With the Home and Garden show in Pittsburgh this week and the weather warming up, many of us are looking forward to getting outside and fixing up our homes and yards.  But does DIY really save you money?  Just as businesses decide whether to outsource, consumers also have to decide whether to do it themselves or to hire someone.  In an era of do-it-yourselfers, the success of the home improvement stores, and a struggling economy, many consumers perform their household maintenance themselves.  But is it worth your time and effort to do it yourself?

The bottom line is – how much is your time worth?  Economists suggest calculating your real time wage.  Think of your household as a business.  Calculate what you earn per hour.  Figure how many hours it will take you to complete the job.  Add to that all the costs associated with doing it yourself such as supplies, ingredients, time to go to the store, installation or time to complete the job and you may want to factor in the quality of your work versus an expert.  Then figure out how much you are paying someone per hour to do that work for you.

Also consider the psychological benefits – do you enjoy doing this task yourself?  If you do this project yourself, what other activities are you missing out on that are important to you?  If you do this task yourself, what additional benefits will you get out of it such as much needed exercise, pride in a job well done, or bragging rights to a neighbor.

At Consumer $ense, we help you be a smarter consumer!