Today we bring you our first guest post! Our friend Mrs. Picky Pincher stopped by to answer an important question: When should you call a professional? For us, we love to fix things ourselves. Whether it’s a leaky toilet, replacing a pool pump, irrigation issues, or installing ceiling fans or lighting, we’re pretty handy at most things. It builds our personal skillsets, saves us a ton of money, and helps us build confidence in our abilities, but there are some jobs we feel more comfortable leaving to a professional. Anyways, take it away Mrs. Picky Pincher!
Bio: Mrs. Picky Pincher is the money-saving maven at Picky Pinchers. She writes about living the good life while paying off $225k of debt.
There ain’t no doubt about it: I love saving money. If there’s a cheaper way to do something myself, I’ll do it in a heartbeat. While the DIY approach is usually successful, sometimes you need to call in a professional. I have nothing against expert folks, except for the squeeze they put on my wallet.
Those Times I Didn’t Call For Help
I’m guilty of avoiding professional help in the name of saving a dollar. While I’ve technically saved money, my cheapness has put me into quite a few pickles.
It was May of 2015. The hot Texas weather made me rethink my long hair, and I was looking to chop off my ‘do. I considered spending money on a new haircut but I thought, “Bah! It’s just cutting stuff with scissors! I’m gonna save my $10 and do it myself!”
I also had two glasses of wine before this, so I was feeling brave. I took my blunt scissors and confidently cut a horrific, uneven chop on my hair. It took two minutes of staring in the mirror before I giggled nervously and shouted for Mr. Picky Pincher to help.
Bless his heart. Mr. Picky Pincher tried to even out my mess, but to no avail. I considered rocking my asymmetrical coif, but I knew I looked like a Kindergartener who’d gotten into the scissors.
I found a Great Clips coupon and got my hair fixed for a grand total of $8. But I could have saved myself the stress of cutting my own hair by just going to the pros from the beginning. D’oh!
Fixing Our A/C
In October of 2016, the A/C in our house went kaput. That wouldn’t be a biggie if we didn’t live in the single hottest place in the U.S. Well, not really, but it was still hot. It was a sweltering 95 degrees outside and our house was like an oven.
Sensing how expensive an A/C repairman was, Mr. Picky Pincher took the bull by the horns and attempted to fix our A/C himself. After many calls with his dad and YouTube tutorials, he went for it.
We bought a part and fixed the A/C. But it still didn’t work. Then we realized we needed yet another part, and then another, and another. The Home Depot trips and the head-scratching involved with learning how the A/C worked was too much.
After two days of suffering, we called in the pros. Fortunately, our home warranty covered what turned out to be a $700 bill. We walked away with a bill for just $75 and a functioning air conditioner.
It turned out that we spent way more money trying to fix the problem ourselves. We should have realized our limitations and called a pro to save money and sanity.
We’ve always been adamant about doing our own oil changes. Sure, he gets a little dirty, but we save $20 – $30 per oil change. Not bad, eh?
Well. Mr. Picky Pincher’s truck, which we bought used, had a funky engine. The oil filter wasn’t available in seven auto stores that Mr. Picky Pincher frequented. He even tried to Google the filter to order it online, but no luck! He even bought a similar filter and tried to make it work on the truck, but it obviously didn’t work.
In frustration, we finally took the truck to get the oil professionally changed. Apparently the truck had a Mexican engine, which meant it needed a completely different oil filter. Who knew?
Thanks to the pros over at the Valvoline, we had our oil and oil filter changed. Although this was after wasting plenty of time and money chasing the wrong thing. Ugh!
When It’s Time To Surrender The DIY & Pick Up The Phone
So yeah, I’ve had my share of cheap moments. It’s perfectly fine to do something yourself to save money, but that choice shouldn’t be a detriment to your time, sanity, or finances. After screwing ourselves over with DIY projects, I’ve come up with a system to determine whether you should just call a professional.
CALL A PROFESSIONAL IF:
- It’s an issue of safety. Please don’t try to re-wire your house (like we did) unless you’re an electrician.
- You lack the knowledge. Some people can repair cars, appliances, and clothing themselves. If you lack the knowledge to do these things, it may be better to call a professional.
- It will cost you more to DIY. Let’s face it: professionals can sometimes cost less money than DIY. They already have the tools, parts, and knowledge at their disposal to help you out. Heck, some of them even get better discounts on items that cost double at the store.
The Bottom Line
Don’t get me wrong, y’all. I’m the queen of DIY. But there’s no shame in paying for expert help. Paying for a service doesn’t mean you’re not frugal or that you’re wasting your money. Everyone has different talents and needs different assistance. It’s all about drawing the line between what’s worth the extra money and what’s not.