LPT: learn to understand how much your time is worth and when it’s a waste of money to do it yourself

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The major thing you missed is you cannot view your hourly rate as a static value. It has to change for each job you’re assessing. My hourly rate is $60/hr at my desk job but it’s still worth my time to drywall my own basement if a professional was charging $40/hr, even if I hate it and suck at it. Simply because I’m ‘good enough’ and am cheap.


Well, I feel like even with this massive oversimplification, you didn’t account for the big thing that even if you take 15 hours to learn a skill and the contractor would have cost 10 “hours” of money… You’ll still have the skill next time it happens. So, in the entire life of your motorcycle, it would only need maintenance twice to make it worth it for you to learn.


This argument is personally frustrating for me. I renovated a house myself from 2017 to 2019. I did it all myself, only spending about 7k. During those two years several of my friends kept hounding me with the whole “why don’t you just pay people to do it? You’re not saving money if you consider your time.” But the thing is, I WAS saving money. I’m salaried so I can’t just “work more hours” (like you’ve pointed out), but the thing was, I was on a rough timeline. I had a goal for when I wanted the work competed by, and the only way to get it done in that timeframe was to do it myself. I couldn’t just wait to advance my career until I could save enough to pay someone. I had a choice of either: do it myself now, or do it 10 years from now. Sure, if I had the opportunity to take that time I spent working on the house, and instead work more at my day job and make proportionally more money, then yeah what I did would then be considered “not saving any money doing it myself”. But I didn’t have that as an option. So by me doing it myself, meant I didn’t have to pay someone to do it. So I got the work done for less money. I did legitimately save money by doing it myself, because I wasn’t going to do anything else with that time which would have made me any money. I also ended up making about 150k profit on that house when I sold it, so my work directly translated into earning me more money. Had I paid someone else, I wouldn’t have profited nearly as much from the sale of the house. Sorry, this is just a touchy subject for me. Two and a half years of hearing “just pay someone dude, you’re not saving money if you consider your time” just wore me down. I knew what I was doing the whole time, and it worked out just as planned. I did “save money”. Plus, all the DIY experience starts to accumulate over time, and you become proficient at it and can get things done quicker and really start “saving money”. For example, my fridge stopped working a few months back. It’s getting old, it was built sometime around 2000. But it was still working just fine until one day it just stopped. My wife was about to buy a new fridge for a few thousand dollars, but I spent about two hours investigating and fixing it myself. Literally didn’t have to spend any of my own money fixing it, it just took two hours of my time. That same scenario for a lot of people would have meant spending a few thousand on a new fridge. So let’s take my time into account. If I make $60 an hour at my day job, and if we would have had to spend 2K on a new fridge, then I saved $1880. Even if we would have called out a repair person instead of buying a new one, I’m still ahead as their rates are higher than $120. I wouldn’t have been able to tackle this project had I not had prior experience fixing things myself instead of paying someone. Build your skills. You might not “break even” at first, but you’ll eventually get good enough where even by your logic you’ll start to “save money”, and I have a whole lifetime ahead where I can continue doing this. Building these skills has allowed me to afford other things which I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to afford.


I have found that I’ll often exceed the cost of a professional when it requires buying tools and then having to correct mistakes. Some things are worth learning, as you said, for the knowledge and experience. Others are best left to the professionals! I 100% agree with your $40/hr value for my personal time!