Advice for the weekend warrior

By Jill McKenzie

June 15, 2017 12:00 AM

When the snow melts in the spring, many homeowners look around their property with renewed energy and see a number of projects that need attention as the days get longer and warmer.
Whether it be painting a fence, replacing some windows, rebuilding a deck or installing flowerbeds, it’s all bound to cost money before it gets done.
Anyone who makes their living in the oil patch knows when there’s time for these projects, there usually isn’t money.
And when you’ve got the money, you’re working and don’t have the time.
Spring break-up is a great time for that “honey-do” list, but when your work is shut down with no definite date of return, it can and should be a time of conservative spending.
Of course, not everyone is putting in the extreme hours and distances of the oil patch workers.
If you work a nine to five job with weekends off, the last thing you might want to do is get home from work and change out a toilet, or spend your weekend off struggling with a home repair.
And then there’s the farmers.
Making hay while the sun shines is more than just an expression.
It’s a way of life.
Those jobs around the house, no matter how big or small, have to wait until the cows are out to pasture, the crop is in, the haying is done, and the list goes on.
When there’s a break from the most urgent work there are still fences needing mending, machines needing servicing, and probably some tinkering do in the shop.
You get my point.
What everyone has in common is that home and yard maintenance often gets left until the last minute.
And when it does, it can cost significantly more to do when you are unprepared and disorganized.
Gathering the supplies to do a job around the house or yard can take as long as the job itself.
Also, trying to purchase the necessary tools and hardware at the last minute is bound to cost more—if you can find it at all.
Save yourself a headache by making some lists and shopping around.
This can not only make the job go more smoothly, it can also save you time and money.
Prioritize
When deciding what jobs to tackle at your next opportunity, prioritize the most vital ones and leave the cosmetic touches for later.
Yes, it would be nice to get that fence painted, but if you have a drip somewhere that has the potential to become a costly, inconvenient emergency, deal with it first.
Once you have a good list itemized from most important to least, you can begin budgeting and pricing out materials for all of what you need.
Organize
At some point, most everyone has been caught off guard by the price of materials when they start a project at home.
You can lessen the sticker shock, though, if you do your homework and call around for quotes on supplies.
Whether it’s lumber or windows, a large price difference might exist between stores.
Leaving your shopping for the weekend, also, might greatly increase your costs if some of the competition is closed.
Make the effort to shop during the week if it will save you a great deal of money.
Likewise, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
Check out Kijiji and online trade and sell groups before you pay full price at the hardware store.
Know your prices and decide if used is right for you.
As well, consider listing anything you want to get rid of.
That lime-green tub, toilet and vanity combo you hate might be the retro look someone is going for.
Get your supplies and tools ready for when you have time to tackle the job.
If that basement bathroom reno is waiting for a day of rain, have everything on hand if at all possible.
Don’t spend your precious day off rounding up the necessaries.
Lastly, know when you’re in over your head.
There are many home repairs and renovations that need to be up to code.
Don’t create issues that will cause you, or a future buyer, costly problems down the road.
Nothing is more frustrating than realizing you have overpaid for things.
When it comes to home maintenance and repair, you already don’t want your free time taken up with difficult and expensive extra work.
Do your research
Figure out ahead of time what it’s going to cost.
Set money aside for the project, then do your shopping, and tackle the job in a strategic way.
Getting the most urgent tasks off the list will leave time for the cosmetic ones, and maybe even some rest and relaxation when the list is completed.

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