HomeEconomyThe DIY enthusiasts saving £100s by learning new skills

The DIY enthusiasts saving £100s by learning new skills

The rising cost of living appears to have prompted some people to develop their DIY skills in order to save cash, according to new research.

Credit information company Experian found that just over half (51%) of people have learnt new skills, helping them to offset various expenses.

Some have even used their newly-acquired know-how to make extra money, the survey of 2,000 people, carried out by Opinium in March, found.

Alice Hainsworth, who is based in London and works as a consultant within housing associations and charities, reckons she has saved at least a couple of thousand pounds by honing her tiling skills.

The 44-year-old says: “I’ve been wanting to give my bathroom a makeover for a while now. But, when I finally built up the courage to do it, I was shocked at how expensive it would’ve been to hire a professional.

“So, I decided there and then that I would take up the challenge and re-tile the bathroom myself.”

Ms Hainsworth says she found learning to tile “surprisingly easy”.

She says: “I watched a few tutorials on YouTube to understand what materials and products I needed, then an old boyfriend of mine, who is a handyman, talked me through it.

“Once I had the hang of it, it took me about two days to tile and a day to grout.

“It probably could’ve been done faster but I was quite slow in cutting the tiles, as I wanted it to be perfect.

“Once the tiles were cut and ready, all I had to do was put them up the wall in my desired pattern.

“I’d like to say that I managed to do it all myself but, the truth is, I needed help from a tall friend of mine to tile the final two rows – it involved a ladder over the bath and someone who doesn’t mind heights. So, the support was very much welcomed!”

Ms Hainsworth says that although she was nervous about undertaking the task, she has found the process “incredibly rewarding”, and it has helped to boost her confidence to tackle other jobs, such as assembling flat-pack furniture.

It’s also helped her to save up a useful pot of money.

Ms Hainsworth adds: “By doing this myself, I must have saved at least £2,000, which I have put aside for a rainy day, but also for a holiday with my daughter.

“She loves Center Parcs, so I am hoping to take her there for a couple nights soon.”

Many of us are exploring ways to ease the squeeze as bills continue to rise

James Jones, Experian

On average, those who tackled DIY tasks themselves estimated they were saving around £500 per year by doing so, according to Experian.

As well as home repairs, other popular skills people were willing to try included painting and decorating, car maintenance, gardening and sewing.

Some were even having a go at DIY hairdressing, typically estimating this was saving them more than £500 per year.

Those who had managed to turn their newfound knacks into a paid side hustle estimated they were earning around an additional £350 per year on average, as a result.

Like Ms Hainsworth, many people used a combination of online research and assistance from someone they know to learn their skills.

The majority of people (56%) say they taught themselves their new skill by reading and watching online tutorials, while just over a third (36%) were helped by a friend or family member.

James Jones, head of consumer affairs at Experian says: “Many of us are exploring ways to ease the squeeze as bills continue to rise, and some have learnt new skills to help save on expenses.”

He suggests that, alongside DIY, another way to reduce outgoings could be to research what savings could be made by switching existing borrowing to more cost-effective deals, perhaps by moving existing balances to a 0% balance transfer card, for example.

While learning DIY skills can be rewarding, it’s important to stay safe. Make sure you’re getting advice from a reputable source and don’t attempt jobs that should only be carried out by someone with the appropriate qualifications.

Martyn Allen, technical director of charity Electrical Safety First says: “With money tight, it might seem tempting to take electrical work into your own hands, but poor work could cost you much more in the long run.

“DIY disasters can not only risk serious injury but also leave your home an electrical hazard – avoid complex electrical work at all costs and contact an electrician registered with a competent persons scheme, who will have the knowledge to undertake the work to the national safety standard.

“You can find a local registered electrician to you by using our Find An Electrician page.”

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