The price of oil continues to surge to new record highs almost daily, bringing along with it the costs of gas, home heating and many other items too numerous to mention. Because of this 'money squeeze,' more and more homeowners have been forced to undertake home maintenance and repairs on their own. Of course, this is not necessarily a bad thing; indeed, it may very well be a blessing in disguise. With just a moderate amount of handiness and elbow grease, you can save literally hundreds to thousands of dollars a year by 'doing-it-yourself.' Simply start with the easiest projects and work your way up to the more involved ones.

For example, if there's a broken doorknob inside your home, it's quite easy to fix. You don't need to call someone in to do the job. Just go to your local hardware or department store for a new doorknob (they're generally less than $10) and replace it yourself. A screwdriver and no more than 15 minutes of your time is about all it takes. If you consider yourself to be 'all thumbs,' this is a great project to begin with. Just follow the directions on the package, and before you know it your door will be performing as good as new – and your head will be swelling with pride. You'll have the confidence to move on to the next activity.

Let's assume that you've decided to repaint a bedroom. But, hiring a painter can cost quite a bit of money, especially if it's a large room. There's also wall preparation, such as spackling, to consider as well. Instead, save that money and tackle the job yourself. Take a trip to your local home improvement store and choose the paint you'd like, along with the plastic tarp, brushes, tape and rollers you'll need. Then, pick a fairly cool day to begin. The total cost should run you no more than $75 to $100 maximum. A painter might charge you $300 to $500 or more for just one room. That's a savings not to be sneezed at.

Perhaps you need to replace a power outlet. That's not a huge task, either; just pick up one at the hardware store. Of course, you'll want to be very careful here, and be sure to turn off the electricity at the fuse box before you begin any project of this kind. After that, just follow the accompanying instructions.

Do you need to replace some windows? Don't hire someone for it; you can easily do it yourself on weekends, one window at a time. Did you know that calling a plumber to fix a toilet can easily cost you $100? If your toilet isn't flushing properly due to a worn valve, you can repair it yourself for about $10 and 30 minutes.

To help you with all of these projects and countless more, get yourself a repair handbook, such as "How to Fix Everything for Dummies." It'll give you step-by-step instructions on such areas as patching floors or walls, stopping leaking from pipes and faucets, electrical work, furniture repair, and even working on the exterior of your home. Keep your money and use it for better things, like investing for your future. Do it yourself. You've got it in you!

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