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Friday, November 5, 2010

Why DIY Can Cost More

We just returned from the fabric store. The cloth can be fun, the patterns nice, the knickknacks interesting, the possibilities endless. But possibilities are dashed against the reality of a budget. As fun as homemade items can be, they can cost way more than what can be procured at a place that handles this stuff in mass.

Mass production/distribution--be it cars, curriculum or craft supplies--works in part by buying in bulk and passing on those savings to you. That gap in price is enough to keep businesses going and, in my case, me from taking the time to do it myself.

As we looked for the items we needed, we stopped by the patterns. 'Incredible,' I realized. 'They sell enough patterns to pay for the design, production, and printing of these catalogs, which includes paying the tailors, models, and photographers.'

But the price variation of mass distribution was tugging on us as well. "We'll buy one of these here for today, and we'll check the price online later."

Interestingly, this Do-It-Yourself price gap does not apply to most home improvement projects. Why? You can't mass produce custom shelves that fit my basement.

What things have you found to be prohibitively expensive to do on your own? What things are you glad others can do for you for less?

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Empty Nester

3 comments:

Ann said...

Personal printed gifts (stationary, photo calendars, etc) are almost always cheaper for me because I can easily refill my own ink cartridges. Some sewing projects are actually cheaper, too, because I can find free online patterns (or just get ideas from craft stores and etsy shops and then copy them to the best of my ability) and then use scrap material to make them. Hair bows are MUCH cheaper for me to make! It takes a lot of time and effort, but I have more of that (even with my limited time) than I do money, so I go for it. And, my girls love the fact that I can give them bows that really fit their personalities.

Last year, though, I really wanted to make my son a fedora to match his daddy's. After using huge portions of felt and glue, we gave up and bought one!!!

Becky said...

I love to sew. I really like to sew cute clothes for my little girl. Fabric can be so expensive, like you said, and two outfits from $15-$20 of fabric is not quite worth it compared to the $3 & $4 items you can buy at Walmart and Target.

Also, quilting is fun. But $65 just for fabric for a twin-size quilt is definitely not cheaper than buying a quilt at the store. But, then it's personalized, and it's something I like to do. I just don't get to do it often.

Luke said...

Ann, great examples. Thanks for sharing!

I hear ya, Becky. My wife likes doing sewing and knitting projects too, but the materials can be so expensive!

~Luke


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