Hard Truth Week in Review – DIY Edition
I didn’t write anything yesterday. I am at the lake with Mrs. ToughMoneyLove and our two labs. I filled the entire day with exercise, walking the dogs (they love being here as much or maybe more than we do) but mostly finishing my DIY retaining wall.
Financial and Exercise Benefits of DIY Projects
My philosophy on do-it-yourself projects has evolved over the years. As we age, we accumulate more resources but see less time in our futures. That makes you more strategic in deciding what to do yourself and what to hire out to others.
My general rule now on DIY is that if it is something; (a) I can do without risk to life and limb; (b) I can do a quality job; (c) I can get some exercise; and (d) I can save money, I will strongly consider doing it myself.
To me the exercise is a key component of the DIY decision process. That’s why I may be the only homeowner in our (non-lake) neighborhood who does his own yard work. I don’t like it but I save money and it buys me an hour of solid exercise each week.
Think about it – you can pay to go the gym for an hour or you can save money by working on your yard for an hour. (No – I do not have a riding mower.) Mrs. ToughMoneyLove will tell you that our yard is one of the worst in the neighborhood. Guess how much I care about never winning “yard of the month”? (Sorry honey.) One of the problems with our yard is that two labs live there. When it is time to downsize and move, we will bring in a pro and boost the curb appeal.
Exercise and money are also why I built my own retaining wall up here at the lake. Over the course of three Saturdays, I probably had 18 hours of hard labor in that project. It felt great to save the money (probably $300-$500 in labor) and to get the exercise (particularly after I took the ibuprofen.) I learned a new DIY skill: how to split concrete block with a masonry chisel. And because I replaced a wood retaining wall with a faux-stone block wall, I will never have to worry about that retaining wall needing maintenance when I am too old to do it myself.
Recommended Personal Finance Reading
And now for some stuff I read and enjoyed this week that you may appreciate as well:
MoneyNing published a guest post that reminds us of the long term financial benefit of investing in low cost mutual funds. I think that any fund that (a) is not an index fund: (b) carries a front-end load; or (c) has a cost factor over 0.5%, should be required to carry a prominent warning to prospective investors.
Jim over at Bargaineering published another timely reminder, this one being our tendency to “spend to save.” The coupon distributors and wholesale club operators are experts at exploiting this. Mrs. ToughMoneyLove and I have had to wean ourselves off Costco now that we are mostly empty-nesters.
JLP at All Financial Matters published an email from Scott Burns. Scott is one of my favorite financial writers. In his email, he presents some interesting ideas about the “death of equities.” Definitely a thought-provoker.
Finally, if you are like me and periodically thinking about gold as an investment, I wrote a piece on gold investing for retirement.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend.