The DIY Skill That Will Save (and Make) You Serious Money
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Is there a way you can keep your electronics lasting longer, give you something fun to do (while helping you learn something new), and save you a ton of money?
I think there is – fixing your own electronics.
The Power of DIY
Back in my high school and college days, I learned how to assemble a desktop and handle basic repairs not because I was particularly savvy with technology, but because I was broke.
After I graduated and was working full-time, I found myself too tired (aka lazy) to do all those projects I had to do.
Basically, it was more complicated than popping the case and inserting a battery or chip, I passed on fixing it.
One reason is definitely laziness and the other reason was I was afraid of breaking it. Some devices (looking at your iPod!) are pretty much designed not to be opened by users.
As we've been tackling projects around the house, I've gained some confidence and I've started to do some more repairs and upgrades.
I've helped some friends get some more life out of their laptops. It feels great and as an added bonus it saves money.
The Joys of Fixing Your Own Tech
If you're on the fence about getting into repairing your electronics, I want to just point out a few big benefits.
- Saves you money. How much does a new smartphone cost? How about a laptop or a desktop (yes, I have one!)? If you can even delay replacing them for a year, you save quite a bit of cash. Money that you can use on some of your big money goals.
- Help the environment. The better you maintain what you buy, the less you have to consume. Less waste in landfills is a win for pretty much everyone.
- Learn a skill. With every repair, you can new skills and appreciation for how things are built. Productive hobbies can enrich your life.
- Makes you money. As you get more skilled, you may find yourself with a relatively easy way to earn some extra money by fixing your friend's, neighbors', or coworkers' electronics.
Don't think you have to be an expert with electronics before you can reap the benefits.
One really handy skill, especially for smartphones is replacing the screen.
As you become more comfortable, you can build up based on your needs and your potential side hustle's.
Learning to Fix Your Own Electronics
But wait, how do you start? Where do you learn how to fix your tech?
Here are some of my favorite sites that can help you learn some handy new skills.
- IFixIt: I first heard about them on a CBS Sunday Morning piece. It is a fantastically handy site with some of the best guides I've seen on some common repairs on popular devices including Apple products. It's community-based, so some guides are made by regular people like you and me.
- YouTube: This is my next stop as there is usually some video tutorial created. The quality varies, but most of the time, those who post try to get clear shots of how to perform the fixes.
- WikiHow: You can sometimes find some tutorials on fixing electronics, but the quality varies greatly and for some, pictures aren't enough. Still, it can be a useful resource.
And of course, when you're in doubt you can always google it.
One note, some sites that offer the free guides make their money selling the replacement parts which is fine by me, provided the prices are competitive.
So take a little bit of time to make sure you're getting a good deal on the parts.
Most times, I've found really good deals and saved quite a bit since I don't have to buy a new computer, just a new part.
Thoughts on Getting Handy with Gadgets
I'm curious – do any of you repair your own gadgets? What hobbies do you enjoy that also saves or makes you a bit of money?
Where did you pick up that skill? What hobby do you wish to pick up?
I’m in a “get handy” mode, which also coincides with a new house purchase (older house… built in the 1950s, but new to us). No gadgets yet. But home projects are going ok. I may single-handedly pay the college tuition for the kids of whoever invented “magic wood” and “putty” given my learning curve, but I’m getting better.
Congrats on the new place and best wishes on the projects. We too are learning some new skills with our own home projects 😉 With new electronics costing so much, I wanted highlight how value learning to fix them yourselves can be.
I have a friend who fixes iPhone screens and makes an absolute killing off of it!
Nice! I actually have an old iPod that I’d like to get a new screen for. Maybe I can have a nice little side business in 2014 😉
I repair some of my own gadgets, but not all. In my mind its a question of whether or not I will do more harm them good. If there is a chance I can make a minor problem more serious, I won’t do it.
Glad you’ve fixed some of your electronics. I know we all have different levels of expertise, so that’s why I suggest looking at repair guides online to get an idea if a job is doable for you.
If you’re just going to toss the gadget or store it away, then I figure it doesn’t hurt to at least try and fix it.
I’ve done some DIY things, but not so much with electronics. I’m lucky I’ve been able to get my Apple products fixed for free at their Genius Bar over the years. I’ve done some reformatting on electronics myself, but that’s really about it.
Love free repairs!
I’ve seen that iFixit has some great Apple repair guides for when warranties run out. I think it’s always nice to have an option so you can keep the gadgets you love running longer.
YouTube is such a great resource for learning how to Do-It-Yourself. I’ve done everything (successfully!) from minor car repairs to plumbing replacements.