The Financial Blogger has tagged me to commit to a personal goal and make it public to my readers.  This blog is all about goals and commitment.  I have already written about my million dollar net worth goal and my financial goals for the year along with updates, what more should I write about?

Well, I've mentioned this before, but one of my goals is to become more handy around the house.  Growing up, I was never exposed to the construction/home renovation side of life, so I feel as if I've missed out.  Now that I've been a home owner,  I find small renovation projects around the house to not only increase the value of the house, but personally satisfying.  There's something about knowing that you completed a project with your own two hands.  My biggest problem though is that I sometimes get lazy and find it much easier to write a check than to do the work myself. :)

With the new house coming, it has renewed my home reno motivation as the basement will come unfinished.  I want to learn more about framing, insulation, drywall, plastering, trim work (baseboard/crown moulding), plumbing and anything else that I can learn.  Also, if I learn how to do all these things, it will save on labour costs.  As you probably know, the bulk of renovation costs are in the labour.

The tricky part is, how do I prove that I'm achieving these goals?  Perhaps I can post pictures of some of my handy (or not so handy) work? 

Well that's my public goal of the moment.  I would also like to hear from other blogs that I frequent.  I tag:  Canadian Capitalist, Consumerism CommentaryCanadian Dream, Millionaire Mommy Next Door, Chris Perunna and My Money Blog.  I look forward to hearing from you guys and gals!

If you're a reader and would like to participate in making a public goal, feel free to use the comments as your medium. 

If you would like to read more articles like this, you can sign up for my free weekly money tips newsletter below (we will never spam you).


  1. The Financial Blogger on November 5, 2007 at 8:48 am

    Nice goal FT! But be careful with hammers, you never know when they will it your fingers ;-)

  2. FourPillars on November 5, 2007 at 9:42 am

    Great goal!

    I was in the same situation as you when I bought my first house. It took a few years before I was interested in doing any of my own reno work but eventually I started doing & learning.


  3. FrugalTrader on November 5, 2007 at 9:57 am

    Mike, what sources did you use to help you learn about home renos? Did you get experienced friends to help you out? Or did you learn most of it on your own?

  4. My Public Declaration on November 5, 2007 at 10:28 am

    […] Trader over at Million Dollar Journey tagged me about declaring a public goal. Since this a good meme I’ve decided to play along. […]

  5. Isabelle on November 5, 2007 at 10:36 am

    My Dad always refers to an old Reader’s Digest book.
    here’s a link to the updated version.
    Good luck,
    Oh, and befriend a neigbour who is more knowledgeable than yourself. You can borrow tools or consult with him or her. Maybe you can swap skills and give some financial advice in return.

  6. Telly on November 5, 2007 at 10:52 am

    Great goal FT! I’m sure you’ll be a lot better at it than you think (you are an engineer after all ;)).

    I’ve actually become pretty handy myself but I’m amazed at the things my husband has learned over the years. He did a lot of “practice” work in his homes in the past (which are now our rental houses) and when he sees them now he laughs at how much of an “amatuer” he was, though I think they still look great.

    He calls his dad for advice sometimes but mostly he gets all his info via the net. He recently added a bathroom to our basement from start to finish (it wasn’t roughed in), including a tiled shower and it looks like it was done professionally.

    Once you’ve learned something though, often times you’ll find some things are worth paying to have done the next go round. For example, when we finish the rest of the basement, we plan to have someone come in to do the mudding and taping. It’s such a tedious job for non-professionals imo (especially if you’re a prfectionist)!

  7. Credit Cards on November 5, 2007 at 11:18 am

    Frugal trader,
    Thanks for the article.
    I guess we all live and learn don’t we.

  8. FourPillars on November 5, 2007 at 11:45 am

    FT – I think the internet plus experienced friends were the best sources for me. It also helps to just “do it” – experience is a pretty good teacher as well. What’s the worst that can happen? :)

    Best advice I can give is:

    1 – Have realistic expectations about how long a task will take. If you think a task will take four hours and it actually takes 14, that can be very frustrating. If you assume from the beginning that it will take 14 hours then you can plan accordingly and won’t be as frustrated. Even a small job can take longer than you think when you consider the time for research, planning, multiple Home Depot trips, clean up, disposal of materials etc.

    2 – For a big job don’t be afraid to hire some cheap labour to help. Friends and family of course are good but if they are not available then try to hire students or whomever.

    By the way – you mentioned that you thought labour was the biggest portion of a reno? I would say that in my experience the split is about 50/50. This will vary with the job of course – for painting you are paying mostly labour whereas for getting new kitchen cabinets installed the cost is mostly material.

  9. FourPillars on November 5, 2007 at 12:11 pm

    Forgot to mention that I bought some books that were quite useful. Home Depot series books for tiling and electrical were quite good, although the tiling stuff you can get from the internet pretty easily.

  10. FrugalTrader on November 5, 2007 at 1:20 pm

    Thanks for the suggestions guys! I do have that home depot hard cover book and find it pretty good. I’ve also been religiously watching the home flip and Holmes on Homes TV shows. :)

  11. Telly on November 5, 2007 at 2:06 pm

    Mike, Good call on the timing thing. We have a friend that took a week off work thinking he could completely gut and rebuild his main bathroom (including taking down a wall to expand). It ended up taking 3 months! :)

  12. FourPillars on November 5, 2007 at 3:01 pm

    Telly – your hubby sounds pretty talented. Sounds like he could do renos on the side if the main career isn’t happening at some point and he wants to do something different.

    1 week for a bathroom? Hilarious. I hope it wasn’t the only bathroom in the house?

    FT – I found that HGTV had some not bad learning shows a couple of years ago ie weekend warriors, broken house chronicles but they don’t seem to have them anymore. Holmes is ok but most of the show is him giving speeches and the odd time when he’s actually talking about the reno, he talks so fast I can’t keep up.

  13. Telly on November 5, 2007 at 3:31 pm

    Thanks Mike. He’s still a geek at heart so he enjoys being an engineer but I think after an early (hopefully :)) retirement he might be interested in doing some of this stuff on the side.

    Yeah, we all got a really good laugh when we heard his timeline. He did have a bathroom of sorts in the basement but it was very primitive. In fact, his girlfriend decided she would move back to her parents place until he finished the project!

    In his defense, he ended up doing a great job.

  14. nancy (aka money coach) on November 6, 2007 at 4:33 am

    I still remember my major (and only) accomplishment: the garburator wasn’t working, so in my Just-Bought-My-First-Home enthusiasm, i spent a whole saturday taking it apart, and putting it back together. To my own surprise, I in fact fixed the thing! Haven’t tried anything since, and likely won’t, but it’s fun to tell myself I Could, if I Really Wanted to :)

  15. brip blap on November 12, 2007 at 11:05 pm

    That’s actually a great goal – I need to get better at being handy around the house, too. Home Depot has some great resources, but Mike is right – most of that stuff is available for free on the internet (or at the library). It’s not like, for example, carpentry has changed much in the last 5 years so even a dated library book could be helpful for getting started.

    I also remember someone suggesting volunteering for Habitat for Humanity – basically a good way to get free training…

    Thanks for participating in the meme!

  16. FrugalTrader on November 13, 2007 at 11:40 am

    Brip Blap, what a great idea about habitat for humanity. Although the title makes sense, I had no idea that Habitat for Humanity meant building houses. :) I’m going to look into what’s involved with volunteering.

  17. […] steam. But finally there are new declarations at Lazy Man and Money, Saving For A Home Of My Own, Million Dollar Journey, Canadian Dream: Free at 45 and Rather Be Shopping. I’m sure I’ve missed some but […]

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