Most people think of building/fixing physical things when you say do it yourself or DIY but I’ve come to think of the term in a much broader context. There are so many areas of life that you rely on expert services to help you with different issues, tasks or problems that you might have. In these cases you pay for someone else to fix your need or problem for you in other words you outsource that skill or knowledge. But that’s great you think! I don’t have to spend time figuring out how to build a table, fix my computer, cut my dogs claws, paint my house, cook and so the list goes on. Unfortunately outsourcing isn’t a learning process instead you become dependent on the expert or service for future problems/needs which most times translates to paying money instead of learning it yourself.
Since I love to research topics I have over the past couple of years started insourcing more instead and learnt many skills that are typically bound to services from experts. Over time this has saved me lots of money and given me knowledge that I can apply over and over again. A very important thing connected to all research is of course to look at multiple sources so that you make sure that you get a wider base of knowledge and not an angled view. Here are some examples of areas that I have applied the insourcing mentality:
This is my latest research topic which I have spent the past 6 months researching. You can read more about what I’ve written on the subject on my page Frugality. I would say that I started a zero knowledge (except for maybe my frugal mindset) and would now consider myself quite knowledgeable in the area. I have done this by reading books, blogs and listened to podcasts and feel that I have a great basic understanding of principles behind wealth creation, investing, index funds, financial independence, net worth, debt and difference between assets/liabilities. I have now set up spread sheets where we track our spending and progress each month and I have set up a long term plan and system for reaching financial independence. The most important part: I have done this myself without paying for a service which would have resulted in me getting limited knowledge about the subject and needing to consult expert for every decision or question.
Diet and exercise
This is one of my long term learning projects. I have read many books and blogs on the topic (read my page here for my sources) which has resulted in that I am in the greatest shape of my life! It was a huge transition into the lifestyle that we have today which is completely different from what I was doing before. Because I know the major mechanisms behind keeping in shape and staying healthy I was motivated to make that change and now it’s second nature. It’s not like I don’t ever cheat is more that I know that I’m cheating and what it does to my body so that I can make informed decisions. I can also put down the right amount of time compared to what my goal is. All this without paying for personal trainer or nutritionist services which would lead to me just following the plan without knowing the principles behind which could make it harder to stick with it in the long run.
There are a lot of things you can do at home to alleviate different small medical issues so that you don’t need to go to the doctor or buy medication. This is an area that is obviously very important to seek out medical help when you need to but I have “cured” different issues by myself through researching home remedies. Mostly I have noticed that for a lot of smaller issues the body just needs time to heal itself. Unfortunately in our society we don’t have time to be off work so we use a range of different medicines to mask symptoms and speed up the process so we can get back to work faster. For example I have the past two times I have had a mild fever just let myself sweat it out by lying under covers and drinking hot beverages. Raising your temperature is the body’s natural way of fighting infections so I just let it do its thing instead of taking fever reducing medicine. My fever was gone in about 2-3 days both times. A lot of the smaller issues are connected to what you put in your body so learning about what to eat will help remove the causes.
I obviously “consult” experts in a condensed form through reading their books/blogs/listening to them on podcasts but then I make my own decisions based on the knowledge I have gained and do not outsource these decisions to someone else. This obviously takes a lot more time instead of taking the shortcut of just having someone fix everything for me so I have to weigh up the time that’s needed to learn the skill. The areas mentioned above are obviously big aspects of life and I feel having knowledge in these areas will help me a lot in life while some areas or skills will be more of a hobby. These skills will be different for everyone but I recommend you to figure out some areas to start insourcing. I am not saying that you should never consult experts or use any service just to start entertaining the thought of what would I need to do to solve this myself. To be able to ask the right questions of experts also requires greater understanding and basic knowledge about the topic at hand so even if you don’t end up DIY you can still get some benefit from your research. In my next post I will go through three more areas that you can DIY.