Five simple home DIY repairs that can save you dollars 14



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As we all know, making ends meet in retirement can be hard. Our income is usually lower and the bank balance seems to go down at a horrifying rate. The good news is that there are plenty of things you can do to stretch your dollar further, including not calling in an expensive repairman and doing simple repair jobs yourself.

The first step is research. You cannot fix something if you don’t know how to. Nor should you fix something beyond the scope of your average DIYer, so stay away from things that really should be done by someone qualified for safety reason, like electrical installations. With most common household issues, you can find plenty of information online. Hardware giant Bunnings also runs a myriad of workshops on things such as tiling and laying a deck which you can tap into.

Below are just five common problems almost everyone can fix themselves.

1. The dishwasher won’t work

The most common problem with dishwashers is that they suddenly stop draining. This doesn’t mean they are broken, just stuffed – literally. A clogged drain line is an all-too common problem. If you don’t have your owners manual to hand, jump online and Google your particular make and model and the issue and the odds are some useful info will come up telling you how to check this. Usually you just have to unscrew the drain cover and check for obstructions. It can also be one of the pipes leading out of the machine.

2. Replacing a tap faucet

A leaking tap can be really irritating and add to your excess water bill. Usually this is fairly simple: just  buy a new faucet and check the installation instructions. Before you go to install it, take everything out from under the sink and turn off the water. This job can be harder if there is old or poor quality plumbing so check that before you begin. If the plumbing needs extensive work, call in a plumber to sort out the mess. We’ve all seen the ads where someone tries to fix something under a sink and water goes absolutely everywhere! Usually you can get the parts and equipment you need from a large hardware store but sometimes you will have to go to a kitchen and bathroom fitting outlet.

3. The washing machine won’t drain

Washing machine repairman make a fortune out of “fixing” a couple of issues that are beyond simple. Firstly, if the machine is not draining, have you accidentally moved the outlet hose? The level this is at can stop a machine draining. Have you accidentally hit the “drip-dry” switch or another switch? Check all the obvious possibilities out before jumping on the phone. You’ll feel pretty dumb if you have done either of these things and have to pay the repairman an $80 call-out fee.

4. The front door

Replacing your front door? You’ll need to think about doorbell, door locks and door knob. All are simple to install yourself you follow the instructions. You also need very little in the way of an equipment. Many hardware stores sell a kit that will give you everything you need, including a specialised saw if you are adding a deadlock or new doorknob. Just a tip here: try to make sure you like the available doorbell “rings”. You’ll be living with the one you choose for a long time.

5. Repainting your driveway

If you have a concrete stencilled driveway that is past its use-by date it can cost you a fortune to call in an expert to redo it. Grinding off the stencilling can cost a lot, not to mention paying a painter to repaint it with a top-quality paint. The good news is that you can do an acceptable job yourself and potentially save up to $1000 or so. You can hire a high-pressure professional-standard gurney with brushes from a local hire outlet to give it a thorough cleaning. Go to your local specialist paint store and get them to order the paint for you – making sure it is professional-standard paint, and not cheap stuff from a local hardware store. With some careful masking up, you can also add a feature colour in a pattern, making use of the underlying stencil pattern. Preparation is king when it comes to this project.

So there you have it, five DIY projects you can do yourself to save money. There are thousands more out there – all it takes is the will to do them.


Have you done a DIY project around your home that saved you money? Did it turn out the way you wanted? 


Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. Would love to replace our double front doors but they are not standard doors and I think it would be a hard job.

    3 REPLY
    • I would just like new ones as these have been there for some time. There probably is nothing wrong that a little paint won’t fix. Sometimes, though, you do get sick of the same doors.

    • Look online as there are door manufacturers that can provide and deliver new ones. They will need the door measurements but there is no reason not to be able to have new ones.

  2. Yep and yep. I worked on my first renovation when I was 10, first house build when I was 12 then another renovation when I was 14. Since then I have renovated several houses and helped fit out 2 sport shops. Yep I may be a systems analyst by profession but I learnt woodworking and sheet metal working fron an early age. From the age of five every house we lived in had a full woodwork and metal work workshop. My father wouldn’t have it any other way. B|

  3. I try and do most things myself if I can’t have a few people I can call on for help . Am painting the whole onside of my home at the moment only have bathroom a day kitchen/dining room to do also front fence have had a little help from brother children and grandchildren . I’ll be 66 in January

  4. Non of these tips add to my capabilities, I have been a tradesman, and maintenance engineer all my working life, built 2 houses and renovated another 2 as well as many other projects helping the kids out. I was hoping for something new.

  5. Have been working on home renovations and fixing things for years, even helped my Dad strip down and rebuild my first car. These days I do the plumbing jobs around the house, do most of the house painting, do any tiling that needs doing, help with our animals and garden, can do a pretty good job of keeping the washing machine going, even fix a fence. I know my way around the tool shed.

  6. If something needs fixing, I google how to fix. This way I have fixed my dishwasher, learned how to use my oven when we first moved here and no instruction book was left for us. From digging in the garden, fixing side gates, to taking doors off hinges. If something needs coping with, I ask myself, what would I do if there was no one to turn to (often this is the case, I do have family but only if I can’t cope). So, pretending I’m the only person left in the world has me working things out and coming up with sometimes surprising solutions. If none presents itself, I would call in family, but so far have managed well. Do everything I can that doesn’t required more than standing on a step stool!! I don’t want my children and grandchildren shuddering every time they see its me on the phone and thinking what does she need now?

  7. I live in a Retirement Village and they sort these things for you. Even change your light bulbs.

    1 REPLY
    • You are fortunate. I live in an Over 50’s Resort. Nothing is done for us.
      My place has a cathedral ceiling and the 2 lights and ceiling fan are impossible to reach so I have to call on my family. I don’t want to risk a fall caused by having to use a tall ladder.
      Even the smoke detector is out of reach, and when it is activated I’m so glad I still have a very long broom I bought from Aldi!!

  8. Replacing a front door and fittings? You must be joking!

    I can, and did, paint walls and ceilings, but the last time I used a professional painter and he did an absolutely splendid job, from the preparation onward! It was a big job and he finished on time and the price was reasonable. I know this is about saving money, but I also value saving my nerves, and having a job well done.

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