Should we really be DIYing everything?
Do-it-yourself television shows make anything from building your own tiny home to baking your own wedding cake look simple. In reality, though, certain DIY projects can end up costing you additional time, money and headaches when you bite off just a bit more than you can comfortably chew.
The DIY trend is hot right now, and it can be great for saving a few bucks and learning some new skills. But there are some things that are, arguably, best left to the experts. Experts gain their wisdom through training and life experience many of us lack. There’s simply no substitute for hiring help for complicated tasks such as performing liposuction surgery or replacing an entire engine block. Definitely avoid trying the following six things at home, kids.
Certain Automotive Fixes
Sure, you pride yourself on your knowledge of the importance of loosening lug nuts before pumping up the jack. While just about anyone can manage basic vehicle maintenance such as changing the oil or a leaky tire, more complicated automotive repairs require a certified mechanic to ensure the safety of everyone on the road.
Attempting even relatively simple repairs can void a vehicle’s warranty, making future repairs far costlier. In addition, messing with a vehicle’s electrical system can lead to electrocution and death. Faulty repairs may cause dangerous breakdowns on busy thoroughfares. For safety’s sake, call a garage with technicians specially trained to work on your vehicle’s model.
Switching Your ‘Do
Remember trying to give your dolls haircuts during childhood? Invariably, poor dolly ended up losing most of her hair due to increasingly frantic attempts to straighten out a crooked cut. The same principle generally holds true for cutting your own hair.
Even stylists turn to fellow professionals when it comes time for a haircut. Human beings simply lack eyes in the back of their heads, making trimming the back more or less impossible. Plus, covering up a bad cut with wigs or extensions costs far more than shelling out the dough for a proper stylist from the get-go. For sanity’s sake if nothing else, head to the salon when you need a trim.
Tackling Tricky Tax Returns
Those who only need to enter one or two W2s into their tax return do benefit from free or low-cost tax software to complete their returns with ease. However, those with many investments or several Schedule C’s, or those needing to prepare partnership or corporate returns, should always seek the advice of a certified public accountant or enrolled agent.
Why? Making a mistake on your tax returns can grow costly quickly, as IRS penalties and interest can double the amount of past-due taxes owed. Hiring a tax resolution specialist can likewise cost $5,000 or more. Comparatively speaking, shelling out a few hundred to get your returns done right the first time saves money in the long run.
Certified tax professionals can identify additional deductions that laypeople miss, saving you more money or increasing your refund significantly. Should the IRS choose to audit your return, letting your accountant handle the matter saves the massive headache resulting from trying to negotiate with taxing authorities on your own.
It should go without saying that no one should attempt medical procedures on themselves. However, the high cost of health care in the United States paired with a lack of insurance drives many to pretend they’re Doogie Houser when an unexpected ailment strikes.
Seek medical care for any illness lasting more than a week or so to ensure no serious underlying medical condition exists. If you can’t determine whether an injury to a limb involves a strain, sprain or break, you should visit the emergency room for an X-ray to prevent a potential broken bone from healing incorrectly.
Some people also still attempt home dental surgery by yanking a tooth with pliers. This can lead to bacteria entering the bloodstream, causing infection, sepsis and even death. Likewise, DIY braces are just an absolutely terrible idea. If you move your teeth too fast, you can cause a lot of damage to the bones and gums. Take care of those pearly whites right, folks!
Nobody enjoys plumbing hassles, but leaky pipes can destroy your home and your health by damaging walls and ceilings and encouraging the growth of toxic black mold. While a clogged toilet may be fixed with the aid of a plunger, more serious plumbing issues require the intervention of a professional.
Call in a plumber if hitting the reset button on the garbage disposal fails or if you notice water spots appearing on ceilings or walls. Likewise, if you live in a townhouse or condo, call a plumber to investigate a toilet that recurrently backs up, as this may indicate a clog further down in the line you share with your neighbors.
Swinging a Sledgehammer
Televised home improvement shows tempt many novices into tackling dramatic renovations themselves. Keep in mind the folks on the shows have all the tools they need to complete a job, as well as solid construction knowledge. Unless you’re a licensed contractor, leave major home repairs and renovations to the pros.
Tackling renovations such as a complete kitchen remodel always costs more than the original estimates, especially when you discover you lack the tools required and have to run back to Home Depot for the 10th time. In addition, should you create a problem you can’t immediately afford to fix, you have to live with the eyesore you created until your financial situation allows for professional repair. Hire a licensed construction worker from the get-go to save time, money and frustration.
Tackling DIY projects lends a sense of satisfaction and pride to your creation. Still, in the interest of safety and staying within budget, using a professional makes more sense for certain complex, specialized tasks. Consulting professional help doesn’t indicate a lack of ability on your part — it indicates you’re smart and savvy enough to know when to ask for assistance.