Saving Money By Having Diverse Interests

I have wildly diverse interests. Typically this first reveals itself to the casual observer by the range of reading material I have around at any given time. Becky has grown accustomed to seeing me with a stack of books (ok, usually more than one stack!) on everything from woodworking, to baking artisanal breads, to fermenting, to understanding opera, to learning Italian, to jewelry making, to house building techniques, to Storey’s Guide to Raising Sheep and Chickens (you just never know when this information will come in handy!). There might even be a seed catalogue (or 10) in the pile too!

On occasion I need to resort to audiobooks to save time because it’s just not possible for me to read that fast. Years ago I tried to learn speed reading to help in this area, but I just got bogged down in reading the how-to book.

Having a wide range of interests directly relates to your skill sets, and in turn, to saving money. The skills I have gathered over the years reflects in a large cost savings. It’s the idea of self-sufficiency that many of us pursue. I love being self-sufficient. Sometimes I surprise myself when switching from one project to the next in a short period of time. One day I’m building our new deck, and the next day I’m baking bread. On another day I find myself walking around a craft store buying supplies to make earrings as a Christmas present for Becky, then repairing a broken appliance. I love the diversity of my interests. And when I say ‘interests’, think ‘skills’.

Reading and watching homesteading blogs and videos, one thing that really stands out for me is the vast array of skills homesteaders have. I think it’s amazing. It’s something we all have in common.

I took some time recently to reflect back on how much money Becky and I have saved over the years by doing things ourselves. It’s definitely hard to come up with an accurate number, but it was fun to think back over some of the projects we have done and just how much we didn’t spend because we did it ourselves.

I’ve built decks, renovated our basement (although it took much longer than some of us at the homestead would have wished), installed dishwashers, worked on plumbing projects, put in new breaker switches into our main electrical panel, etc. etc. All of these things cost money if you have to pay someone else to do it, and often the quality of work is not always the best.

Just recently the door latch on our dishwasher (affectionately known as the Relationship Saver) broke. And it broke in the shut position. Ok, I thought to myself, if I can get it open then I can take it apart and see whats going on. I tried and tried but just couldn’t get it open. The next day before having to resort to calling a repair company I gave it one last…..whack…..jackpot!!!!

Google, Youtube, a quick visit to the manufacturers website, and a short time later I returned from the appliance parts store. New door latch assembly in hand. Another job done.

Labor costs can be the most expensive item when you build or fix something. Having a repair person come out to fix our dishwasher would have probably cost $100 in our area just for him to show up. I would guess the labor on our deck would have been around $1500-$2000. The labor on renovating our basement… Probably $5000.

So, overall, having a wide range of interests and an equally wide range of skills can be absolutely crucial in the homestead in order to save valuable money, and be self-sufficient.

This is what makes living on the homestead easier, and cheaper. It’s saved us a lot of money over the years.

Sure there have been offers to loan me out for an afternoon to build, repair, or bake, but Becky has not accepted any of those offers yet. Maybe the price just needs to go up and she’ll take some of those offers more seriously.

Stan

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Posted on January 26, 2015, in Homesteading, Homesteading In The City and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Nice to know I am not the only one who doesn’t read much fiction. I would like to but it just fails to get my first attention when I sit down to read.
    A few weeks back Johnny fixed our stove that was failing to keep accurate temp. You can imagine how I felt when it started acting up after Thanksgiving, Christmas around the corner and all. He took it apart, etc, but no luck. In my panic, we called a repairman from the mainland (none on the island) but he was too busy. Google, youtube, and we could only guess the problem. Ordered a part from amazon.com (a U.S. stove) and, voila!, job done. Around €25. We were very pleased with ourselves. Thank goodness the repairman was too busy to be bothered. Imagine that bill–travelling 1 1/2 hours to get here and then having to stay until the evening ferry?!
    Way back when I read your apple scrap vinegar post, I read it to Johnny (as I was giggling aloud and he wanted to know why), and he commented that you two sounded like our alter egos. The more I read of your wonderful relationship and homesteading life together, the more I agree with him.
    p.s. We are still looking forward to the kitten and kitchen door story you mentioned in that post 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow Melissa, I could not imagine how much it would’ve cost to have the repairman spend the entire day on the island. Nice way to spend the day… Just not at your expense. Such a sense of accomplishment when you do it yourself.
      It’s funny what you said about alter egos… I feel the same way. You and Johnny sound like really good people with a great relationship. I have read some of your posts and comments to Becky (The shape of your raised beds to spell out the word LOVE). I mentioned to Becky about you wanting to hear the story of the kitten and the kitchen door… She rolled her eyes LOL. I will definitely still post that story, but the main point of the story is that she has never seen me work so fast to get something that I want. 🙂

      Like

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