First, I noticed my turn signal was clicking faster than normal, meaning that one of external lights was burned out. A quick look at my tail light showed it wasn't going to be simple change. Access to the bulb would require taking off the tail light cover. Not having work on cars for over 10 years and not on this truck, I wasn't looking forward to all the preparation work - buying the part, finding an manual, and removing the light fixture.
However, I decided to dive into fixing it right away. On the way back to the office, I stopped at a local auto parts store. Using their computer, they identified the correct light bulb for my truck. Since I didn't have a manual for my truck, I looked on the Internet and found the complete manual in a PDF file. After reading the instructions, I took off the tail light and installed the bulb. It took about 15 minutes after I gathered my tools. I called the auto repair shop the next day and learned I had saved $22.50 for the service charge plus parts.
A few mornings later I noticed there was only lukewarm water in our shower. Since our water heater is about 20 years old, my first thought was that it had burned out. When I checked the water heater, I noticed the pilot light wasn't lit. Since the instructions to light the pilot were written on the water heater, I decided to first try lighting it myself. (I had lit the pilot in my previous 90 year old house many times.) As it turned out, the pilot light was lit on the first try. This saved a $69 service call plus an estimated $20 repair charge.
Then our sliding glass door wouldn't close when the temperature dropped to one degree overnight. We had called a repair service that was going to charge $30 to fix it that afternoon. However, when the sun rose, it warmed up the door and we were able to get it to close. (OK, it's a bit of a stretch to claim I fixed this, but we did save $30:-)
Total saved was $141.50, not including tax. Not bad for one week of handling my own repair work, which I sometimes enjoy doing since I am an engineer. I can see easily doing more of my own repairs in my early years of retirement, which would somewhat reduce my living expenses.
For more on Reaping the Rewards , check back every Friday for a new segment.
Photo Credit: morgueFile.com, Kenn Kiser
This is not financial advice. Please consult a professional advisor.
Copyright © 2007 Achievement Catalyst, LLC