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Thread: How do you do it......"afford woodworking" ....

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    GTA Ontario Canada

    How do you do it......"afford woodworking" ....

    I thought i would share some of my ways given of late i have had soooo many people i come into contact with thinking all sorts of thoughts about me because i have a shop and some tools. Its got to the point where its annoying me. But they dont want to take on the approach i have to funding my hobby thats considered tooo much effort.

    Anyhow i know we have many here that are retired and yet very handy (hey they woodworkers) and obviously have internet access so i thought i would share how i make the internet work for me and save a few $$ to fund the habit.

    First i have not got on a soapbox and told these people who comment about my "excess" about where they "go wrong" with their money in my view but for clarity sake to my approach i am going to list it here.

    The Dont list.

    1) I dont smoke at all.........savings of smokes, lighters and attached medical bills.
    2) I dont play golf............savings of green fees, balls (even second hand ones) t's clubs, 19th hole expenses, and gambling debts never mind travel costs and caddy fees and weekday driving range fees.
    3) I dont buy clothes very often or shoes very often at all.
    4) I dont eat out (simply think most food out is junk.) Why pay $$ for a burger when i can have a AAA Grade Canadian fresh beef steak at home for $4 for a decent cut. We occassionally will get take out but its rare.
    5) I dont stop at Tim Hortons and buy coffee all day long or breakfast bagles and then hit the place for lunch subs......i have my breakfast at home and make my own "instant" coffee and tea and if neccessary we all take a home made lunch.
    6) I dont stop in at the local bars on way home from work not saying anything wrong with this i just know what a beer costs out.
    7) I try not to stop at bank ATMs that are not my bank where i could pay $1.50 to get access to my own $ my oldest has not learnt this yet and wastes at least $15 to $20 per month doing this.
    8) We dont take clothes to the drycleaner/laundry to be washed and ironed unless they dryclean clothes. ( I wear collar and tie so my shirts are washed and ironed at home most here spend $2 per shirt to get this done out)
    9) We dont have cleaners in once per week, we do our own house cleaning.

    The above items are a wack of cash i see getting burnt up for little gain and yet most of the people i know that comment on my shop and tools as if to imply i deprive my family by having my shop and spending money in there. Specifically the spouses of friends that see me as being self indulgent.

    The do list

    1) I do my own home maintenance repairs at least the ones within my abilities.
    2) I do my own appliance repairs and use the internet to find parts at the best price and information on how to fix them and whats gone wrong. 80/20 rule prevails. I have yet to have a part left over that was not faulty that i purchased.
    3)I do my own vehicle repairs in this case i dont do it willingly its more because i cannot find a reliable trustworthy place and mechanic around where i live and am tired of being ripped off and feeling unsafe with the work done.
    3) I do my own home improvements and get what i want done to my own standard.
    4) I do use credit cards that offer free kickbacks to users in the form of points to use for other purchases. Just dont run a tab on these cards they clock up huge interest rates. But as an example i pay 7 cents a litre less than the rest of the public because of it. Thats a quarter off of every gallon.
    5) I do buy my meat in bulk from Costco and get a AAA grade meat and loml and i cut it up, pack and freeze it. Savings are huge example sirloin steak here at Costco ...cut in packs $22-26/kg uncut $14-17 /kg. We also then get to cut the size we want. There are many things at a place like costco where one can make significant savings over even our cheapest grocery stores.
    6) My wife can sew and knit if she wanted to and uses her machine. We dont need tailors if we do its for specific reasons not casual mending or adjustments for the boys pants.
    7) My wife bakes her own cakes, not only do we know what goes into them but we aint had a decent bought cake yet when we have been visiting and the couple of times we bought them for convenience my wife had to have her arm twisted to pay the price.
    8) I make my own wine at the local wine store. We dont have a free market here when it comes to liquor so the prices are ridiculous and our gov thinks they know best for us so they have them high for health reasons and taxes. I aint a huge drinker but it dont cost me big $$ to crack a cork when we do want a glass of wine.

    Some examples of savings.

    I replaced 5 window inserts in my home, originally due to immigrant ignorance thought it would require complete window replacement which i was not going to tackle. Then i discovered the windows i have allow for the sealed glass insert to be replaced. Still had doubts about tackling it. Called a "recommended" guy wanted $450 per window incl. glass insert and labor and travel.
    Enquired from local hardware store and insert was $75 per window and replaced 5 for total of $410 including our taxes. Someone else would have spent the $450 per window and been $2542.50 out of pocket and still gone golfing for the season at $3000 for green fees alone.

    Fixed fridge freezer ice maker ......local guy wanted $138 for the part including tax that was a parts supplier....i found it on the web and combined shipping to buy two parts for two appliances for less than $138 total for the two including shipping and taxes. Took a bit of nightime research instead of watching tv but hey with the savings i have paid for a new jig saw and still have change had i had to add labor to the cost.
    Fixed washing machine although it did not need it ....just to make loml happy. New water pump (noisy) local price again $107.35 inc tax. In my prior shipment paid $39.00

    Replaced our caravan "beater" front struts in spring. Purchased completely assembled units via web. Had both units delivered to my door for less than the cost of a single unit from local retailer and then fitted myself.

    Put down my own interlocking paving with the aid of my boys and using hired trailers and bins to cart surplus garbage away. Sure it took many months and spanned across winter but its done and paid for and only cost me direct material.

    Now technically these are not total savings because there was a spend involved but its all relative. Unless you rolling in the millions you got to have some strategy to be able to cut the cost of living and fund a hobby.

    Why i post this is to try provide insight into some ways you can get things done and make quiet a huge saving and have the peace of mind that you got it done to your satisfaction.

    Many people shell out daily without thinking about it and then say i got no money or i need a raise but they dont analyse where they dropping their coin.

    The whole motivation for this thread came from my younger son who cleans a companies office once a week for some addition income to go toward his University fees.

    He said just by cleaning out the garbage bins he can see how much waste there is and commented on this one persons bin where he clears purchased coffee cups by the dozen and bags of food untouched that have been purchased at the same place daily.
    Those drive through amounts add up when done daily on a 20 day month.

    For guys like us thats a quick way to nice new tools without having to dent the houshold budget.

    I was so happy my boy cottoned on to this and saw the evidence of what its costing this person and the waste all by himself. Now he knows how it can be done differently.

    So if you on a fixed income as in Pension and would like a new tool or some material to make something stop to think about having a go at diy even if you not electrically etc inclined.

    There is tons of help to do it it simply takes a little research time on the web.

    On the woodworking side when i do come to buy a tool there are strategies here too that can streeeeeetch that $ of yours too.

    Buying a reconditioned tool especially if you buy a good name brand from reputable supplier can pay off big time.
    Waiting for free shipping is another one if you aint in a hurry.

    So you got any special ways to stretch that $$ and help fund your woodworking or tool fixes.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    new york city burbs
    I dont worry about what i spend, Im trying to get my wife to take a second job so I could enjoy retirement a bit more and perhaps travel a bit more.
    Human Test Dummy

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
    Well, I'm with you on 1, 3, 5, 7, and 8 on the don't side, although we aren't great housekeepers, and usually just clean the house in a panic because someone is coming. I replaced Tim Horton's with a Tassimo at a saving of a dollar a cup, I only golf at cheap venues, unless my son is paying.

    On the do side, I'm not allowed to call a repairman unless I've tried to repair it, although the last time I tried unsuccessfully to repair the washing machine, the repairman told me that if I hadn't tried to repair it myself, I'd have saved him 15 minutes. I'm no longer capable of spending a whole day doing home renovations, but fortunately my son will come in and do stuff for us. He replaced most of our floors with laminate that we bought at the 'end of the roll store', and also built my new shed for me, and took away the old one. He comes and clears my driveway in winter and sometimes mows the lawn for me. We mostly buy and cook fresh food, but we do eat out a lot because we are basically lazy, but we do our own repairs as much as possible. My skills aren't up to yours, but we try to do stuff within our abilities.

    I bought a lot of my tools off Kijiji, and the rest were all on sale at really good discounts.

    Interesting post!

    The other member of Mensa, but not the NRA

    Everyone is a self-made person.

    "The thing about quotes on the internet is that you cannot confirm their veracity" -Abraham Lincoln

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Spitting distance north of Detroit Michigan
    I can't afford it, but dang if I'm giving it up. I'm not afraid of trash picking or pallet scavenging to find usable lumber, over cut with old dull blades & size on the joiner...what-ever it takes to keep making a mess I'm with Allen also on the wife working some more, heck she only works 61 hrs a week now as it is

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    No, not all of SoCal is Los Angeles!
    I don't smoke, drink, fish, hunt or golf. That alone has paid for everything I have ever done in the shop and should carry me through the next decade
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    I have less money tied up in my woodshop than the guy down the street has in his bass boat, and I use the shop way more often than he uses the boat.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Kansas City, Missouri
    When we went to one income I had to get creative, most of our income was going towards bills or savings. My wife basically had said any money I make outside of my job was mine to use. Anyway, I sold tools that I really didn't use and bought others that I would. I've done small projects and sold products on-line and was able to buy a few things from those. I've done some odd jobs for friends and either acquired something in trade or bought with the payment I received. Some things I'm "storing" for my dad since he doesn't have a shop anymore. Somethings have been acquired as they were needed for home projects.

    Unless things are under warranty, I fix things myself. Both cars are over 10 years old, but paid for, I don't do car payments. I rarely have anyone else work on my cars (transmission work is about it). We eat out about twice a month and typically have friends over for dinner or go to friends for dinner. We haven't done vacations in a couple of years now. We have the pool and it's expenses, but we enjoy it, so it comes to a wash there.

    Overall, I have very few things I don't have to work on from time to time, which is why I don't get a lot of woodworking done. My wife did take a job recently, so we ride together and save gas money since her new employer is only a mile from mine. Also started taking her car as it uses about 1/2 the gas as what mine does in a week. Having the extra income really has me itching to buy some new things, but we have a list of things we want to work on and I'm a little more disciplined now than I used to be thankfully.

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Escondido, CA
    Well, woodworking used to be my profession, so most everything was acquired under that umbrella. However, now it is not. I've bought a few things in the year or so. They were things I wanted and I could afford them, so I got them. I don't do payments of any kind, house, car, credit cards, etc., except now I am paying rent where I am. It bothers me and I am looking for a different living solution. I also am not a clothes horse, have a shoe fetish, wear make-up, or have any of the other 'female' expenses. Like Popeye, I yam what I yam. Deal with it. I also don't smoke, rarely drink, and fix most things myself. And even though I am living in Nevada, I do not gamble. It is an anathema to my soul! I see the handle on a slot machine and think flush handle on the commode! Only 'hobby' is woodworking, but it generally pays for itself.

    It is all a matter of priorities.

    Some say the land of milk and honey; others say the land of fruits and nuts. All together my sort of heaven.

    Power is not taken. It is given. Who have you given yours to? Hmmmm?

    Carol Reed

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Lakeport NY and/or the nearest hotel
    Well, overall I just keep my purchases reasonable, and it is my main 'do stuff' hobby, Photography for me costs very little now that I have my Nikon. I consider photography purchases to be work related investments, different line item on the budget vs hobby. My other passion is Freemasonry, which basically costs gas money and annual dues, so woodworking gets my 'fun budget'.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    I don't have any kids, I can afford to do anything.
    “When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.” - John Ruskin
    “Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.” - Oscar Wilde

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