Ten money-saving DIY skills everyone should have

Do It Yourself (or DIY) projects are great for a couple reasons. First, you get the satisfaction of doing something on your own, with your own hands and your own skills. You completely own the final result. It’s fun and rewarding.

Secondly, it’s usually a heck of a lot cheaper than paying to have someone else do it.

Since saving money and feeling personal satisfaction are both pretty awesome, here are 10 things you should learn to do for yourself – not only to save money, but because doing it yourself is fun!


Everyone should really have at least a passing familiarity with the old needle and thread. Being able to patch your own clothes saves money and adds life to your favorite shirts, pants, and other articles.

Beginner level: Patching holes; re-attaching buttons
Expert level: Making new clothes from scratch


Painting large areas can feel like more of a chore than a skill, but doing your own painting can save you big time money. It’s time-consuming for sure, and you may decide that the time and effort outweigh the potential savings, but you should know how to paint your house, inside and out, in case a necessary paint job isn’t in your budget.

Beginner level: Touch ups
Expert level: Painting the exterior of your home

Changing your locks

You don’t need a locksmith to change your locks. You can do it yourself and save money in the process. Just make sure that changing locks on your own doesn’t in any way invalidate your homeowner’s insurance.


Hiring a plumber is rarely very cheap. There are a lot of jobs that you should always leave to a professional, but more than a few that amateurs can successfully undertake on their own.

Beginner: Unblocking a clogged drain
Expert: Replacing damaged pipes

Car maintenance

Your car requires a lot of regular, routine maintenance. You can significantly cost down of the costs of keeping your car on the road by performing some of these tasks on your own.

Beginner: Replacing light bulbs, air filters, wiper blades, and engine oil
Expert: Replacing brake pads

Home repair

Homeownership is a great feeling, but owning a house comes with a lot of responsibility to keep it in one piece. When problems crop up, you can always hire a handyman. Or, if you want to save money, you can learn how to be a handyman yourself and handle some basic repairs all by yourself.

Beginner: Filling holes and cracks in wood and drywall
Expert: Laying tile, repairing leaks

Make your own cleaning products

For a lot of us, the cost of buying cleaning products is just an accepted cost. We tend to forget that there’s an alternative. But you can save a lot of money over time by making your own cleaning products. You can also substitute the often-harsh chemicals of store bought products with more natural ingredients, which is especially handy if you have sensitive skin or certain allergies.

Starting a garden

Many people love gardening because it’s relaxing. There’s something meditative about tending a garden. But you can also save money on grocery costs, so you really can’t go wrong when it comes to starting a home garden.

Beginner: Starting an herb garden
Expert: Beginning a vegetable garden

Cutting hair

If you’ve got a sizeable family, regular stops at the salon/barber shop are going to start adding up. Luckily, you start reducing that cost by investing in some scissors and learning how to cut hair yourself. Some looks you might not be able to replicate, but learning how to perform basic trims can save you a sizable amount of money in the long run.

Beginner: Cutting your son’s hair
Expert: Cutting your daughter’s hair

Grooming your pets

Finally, if you’ve got pets, depending on the breed, they may need regular haircuts. Consider handling your pets grooming on your own, rather than using a grooming service. If you’ve got a young pet, work on getting them familiar and comfortable with the grooming process. It will make grooming pleasant for them and much, much easier for you.

Jesse Campbell is the Content Manager at MMI, focused on creating and delivering valuable educational materials that help families through everyday and extraordinary financial challenges.

  • The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) is an association of nonprofit consumer organizations that was established in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy, and education. Today, nearly 300 of these groups participate in the federation and govern it through their representatives on the organization's Board of Directors.

  • Since 2007, the Homeownership Preservation Foundation (HPF) has served as a trusted, neutral source of information for more than eight million homeowners. They are partnered with, and endorsed by, numerous major government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of the Treasury.

  • The mission of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD works to strengthen the housing market in order to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes; utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; and build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination.

  • The Council on Accreditation (COA) is an international, independent, nonprofit, human service accrediting organization. Their mission is to partner with human service organizations worldwide to improve service delivery outcomes by developing, applying, and promoting accreditation standards.

  • The National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®), founded in 1951, is the nation’s largest and longest-serving nonprofit financial counseling organization. The NFCC’s mission is to promote the national agenda for financially responsible behavior, and build capacity for its members to deliver the highest-quality financial education and counseling services.