Welcome to the last week of the Saving Money blog series! In Week 1, I talked about having a plan before you start decorating and how to create that plan. In Week 2, I showed how to shop within a budget. In Week 3, I discussed the importance of making practical purchases. In Week 4, I shared how moderation in trends will save you money. Today is week 5 and I will be discussing how do-it-yourself projects can save you money OR cost you more money.

Naturally, the first solution you think of to save you money in decorating is to do-it-yourself (DIY). The internet is saturated with DIY projects with step-by-step tutorials and it is easy to automatically assume these projects are always the right solution to save money. However, the problem is that DIY projects aren't always the right solution. So how do you know when a DIY project is the right solution and will save you money? Below, I will discuss 4 topics that will help you determine whether DIY projects are the right solution for you. Here we go.....

1. Skill Level
The problem with the internet is that bloggers sometimes make a project look way too easy. DIY bloggers build and create all the time which means they are very good at their job. These bloggers most likely started with easy projects and then worked their way up to more difficult projects. This should be the same with you. The first thing you need to do is to determine what your skill level is. Are you a beginner, know-enough, or expert? If you find a DIY project tutorial that is too complicated for you to understand when you first read it, don't do it. Trying to follow a tutorial that is too hard will leave you frustrated and the finished product most likely won't be the way you envisioned.

If the result of the project doesn't turn out as planned, plan B is usually to go out and buy the item new from the store to replace it. Which means all the money you spent on that project is down the drain, so only attempting DIY projects within your skill level will save you money.

Not sure what DIY skill level you are at? Find out by taking a quiz HERE.

Style In A Snap Quiz

Example: Large Canvas Painting

Skill Level: Expert 
(however the artist made it look so easy you assume it should be beginner)

Shopping list: 
Large Canvas 
6 small bottles of craft paint

TOTAL Money Spent: $25+

Result: The painting was so much harder than you imagined and the final painting wasn't good enough to hang in your living room, so now you can either spend $25+ more and try it again or buy a new painting instead from the store. You wasted $25+ in a failed project, when you could have used that money towards a new painting in the first place. 

2. Tools Needed
Unless you are an experienced DIYer, you probably just have the most common tools (hammer, screwdriver, drill) available in the house. Years ago, I attempted the famous rain gutter bookshelves in my kids' room. I figured building these would save me money because I only needed to buy inexpensive rain gutters, brackets, end caps, and screws which cost about $60 for everything, which was pretty good, but I didn't add in the tools that I needed to buy:
Hacksaw: $5
Level: $10
Stud finder: $15
Sand paper: $5
Dry wall anchors: $5

TOTAL money spent on tools: $40

So my overall budget went up to $100 for everything. Which I realize still isn't terrible, but when you budget for $60 and end up spending $100 on a tight student budget, it is frustrating. Spending more than you originally plan is never fun.

However, if you plan on doing numerous DIY projects, then buying tools is a great investment. But if you are planning on doing 1 or maybe 2 projects, and then never use those tools again, then that is a great time to consider buying a new item instead of attempting a DIY project.

3. Time

Don't underestimate the value of your time. Is this project going to cost me too much of my time when I could be doing something else more productive. If it is going to save you X amount of dollars is that worth X hours of your time?

Also, when a project takes a long time to do, your patience level gets low and sometimes towards the end you just want the project done and aren't as detailed like you were when you started the project. Leave those DIY jobs to the professionals who will do it right.

4. Quality

Maybe you are thinking of painting a thrift store nightstand in a fun, bright color. Great project! Now to budget the project:

thrift store purchase price $15
sand paper $5
paint brush $5
primer $7
paint $15
new hardware $10

(I realize these prices are not exact, only estimates)

Below are just a few pieces of furniture I found in fun, bright colors that are pretty inexpensive:

Even if the overall cost of your DIY painting project is still cheaper than buying a new piece, you now need to determine if the quality of your finished project measures up to a new piece. If you have done furniture makeovers numerous times and you know the tips and tricks to produce a great finished product then maybe this project is for you. However, if you are new to DIY projects you might not have the knowledge yet to produce the best result and quality. Ask yourself if spending less for a lower quality piece is worth it or would you rather spend more money for a piece of furniture with higher quality.

So my overall 2 cents on DIY projects is this: they might end up costing you more money and they might end up saving you money. If you want to research and learn how, invest money into tools and supplies, and do multiple projects then DIY is definitely for you and can save you tons of money. However, if you are only planning on doing 1 or 2 projects and aren't patient or have enough time, then DIY projects probably aren't for you. Knowing which category you are in will save you money!

Thanks for a reading this SAVING MONEY blog series! I have so much fun sharing my tips with you. If you missed any posts click the pictures below:

Don't forget to read Week 1 HERE:

Don't forget to read Week 2 HERE:

Don't forget to read Week 3 HERE:

Don't forget to read Week 4 HERE: