Do It Yourself http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/1479/all en-US 5 Ways to Invest Like a Pro — No Financial Adviser Required http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-invest-like-a-pro-no-financial-adviser-required <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-to-invest-like-a-pro-no-financial-adviser-required" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-500538951.jpg" alt="Man learning how to invest like a pro without a financial adviser" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Investing can be intimidating. There's a unique language, with expense ratios, ETFs, and dollar-cost averaging &mdash; oh my! And there's a lot at stake, like your retirement. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beginners-guide-to-reading-a-stock-table?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Beginner's Guide to Reading a Stock Table</a>)</p> <p>However, at the risk of sounding like a home repair store commercial, you can do this and we can help. With the following five keys, you'll be well on your way toward becoming a confident, successful, do-it-yourself investor.</p> <h2>1. Commit to the market</h2> <p>The stock market has been on a tear. Since bottoming out in March 2009, it nearly tripled in value by the end of 2016. And since the start of this year, it has only climbed higher. Unfortunately, for many people, it doesn't matter. According to a recent Gallup poll, about half U.S. adults are not investing in the market.</p> <p>Some waffle. They're in when it seems safe; they're out when trouble strikes. But pros don't waffle. They're in it for the long haul because they know that as a long-term investment, the U.S. stock market has delivered average annual returns of nearly 10 percent.</p> <h2>2. Know your goal</h2> <p>The most common investment goal is retirement. It that's your goal, make it as specific as possible. How much money do you want to have? By when? And how much do you need to invest each month in order to get there? These questions can feel overwhelming at times, but you need to answer them in order to get a clear picture of your path to a secure retirement. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-should-you-have-saved-for-retirement-by-30-40-50?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How Much Should You Have Saved for Retirement by 30? 40? 50?</a>)</p> <h2>3. Determine your optimal asset allocation</h2> <p>While many of the headlines in the investment press are about which investments to choose, there's a different factor that'll have an even greater impact on your investing success. It's making sure you've determined your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-surprising-truth-of-investing-mediocre-advice-is-best?ref=internal" target="_blank">optimal asset allocation</a>.</p> <p>Asset allocation refers to how you divvy up the money you invest between asset classes, with the two most important ones being stocks and bonds (preferably, stock and bond mutual funds, since mutual funds enable you to hold a diversified &quot;basket&quot; of stocks and bonds).</p> <p>Generally, when you're young, your portfolio should tilt more toward stocks. Yes, your portfolio will experience sharper ups and downs, but you should have the time to ride them out, and a higher-risk portfolio should lead you to higher returns. As you get older, you would be wise to reduce stock exposure and increase your allocation to bonds. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-basics-of-asset-allocation?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Basics of Asset Allocation</a>)</p> <h2>4. Choose an investment selection process</h2> <p>Pay no attention to headlines touting &quot;This Year's Top Mutual Funds&quot; or &quot;Why You Must Own Gold Now.&quot; And tune out all hot tips from your brother-in-law or coworker. What you need is a trustworthy investment selection <em>process</em>.</p> <p>You could keep it super easy by choosing a target-date mutual fund. These funds have years as part of their name, such as the Fidelity Freedom 2040 fund. Just choose the fund with the year closest to the year you intend to retire. Its stock/bond allocation will be what the mutual fund company thinks is the appropriate mix for someone with that much time until retirement, and that allocation is automatically made more conservative over time. Target-date funds aren't perfect, but they get a lot of the big picture decisions right.</p> <p>If you prefer a more hands-on approach, you could do your own research and choose <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-warren-buffett-says-you-should-invest-in-index-funds?ref=internal" target="_blank">index funds</a> to build a portfolio that reflects your optimal asset allocation.</p> <p>Or, you could subscribe to an investment newsletter, some of which cost far less than the fees charged by financial planners. Investment newsletters usually offer a number of different strategies and then tell you what to invest in. You're still a do-it-yourself investor. You maintain your own account and make your own trades, but you follow the investing process outlined by the newsletter. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-trust-your-money-with-these-4-popular-financial-robo-advisers?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Should You Trust Your Money With These 4 Popular Financial Robo-Advisers?</a>)</p> <h2>5. Understand the terrain ahead</h2> <p>One of the most important roles a financial adviser plays is seen during market downturns. That's when the best become therapists, speaking calm words of wisdom into the lives of frightened clients. You could serve the same role for yourself with a little understanding of how the market works.</p> <p>If you hear that the market turned in a great performance in a certain year, it's easy to make the mistake of assuming this wonderful result came about through a smooth, yearlong, upward ride. It doesn't usually work that way.</p> <p>Expecting some turbulence can help calm your fears and keep you from selling when the market gets wobbly. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/want-your-investments-to-do-better-stop-watching-the-news?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Want Your Investments to Do Better? Stop Watching the News</a>)</p> <p>Taking all of the steps above will get you headed in the right direction. You have a plan. Now put your plan into action and stay with it. The longer you invest, the more confidence you'll gain and the more comfortable you'll become at being a do-it-yourself investor. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-4-things-you-need-to-do-to-start-investing?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Only 4 Things You Need to Do to Start Investing</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/matt-bell">Matt Bell</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-invest-like-a-pro-no-financial-adviser-required">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-mediocre-investor-prospered-after-the-market-crash">How One Mediocre Investor Prospered After the Market Crash</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-buy-berkshire-hathaway-and-other-blue-chip-stock-for-17-off">How to Buy Berkshire Hathaway and Other Blue Chip Stock for 17% Off</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-does-the-stock-market-keep-going-up">Why Does the Stock Market Keep Going Up?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-it-finally-time-to-invest-in-marijuana-stocks">Is It Finally Time to Invest in Marijuana Stocks?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beginners-guide-to-reading-a-stock-table">Beginner&#039;s Guide to Reading a Stock Table</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment asset allocation diy investor Do It Yourself goals investment selection retirement planning stock market Mon, 17 Apr 2017 09:00:09 +0000 Matt Bell 1928275 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Keep DIY Projects From Ruining Your Life http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-keep-diy-projects-from-ruining-your-life <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-keep-diy-projects-from-ruining-your-life" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_wires_electrocuted_000087920375.jpg" alt="Man trying to keep DIY projects from ruining his life" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In the face of the current crappy economy, more people are willing to try to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-cool-diy-home-improvements-for-50-or-less" target="_blank">save money on home improvement projects</a> by doing their own repairs&hellip;at their peril.</p> <p>With time, persistence, and attention to detail, the average non-klutz homeowner can learn to be handy. But how do you determine which projects are worth doing yourself, and which projects require an expert? Consider the following factors before you roll up your sleeves.</p> <h2>Assess the Time Commitment &mdash; And the Cost</h2> <p>While home improvement stores like Home Depot adjust their DIY project schedules according to the level of expertise, those schedules still assume that the project will be completed without a hitch. Whether you are learning a new skill or trying to level up on an existing ability, make sure to pad your time estimate to give yourself enough wiggle room to fix mistakes. Often, an overly optimistic schedule is not only frustrating but costly, too.</p> <p>For example, painting your own home is often touted as an excellent beginner DIY project. Yes, painting your own house can save you a lot of money. But when budgeting out the cost of your painting project, make sure to include the external costs. Will you have to pay to keep your furniture in storage while you paint? Will repainting your new apartment delay your move from your old apartment? You can (and should) wear a ventilator mask to avoid huffing paint fumes, but what about your pets? Can your dog go to grandma's house while the paint cures, or will you have to pay kennel costs?</p> <h2>Do You Have What It Takes to Get the Job Done?</h2> <p>No. Not mentally. Do you have the right tools for the job? My neighbor spent over two hours on a wet bathroom floor trying to tighten the leaky connection behind her toilet with a pair of pliers. Damp and tearful, she finally went to the hardware store for advice. Although she was offered no counsel for her plumbing aggravation, the store clerk did send her home with a $6.00 basin wrench. Armed with the proper tool, my neighbor was able to tighten the hard-to-reach nut in less than 10 seconds.</p> <p>Although my neighbor only lost 300 minutes of her life and $6.00 to her broken toilet, many projects require more costly, and high-tech equipment. There is a steep learning curve for many power tools. If you don't know how to use a floor sander, you might permanently damage the hardwood floors you are trying to salvage. Even worse, if you are a newbie to home repair, you might not think to buy ear protection. An expert might be able to repair a bad sanding job, but no one can repair your hearing.</p> <h2>Can You Afford to Make a Mistake?</h2> <p>I bought a well-reviewed tankless water heater that my plumber then nixed because he'd seen that model fail too many customers. Even though I returned the water heater in its factory sealed, unopened box, I was still charged a restocking fee by the store. Custom items like granite countertops are not returnable, so one wrong measurement can be very costly.</p> <h2>Trimming Trees Can May Mean Big Fines</h2> <p>Beyond the obvious extreme height + chainsaw = danger involved in tree trimming, amateur lumberjacking carries huge fines in many municipalities. The average cost of tree removal in Los Angeles is <a href="http://www.treeremoval.com/us/los-angeles/#.VvlZO_krJaR">$779 per tree</a>. That's expensive! But the fine for chopping down an oak tree, even on your own property, starts at $6,000 and can include jail time. Homeowners in other cities who only trim heritage trees such as oaks and sycamores without the proper permits can be charged <a href="http://la.curbed.com/archives/2007/11/a_375000_treetr.php">hundreds of thousands</a> of dollars in fines.</p> <h2>DIY Demolition Disaster</h2> <p>When I remodeled my bathroom, I saved $300 by doing my own demolition. In addition to getting a solid workout by swinging a sledgehammer, knocking out three layers of old tile and lathe was weirdly stress relieving. One of my neighbors also loved doing demolition. That is, he loved doing demolition until he knocked out a load-bearing wall while renovating his kitchen without a permit. His kitchen is now renovated, but not how he envisioned it. He blew his entire renovation budget on a very expensive and hideous support beam to keep his house from collapsing.</p> <p>I should also note that before I began my bathroom demolition, my contractor physically outlined the electrical and plumbing lines on my bathroom walls with a Sharpie before I ever picked up the sledgehammer. Replacing accidentally broken plumbing is one of the least sexy ways to spend money.</p> <h2>Play It Safe With Roof Repair</h2> <p>Reconsider doing your own roof repair for safety reasons alone. Likewise, if your home is over one story tall, consider getting a professional to clean your gutters. Or, at least, use a <a href="http://amzn.to/1Urt0yS">shop vac</a> or <a href="http://rochesterguttercleaning.com/tophat/aboutus.html">gutter vacuum</a> that you can operate from ground level.</p> <h2>Don't Blow Your Budget on Rental Renovations</h2> <p>I always rented places that I could repaint to my liking. Of course, using your own money to spiff up a rented space isn't smart financially. It's not your house. You just live there.</p> <p>If you are like me, then a little money is worth the price of turning another person's house into your home. However, if you are saving up to buy your own home, or just want to sock away more cash for retirement, education, or travel, it's smarter to treat your rented house as a crash pad where you sleep and store your things. Any DIY projects you do to improve your rented space is money and time you will never recover.</p> <h2>Death by DIY Pest Control</h2> <p>As a beekeeper, I am always getting calls from hysterical homeowners about &quot;Angry Killer Bees.&quot; When I arrive at a client's house to do live bee removal, I always ask diagnostic questions so I can assess the safety situation for the client and their neighbors. Here is a sample diagnostic question: &quot;Were the bees angrily chasing you around the backyard before you sprayed their hive with hairspray and then tried to light it on fire with a tiki torch?&quot;</p> <p>Many over-the-counter <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052970204563304574318231044370704">pesticides for home use</a> are also effective pet and people killers. Before laying down any kind of poison in your home, do some research and follow safety protocols to the letter. Although it seems counter-intuitive, professional exterminators have safer, less toxic methods of pest control at their disposal than consumers.</p> <h2>Leave Utilities to the Professionals</h2> <p>Doing your own gas, water, and power work is a really good way to damage you and your home. Even the smallest gas leak can lead to an explosion or carbon monoxide poisoning. Each year, thousands of people are injured or killed due to electrocution or electrical fires. Leaky plumbing can cause water damage and mold, potentially making your home unlivable and unsellable.</p> <h2>Beware Those Nine Dreaded Words</h2> <p>&quot;While we are at it, we might as well&hellip;&quot;</p> <p><em>Mission creep</em> is the super villain of DIY. Replacing the disgusting, damaged vinyl flooring in my kitchen with new linoleum will take me two days total. I've replaced two kitchen floors already, so I know I can do this job, over a weekend, all by my lonesome. Of course, this two-day schedule does not include moving out all the appliances, transferring my frozen foods to a neighbor's freezer for safe-keeping, or repairing the baseboards. Nor does it include the time and money involved in repainting the kitchen walls &mdash; a project that can only be done with the appliances removed &mdash; that's also on my to-do list.</p> <h2>Just Because You Can, Doesn't Mean You Should</h2> <p>I know how to hot wire a 1965 Nova using just a flat head screwdriver. But, just because I know how to rip an old car, does not mean that I should take the Chevy to the levee &mdash; even though the levee is dry &mdash; at every opportunity.</p> <p>According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International, there are <a href="http://www.esfi.org/resource/do-it-yourself-diy-electrical-safety-216">37,000 nail gun injuries</a> every year in the United States. If the thought, &quot;Maybe this is beyond my skill level&quot; flickers through your mind even once, you should consider consulting an expert.</p> <h2>Losing Frugal Credibility Has a High Cost</h2> <p>It's 11 p.m. and I am painting my dining room, myself. I am an excellent painter. Martha Stewart would hire me. Painting my own dining room cost me just $100 in supplies.</p> <p>Unfortunately, I have had to work the dining room redo around my actual paying job schedule, so it's taken me six months of intermittently stripping paint, sanding, caulking, priming, painting, painting, and repainting to almost finish my newly spectacular dining room. My ceiling is silver leafed. Guests gasp when they behold the decorative finish on my china cabinets. I am so pleased with my work. My husband, however, could care less how magazine-ready the dining room looks. After months of eating off a drop cloth-covered dining room table, he's tired of painting without ever picking up a brush.</p> <p>So, while I won a frugal remodeling battle by renovating my own dining room, I have lost the frugal war. My husband now doubts that we can scrape, repair, and paint the exterior of our house in one month. He wants to pay a professional painting contractor $17,000 to do this job.</p> <p>The true cost of painting the dining room myself: $16,900.</p> <p>Don't be me.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/max-wong">Max Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-keep-diy-projects-from-ruining-your-life">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-cool-diy-home-improvements-for-50-or-less">15 Cool DIY Home Improvements for $50 or Less</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-home-improvements-you-should-always-negotiate">9 Home Improvements You Should Always Negotiate</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-paint-the-exterior-of-your-home">How to Paint the Exterior of Your Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-improve-your-curb-appeal-for-next-to-nothing">6 Ways to Improve Your Curb Appeal for Next to Nothing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-cool-diy-home-improvements-for-20-or-less">10 Cool DIY Home Improvements for $20 or Less</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Home contractors Do It Yourself fixing home improvements painting renovations Wed, 06 Apr 2016 10:30:07 +0000 Max Wong 1682552 at http://www.wisebread.com Double hack – make a cheap metal detector, find a fortune. http://www.wisebread.com/double-hack-make-a-cheap-metal-detector-find-a-fortune <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/double-hack-make-a-cheap-metal-detector-find-a-fortune" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/1048766_0561261339.jpg" alt="X" title="X" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It&rsquo;s not often you get a double-whammy money-saving tip but this one falls into that category. Not only can you save cash by making your own cheap metal detector, you can find a fortune using it. Score!</p> <p>The method uses some pretty common household items. In fact, I think everyone has an old calculator and on old radio somewhere at home. Modern technology has quickly integrated both of these old standbys into everything from MP3 players to cell phones.</p> <p>I found this by going to a new site I recently discovered called Spongefish. Well worth a look, the video came from Metacafe, which as you know is a favorite of mine. All you need is an old calculator, a radio and some tape:</p> <p><a href="http://www.spongefish.com/creations/3773-Homemade-Metal-Detector/steps/1">Direct link to page</a></p> <p><object height="350" width="425" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=6,0,29,0" classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000"> <param value="http://www.metacafe.com/fplayer/940341/turn_a_calculator_into_a_metal_detector.swf" name="movie" /> <param value="high" name="quality" /> <param value="false" name="menu" /> <param value="" name="wmode" /><embed height="350" width="425" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" pluginspage="http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer" menu="false" quality="high" wmode="" src="http://www.metacafe.com/fplayer/940341/turn_a_calculator_into_a_metal_detector.swf"></embed></object></p> <p>Happy hunting. If you do uncover a stash of loot, old coins, pirate booty or The Lost Ark, please let me know. I won&rsquo;t ask for anything from you&hellip;scouts honor.</p> <p><em>[Note: As I have discovered, to my regret, the second video I posted here was a spoof. I immediately it the second I found out to avoid the prankster making any more money. Sorry.]</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/double-hack-make-a-cheap-metal-detector-find-a-fortune">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-amazing-easy-diy-bath-and-body-products">50 Amazing, Easy DIY Bath and Body Products</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/homemade-lotion-recipes">Homemade Lotion Recipes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-old-fashioned-skills-that-save-you-money">7 Old Fashioned Skills That Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-homemade-pet-products-that-are-cheaper-and-better-than-store-bought">7 Homemade Pet Products That Are Cheaper and Better Than Store Bought</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-cheap-and-easy-diy-kitchen-improvements">20 Cheap and Easy DIY Kitchen Improvements</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY calculator Do It Yourself Homemade Making Extra Cash metal detector radio Spongefish Fri, 25 Jan 2008 17:31:38 +0000 Paul Michael 1678 at http://www.wisebread.com DIY Berlin Style http://www.wisebread.com/diy-berlin-style <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/diy-berlin-style" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/berlin_thing.jpg" alt="Berlin Graffiti wall" title="Berlin Graffiti wall" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p class="MsoNormal">I am a believer in the idea that wealth can stunt personal creativity. When you can buy it all, what’s the need to invent anything? </p> <p class="MsoNormal">When I was a kid my mother forbade me from playing with makeup. But I wanted to so badly that I chopped up the insides of my color pencils to a fine dust and turned them into eyeshadow and blush.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Of course those wild invention days are over now that I am entitled to buy my own cosmetics, but I’m still, and will always be, a fan of DIY. </p> <p class="MsoNormal">One of the greatest parts about traveling is being inspired and finding new ideas and fixes for everyday life. And in Berlin, I couldn’t help feeling thrilled at the creativity that percolated from the mix of youth, artists and students living in a fashionable and historic city. Combine these minds with shoestring budgets, and you get some of the most vibrant DIY ideas all around the city. Of course, many of these can’t be replicated exactly, but they do get the brain juices flowing.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>Drink pouch purse:</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">I saw one like this hanging in my host&#39;s kitchen. </p> <p class="MsoNormal"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/juice_bag.jpg" alt="juice bag" width="330" height="440" /> </p> <p class="MsoNormal">This is a great way to recycle and indulge your arts-and-crafts urges. I’ve actually seen these around in the U.S. but maybe I didn’t notice them as much in the local Urban Outfitters, where novelty trumps practicality. It’s a little too kitsch for me to tote around as an everyday purse, but can be great for the beach or to carry groceries. Learn how to make one of your own <a href="http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Capri-Sun-Purse">here</a> (sewing machine needed).</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>Re-used vintage furniture:</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Much of the charm of Berlin comes from the mismatched furniture you see in the various bars and cafes. According to my Berliner host, much of the East is inhabited by students and those who have little money. So instead of shooting over to the local IKEA, the locals have actually picked up bits and pieces from flea markets and, if necessary, revamped them.<img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/Berlin_Jopunk_039.jpg" alt="sofas berlin" width="330" height="440" />.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Like these tweed chairs here.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>Wall Paint:</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Some of it is just graffiti, but interesting nonetheless. I wouldn’t have thought of many of these color combinations on my own. I&#39;m not sure I would paint my own house the same way, but it shows how paint can add life to otherwise ordinary walls.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/Berlin_Jopunk_028.jpg" alt="berlin paint 1" width="440" height="330" /> </p> <p class="MsoNormal"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/Berlin_Jopunk_044.jpg" alt="berlin paint 2" width="330" height="440" /></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>A Little Mint:</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">I was surprised how a little mint in my tap water could make me so happy on a hot, summer day. I’m not a big fan of lemon, so this was a nice, different touch.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/Berlin_Jopunk_034.jpg" alt="mint water" width="440" height="330" /></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Surrounded by some good carrot cake and green lime beer -- and more examples of spruced up furniture.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>And…the random invention:</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/Berlin_Jopunk_037.jpg" alt="truck crate wall" width="440" height="330" /></p> <p class="MsoNormal">A pile of shipping crates or a funky door? It was funny to see “Hanjin”, a label I’ve seen many times rolling on trains and trucks, as part of an entrance to a concert venue/bar.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">After all this, I was motivated to do some of my own DIY. I decided to make my own postcards out of the cool fliers I found in the bars and cafes around town. Sorry, I ran out of batteries before I could snap pics of them, but I can say they were much more interesting than the touristy European church postcards at your local souvenir store. Just glue some writing paper on the back and post and send as normal!</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/joann-hong">Joann Hong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/diy-berlin-style">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/19-ways-to-reuse-old-towels">19 Ways to Reuse Old Towels</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-128-creative-ways-to-upcycle-your-trash">Flashback Friday: 128 Creative Ways to Upcycle Your Trash</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/37-brilliant-ways-to-reuse-an-empty-milk-jug">37 Brilliant Ways to Reuse an Empty Milk Jug</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-old-furniture-shine-with-these-simple-refinishing-tricks">Make Old Furniture Shine With These Simple Refinishing Tricks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/19-uses-for-empty-cereal-boxes">19 Uses for Empty Cereal Boxes</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY arts and crafts bags berlin DIY Do It Yourself Europe furniture reuse Tue, 24 Jul 2007 10:25:27 +0000 Joann Hong 886 at http://www.wisebread.com DIY - Silk Flower Brooch http://www.wisebread.com/diy-silk-flower-brooch <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/diy-silk-flower-brooch" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/6832113742_bd7429cfbb_z.jpg" alt="silk flower brooch" title="silk flower brooch" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="209" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There's a company in my area that makes silk flower brooches that are sold at Nordstrom for $60 a pop. I occasionally see these silk flower brooches at Nordstrom and feel like, well, screaming.</p> <p>Why? Because I know that each brooch costs less than $5 to make.</p> <p>The silk &quot;poppies&quot; that are used cost $4. They ship from India, and so that adds about $0.10 to the cost of each poppy. A pin backing and a fake leaf are glued to the back. That's about $0.07 worth of materials right there. The women who make the pins are paid roughly $9 an hour, and can make as many as 30 pins per hour. So that's another $0.30 right there. How do I know this? I nearly worked for the company that makes them. I've seen the cost break-down, and it ain't pretty. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-places-to-find-inexpensive-accessories">10 Places to Find Inexpensive Accessories</a>)</p> <p><img width="448" height="300" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/fakeflowers.jpg" alt=" " /></p> <p>Yet some <em>upscale women will pay $60 for these things</em>. Well, live and let live.</p> <p>Or, in true Wise Bread fashion, do it yourself and save big.</p> <p>Flower brooches are frighteningly easy to make. The basic instructions:</p> <ol> <li>Get a silk flower of some kind.</li> <li>Remove it from the stem.</li> <li>Glue a pin to the back, either in the center or just above the center of the back.</li> <li>Cover the spine of the pin backing by gluing something pretty, like a fake leaf or a piece of felt or velvet.</li> <li>Pin to coat or give as gift.</li> <li>Feel good.</li> </ol> <p><img width="448" height="336" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/foam.jpg" alt=" " /></p> <p>Flower brooches are also <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-last-minute-gifts-for-mothers-day">great Mother's Day gifts</a>. I don't even like having to &quot;celebrate&quot; holidays like Mother's Day, because I don't think they are much more than a Hallmark ploy to get you to spend spend spend. My mother, in fact, never gave a rip about Mother's Day. But as I get older, I want to be sure to make small gestures (besides foot rubs) so that my mum knows how much I love her. One way to do this that is sincere, and frugal, is to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-gifts-you-can-make-today">make stuff</a>. Yes, buying an expensive bouquet of flowers is nice, but sometimes, a gift from the heart is more precious.</p> <p>Plus, my mum has this weird theory that I have artistic talent, all evidence to the contrary.</p> <p><strong>Here are some tips for making flower brooches:</strong></p> <p>Get your hands on a hot glue gun, if you don't already have one. Using these things is kind of an art, and you will get burned a few times. Practice makes perfect and all that. The glue guns at my craft store cost between $2-15 dollars. Mine is a $9 model that's pretty bad-ass.</p> <p>Don't buy ridiculously expensive pin backings. Sterling silver really doesn't do much for the backing, and costs too much and won't be seen anyway.</p> <p><img width="314" height="235" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/backings.jpg" alt=" " /></p> <p>When making brooches, you want the back of the flower to be almost completely flat. Because of the way these fake flowers are put together, sometimes you have to cut off the plastic that holds it all together in order to get a good, flat back. In this case, you'll have to reconstruct the flower using hot glue. It's not too hard, though.</p> <p><img width="314" height="235" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/cutpink.jpg" alt=" " /></p> <p>If you have some silk flowers that are less-than exciting, you can always take apart two flowers and combine them. Use the same kind of flower for additional petals, or two or three different kinds of flowers for a sort of hybrid flower.</p> <p><img width="448" height="336" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/pinkwhiteb4.jpg" alt=" " /></p> <p><img width="301" height="304" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/hybridpinkwhite.jpg" alt=" " /></p> <p>The little leaves that you glue over the pin's spine can usually be found in the bridal supply section of a craft or fabric store, because they are often used in veils.</p> <p><img width="448" height="336" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/whiteflowerleaves.jpg" alt=" " /></p> <p><img width="297" height="298" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/whiteflowerback.jpg" alt=" " /></p> <p>The center of the flower is a good place to glue something really cool. On the flower pictured below, I glued an antique button that I bought at a thrift store. It has rhinestones, and complements the subtle colors of the flower perfectly.</p> <p><img width="448" height="336" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/antiquebutton.jpg" alt=" " /></p> <p>You don't have to put anything in the center because a lot of fake flowers look better with their fake centers. But other ideas include regular buttons, smiley faces, crystals, beads, pearls, or even those polished glass pebbles that you put into fish tanks. Below is a small white lapel pin that I made with a cheap mother-of-pearl button for a center.</p> <p><img width="290" height="269" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/whiteflowerfront.jpg" alt=" " /></p> <p>The brooches that I made for upcoming Mother's Day cost me under $10, and that's for both Mum and Gram. Now, I just <a href="http://consumerist.com/consumer/frucall/can-i-get-this-cheaper-online-call-frucall-215463.php">need to make a couple of cool cards</a>, and I'll be all set.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-karim">Andrea Karim</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/diy-silk-flower-brooch">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/diy-berlin-style">DIY Berlin Style</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/19-ways-to-reuse-old-towels">19 Ways to Reuse Old Towels</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-surprisingly-valuable-uses-for-a-penny">15 Surprisingly Valuable Uses for a Penny</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/37-brilliant-ways-to-reuse-an-empty-milk-jug">37 Brilliant Ways to Reuse an Empty Milk Jug</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/19-uses-for-empty-cereal-boxes">19 Uses for Empty Cereal Boxes</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY arts and crafts Do It Yourself fashion gift Mothers Day silk flowers Mon, 23 Apr 2007 20:47:40 +0000 Andrea Karim 548 at http://www.wisebread.com Like DIY? Avoid These 10 Costly Mistakes http://www.wisebread.com/like-diy-avoid-these-ten-costly-mistakes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/like-diy-avoid-these-ten-costly-mistakes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/2411188184_cc141117a0_z.jpg" alt="headache" title="headache" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I love DIY. I&rsquo;m completely awful at it, but as I&rsquo;m thrifty I&rsquo;d much rather do something myself than pay someone else three times as much to do it. But here&rsquo;s the rub. You can end up costing yourself more in the long run by doing it yourself. So, I scoured the web looking for the obvious and not-so-obvious mistakes DIY addicts make and compiled this list. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/diy-home-improvement-10-free-options-for-training-and-advice">DIY Home Improvement: 10 Free Options for Training and Advice</a>.)<br /> <span> </span></p> <h3>Mistake #1 &ndash; Cheap tools, no tools, the wrong tools</h3> <p>You can start a job thinking you have all the right equipment, but hammering a nail in with the back of your shoe ain&rsquo;t gonna cut it. Neither is that nifty saw you got in the $1 store with less teeth than your old gran. Do yourself a favor. If you&rsquo;re going to DIY, buy quality tools like the pros, and research your job fully so you have all the right tools for the particular job at hand.</p> <h3>Mistake #2 &ndash; The Superman (or Wonder woman) syndrome</h3> <p>You ever meet one of those people who could do everything better than you? They&rsquo;re the same people who think they can build an entire house in one weekend with no help from anyone else. This is known as working beyond your scope. If you can&rsquo;t do plumbing, don&rsquo;t do plumbing. If you&rsquo;re rotten with heights, avoid the roof. Don&rsquo;t think that you can stand on tiptoes on the top rung of a rickety old ladder and think you&rsquo;ll always be safe. One day you&rsquo;ll be telling your DIY story in the E.R. According to the<span> </span><a href="http://www.cpsc.gov/">U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission</a>, ladder mishaps land over 164,000 people in the Emergency Room each year. So, if electrical work happens to be your Kryptonite, steer clear.</p> <h3>Mistake #3 &ndash; &ldquo;Permits? What Permits?&quot;</h3> <p>Permits aren&rsquo;t there to just be a pain in your butt. They have a real purpose, and it&rsquo;s in your best interest. Those folks in the permit office are there to make sure the job is done right and that you don&rsquo;t go hurting yourself or anyone else. They also ensure that when you do an improvement, your insurance carrier has the necessary paperwork to keep you covered. Don&rsquo;t quite know if you need one? Well, unless you&rsquo;re just giving a lick of paint or new layer of paper to the guest room, chances are you&rsquo;ll need one. If in any doubt, call your local building department.<span> </span></p> <h3>Mistake #4 &ndash; Saving a few too many bucks on materials</h3> <p>Like you know, I love a bargain. But make sure you know where to draw the line. &frac14; inch drywall may save you a fortune, but it&rsquo;s about as effective as a pair of curtains for soundproofing. You&rsquo;ll need &frac34; inch for a good sound barrier. And flooring is the same story. &frac34; plywood is your best friend when it comes to keep the noise down and giving you a strong foundation. So, crack open the piggy bank. Do the job once, do it right and do it with quality materials. (Of course, if you can <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-laws-of-negotiation">haggle</a> over the cost of those materials, you&rsquo;re being a true Wise Bread shopper&hellip;go for it).</p> <h3>Mistake #5 &ndash; Ummmmm, that&rsquo;s close enough</h3> <p>My pop is a great DIY dude. He told me something that was not exactly original, but I never forgot it. &ldquo;Measure twice, cut once.&rdquo; And you know what I&rsquo;m talking about if you&rsquo;ve ever cut anything to length only to realize that you measured at 18 &frac14; instead of 18 3/4 . Bang. Your money is down the drain. So, always, always err on the side of making something a bit too long. It&rsquo;s much easier to cut down than build up. So, remember. Measure twice, cut once on anything from drywall to plumbing pipes and crown molding.<span> </span></p> <h3>Mistake #6 &ndash; Duct tape for life</h3> <p>In my short DIY career, I&rsquo;ve done the occasional plumbing repair with <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-10-unusual-uses-for-duct-tape">duct tape</a>. It&rsquo;s handy stuff. But it&rsquo;s not a repair, it merely buys you a little time. If you&rsquo;re walking out of the door to catch a flight for your two weeks in Hawaii, duct tape could very well save your bacon. But it&rsquo;s NOT permanent. It WILL leak, as sure as night follows day. So, get it fixed as soon as you possibly can. And if plumbing is not your thing, get a pro to do it. Water damage can cost thousands and thousands of dollars in repairs.</p> <h3>Mistake #7 - Rushing the prep work before painting</h3> <p>When I first started painting my house, I jumped straight in. Yippee. But I spent more time cleaning up my many mistakes, spills, drips, runs and shoddy lines than I did painting. Do yourself a favor, do the prep. Clean your walls, patch up holes with good filler, and use a good painter&rsquo;s tape for windows, doors, ceiling lines and anything else that you don&rsquo;t want paint on. Lay down a good quality tarp that you can use again, and set a primer on oil-based paint or dark walls you&rsquo;re painting a lighter color. You&rsquo;ll thank yourself later.</p> <h3>Mistake #8 &ndash; Any paint will do</h3> <p>Sorry, it won&rsquo;t. You don&rsquo;t want a flat paint on anything other than a ceiling (put it in a kid&rsquo;s room and watch what happens when you try scrubbing off the crayon and marker pen). Go for eggshell or satin finishes on interior walls, they can resist a lot of washing. Exterior paint is clearly marked and weatherproof. And for your deck, use a linseed-oil-based stain. Unlike clear sealers (which don&rsquo;t block UV rays) the linseed stains drive the pigment deep into the wood and preserve it.</p> <h3>Mistake #9 &ndash; What could possibly go wrong?</h3> <p>How about everything? Safety is essential when working on any DIY project and even if you look like a dope, you need to wear the right equipment. Safety goggles are vital when you operate power tools, and hard hats are equally as important when working under scaffolding. If you&rsquo;re painting or using harsh chemicals, open a window or two to keep the area well ventilated. If you&rsquo;re a big fan of those baggy carpenter jeans and old, loose t-shirts, you may want to re-think them. Loose clothing can get caught up in power tools and machinery and the results are none too pretty. Of course, wear a good pair of gloves for carrying wood, metal, rock or anything else sharp or abrasive. If you&rsquo;re in the basement, follow the safety rules regarding spiders and other dangerous critters (here in Colorado, Black Widows and Brown Recluses love basements&hellip;and one bite can do major damage).</p> <h3>Mistake #10 &ndash; A little knowledge is a dangerous thing</h3> <p>A lot of folks just dive right in on home projects. They&rsquo;ve seen a Bob Villa show or two, they rented a book from the library and they think they&rsquo;re good to go. That is until the new addition collapses under their feet. Don&rsquo;t start on your own projects by yourself, and don&rsquo;t start big. If you know someone who happens to be good at this stuff, tag along. They&rsquo;ll be happy for the extra pair of hands on their own project and you&rsquo;re getting valuable experience. Places like Lowes and The Home Depot offer workshops. Take them, they&rsquo;re fun and educational. And when you eventually do start you own little remodeling project, listen to the voice of reason. If you really don&rsquo;t feel 100% sure about what you&rsquo;re doing, step back. You don&rsquo;t want to knock through a supporting wall and end up in traction.</p> <p>So, those are the big 10, in my humble opinion. I&rsquo;m sure many of you have more tips, please feel free to post them here.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/like-diy-avoid-these-ten-costly-mistakes">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-top-10-diy-jobs-homeowners-should-avoid">The Top 10 DIY Jobs Homeowners Should Avoid</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-diy-tips-to-winterize-your-home-for-cheap">7 DIY Tips to Winterize Your Home for Cheap</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">10 Really Easy Ways to Unclog Drains</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-problems-you-can-solve-with-duct-tape">13 Problems You Can Solve With Duct Tape</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-cool-diy-home-improvements-for-20-or-less">10 Cool DIY Home Improvements for $20 or Less</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Home being prepared. Do It Yourself home improvement Home repair injuries Mistakes planning Fri, 02 Mar 2007 07:11:39 +0000 Paul Michael 313 at http://www.wisebread.com