How To Get on the Repair-It-Yourself Bandwagon

By Mary Hunt

July 20, 2009 4 min read

If you never have repaired anything in your life, even you can get on the new trend emerging in this tough economy. It has become trendy to repair things — from appliances to shoes and everything in between — instead of replacing them to avoid spending money, or at least to delay a big expense.

Never has there been a more useful tool available to us than the Internet. You don't even need to own a computer or have in-home access to the World Wide Web to make use of all its wonder. Just stop into your local public library and you'll be online in no time at all. Everything you possibly could think of repairing has a companion "how to" somewhere on the Internet. But finding the site may be the biggest challenge.

Start at your favorite search engine (Yahoo, Google, etc.), and simply pose your question starting with "how to." Prepare to be amazed. Whether it's fixing your eyeglasses or the dishwasher, you likely will turn up more than one response.

There are also Internet sites that serve as portals, or their own little search engines, for these kinds of do-it-yourself projects. Take, for example. Going to this site first and conducting your search there weeds out all the junk and takes you right to the most useful solutions for your particular need. Simply type in "how to" and what you need to do, e.g., "how to fix a sewing machine" or "how to change oil in a car." In seconds, you have the answer to your question. Many times, that answer comes with step-by-step instructions, photos and even a video.

Another useful Web site is, a site that offers technical support, instructions and repair service. Is your computer on the fritz? Don't toss it out before you do a thorough investigation at

Are your appliances behaving badly? Before you call to have them hauled away, take a tour of You'll enjoy the do-it-yourself diagnostic help and live online chat with the repair guru team, as well as delivery of just about any appliance part your research determines that you need. I can report from personal experience that it is possible to participate in a long-distance diagnosis of a fairly simply repair job. What seemed like a daunting task turned out to be a quick and easy fix. I avoided a big expensive repair bill (repair people don't come cheap these days) and got to keep using my venerable dishwasher for another year while I saved up to buy a replacement.

If you've avoided learning how to do your own repairs in the past, avoid no more. Really, it is so easy to do many repairs yourself, and your payoff will be huge. These days, when everything seems to cost more than ever before, that's saying a lot!

Mary Hunt is the founder of and author of 18 books, including her latest, "Can I Pay My Credit Card Bill With a Credit Card?" You can e-mail her at [email protected], or write to Everyday Cheapskate, P.O. Box 2135, Paramount, CA 90723. To find out more about Mary Hunt and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at

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