almost endless.
So here’s my bottom line advice: the next time you think you need to have a professional do a job for you, take a few minutes to check out some YouTube channels before picking up the phone.
You might well be empowered to take it on yourself. And to ultimately pay yourself by keeping money in your pocket.
Go ahead and give it a try, and may it be the beginning of a beautiful partnership towards self-sufficiency and independence.