Better Than Saving Money


A quick one today because I’m still recovering from eating way too much food and what seems like an endless supply of turkey leftovers for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Besides, it’s Black Friday and I’ve got a couple more things to snipe before the clock strikes midnight. I do minimal shopping throughout the year and Black Friday and Cyber Monday are definitely on my radar, especially with the holidays just around the corner. No, I’m not running to Wal-Mart to fight over a 60″ TV… Never have and never will. Sniping a few items at deep discounts from home using all the sales, coupons and ebates I can find is much more my speed. New shoes, a tablet, body wash along with some presents are on the list, so nothing crazy.

Something happened today that made me smile so I thought I’d share. I talk a lot about DIY projects here often mentioning how it naturally lends itself to a much faster path to financial independence. I’m working on FI myself and it’s hard not to notice how much faster we are going to get there by insourcing everything we can rather than relying on others. I do almost all the fixing around the house and cars while my wife takes care of most of the cooking and grocery shopping. Sounds straight out of the 60s but it works for us.

Compared to our friends and neighbors we save thousands of dollars per year by insourcing. All that money drops straight to our bottom line since we use practically all the savings to quickly pay down our last debt – the mortgage. If we were to follow what everyone else is doing – buying new cars and servicing them at the dealer instead of buying used and DIYing repair and maintenance, eating out constantly instead of cooking from scratch, hiring a lawn service, calling a roofer, a plumber, a sprinkler guy, a powerwasher guy, an appliance guy, an HVAC guy to name a few – we would be decades away from being able to stop working and start doing something we really want to do with our lives. Instead, we will be paying the mortgage off in 2015 and fast-tracking our way to FI.

Of course I’ve always mentioned that insourcing is not just about saving a ton of money. It is also about getting the kind of freedom that even FI can’t provide. To me, being FI but still lacking skills or desire to DIY is not freedom. Yes, you may be able to afford to get all your problems fixed with money but outsourcing makes you dependent on others. Money is great but if all hell breaks loose you might find yourself in a situation where your FI and your investments are worth nothing.

And you don’t even have to dig deep into a doomsday prepper scenario. Wouldn’t it be nice to troubleshoot your dead car when you’re in the middle of nowhere without a cellphone signal? It happened to me and boy was I happy to have the knowledge and some of the tools with me!

But back to what made me smile today. Our son is growing up fast and in just a couple of months he’ll be two and a half. Whenever I’m in the garage or doing work around the house or in the yard he follows me around. I usually give him his own tools to play with and he’ll happily “participate” in whatever it is I’m doing. The other day when I was practicing my best Spiderman impression while “powerwashing” my house with a push broom (it will make much more sense if you read that post), my son was there taking it all in. Actually he only caught a few minutes of my act after coming back home from daycare but it must have left an impression.

Today while I was setting up in the garage to refinish our kitchen table my son walked up to me with an empty plastic container and asked me to fill it with water. I asked what for, received an incoherent “gonna wash sumthin” toddler reply, and – sensing an opportunity to create a 10 minute window of silence – happily complied. He carefully carried the water out and disappeared for a minute. I could still hear him just outside so I took a few seconds to finish up what I was doing. I then walked out to find him doing this:


The kid decided that it was time to clean up the side of the house that his pops didn’t do! Gotta love the method too – the same old bucket and a brush.

In that moment I realized something that I haven’t had a chance to experience on a personal level yet – until now. Insourcing and DIYing is not only good for your wallet and for yourself, it’s also great for your kids. What better way to start them on the right path than leading by example? They don’t call kids sponges for nothing… They really do watch and absorb your every move. Again, I’m sure it’s pretty obvious to anyone with children but this was a heartwarming personal encounter for me and it did make me smile ear to ear.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving – I’m SO thankful to have this little sponge around! Looking forward to many many years of working on exciting projects with you, kid!


3 thoughts on “Better Than Saving Money

  1. Too cute. When Mr PoP was that age his dad and older brothers were building the house, and there are pictures of Mr PoP doing his “job” to help out – carting his little red wagon around picking up pepsi cans and other detritus from the job site. To this day he appreciates a clean job site when we DIY. =)

    • What a great childhood memory to have! And a good reminder to have that camera ready, even in the midst of a project. Those are some of the best memories to revisit in the later years for sure.

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