Friday Tips: DIY fixes around the house

Vegan Goodness:

Today we ate:

  • Breakfast: Green smoothies and toast for everyone 
  • Lunch: Quesadillas with black beans – yum!
  • LP and Dad had some crackers and peanut butter for a snack
  • Dinner: Tempeh, kale and pasta with a spicy tomato sauce – delish!
  • Mom and Dad had hot chocolate and popcorn as a late-night treat!

Money Matters:
Today did part I of our large weekly shopping trip and we spent the following:

  • $26.37 at Whole Foods
  • $36.98 at Stop and Shop
  • $98.78 at Costco
  • $10.61 for some pictures printed at Costco

Friday Tips for Living Vegan and Living Cheap – with kids!:

You CAN fix it and save!

Before becoming Dad-extraordinaire the G-man worked in engineering and science.  While he no longer does that work for pay, he never stopped being both a scientist and Mr. Fix-it.  He always love a puzzle or a project and he never wants to let anything go to waste.  This means that, when something in our house “breaks” it is not necessarily doomed for the dumpster.  He has brought many a blender, light fixture, clock, computer, etc. back from it’s  demise.  I love the fact that he has saved so much of our stuff, but also that he saves us so much money with his DIY prowess.  After watching him work I’ve picked up a few tips that allow even me (far less handy) to take on a DIY fix-up now and again.

No fear: The first thing I learned from the G-man was that you must have no fear (or at least minimal fear).  I used to be afraid to take appliances apart, unscrew panels off or pull out pieces.  But then, after watching the G-man, I realized that this was a little silly.  So long as it wasn’t a seriously dangerous undertaking, what is the worst that would happen?  If I took apart the blender motor to try and fix it, I might break it and the (broken) blender might stay (gasp!) broken.  Thanks to him I’ve learned that taking a bit of risk will result in more fixing than breaking over time.

Google it: I love the internet for many reasons, but one of the reasons is that, no matter what you are dealing with, there is probably someone out there who

a) dealt with this toob) has more time than you and wrote a lot of useful information on the internet about it.

Googling the brand-name of the appliance, the problem you are having with it, or some combination will often lead to suggestions and comments from people that will help you fix it.  Sometimes you even come across videos or diagrams which are super helpful!

Check out the paperwork: We (well, the G-man) keeps all our product information, manuals and instruction booklets in a file.  When something breaks, even if we bought it ten years ago, he has the paperwork for it.  Sometimes all it takes is looking over the paperwork to find a diagram or cleaning suggestion that fixes the item right up!  Or, you might also find the warranty information (which I always forget about) and realize that you can get a replacement part or item for free!

Be safe: This is really the follow-up to the first tip.  A little caution is not a bad thing.  It’s important to use common sense (don’t reach into the dark recesses of your toaster over without knowing what you are grabbing) and to know your limits.  I tend to shy away from electric fixes because I never really learned how to deal with wires safely.  My sister, on the other hand, is a trained electrician.  I would plug in anything she fixed, no worries!  So, know what you know and what you don’t know.  But remember – just because it may not be something you can fix doesn’t mean it is a loss!  Find out if if friends or family can help you out, or learn a bit more about something like electrical wiring yourself.  A new skill and less stuff to replace – it’s a win-win!

As I’m writing this the G-man is using a soldering iron to fix my headphones that I was ready to throw away  Another $10-20 saved!


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