Save Money: Learn How to Fix Things in Your Home

Save Money:  Learn How to Fix Things in Your Home -

 (Post contains affiliate links)

I’ve always had an entrepreneur’s heart!  I remember back when I was still dating Ryan, he was living in an older home with paneling on the walls.  I grew up watching my dad fix up our old 100 year old home, and he made it look easy.  I remember listening to Ryan about the paneling and I chimed in with, “why don’t we sheet rock it, it’s not that hard”.  Ha.


Imagine a barely 20 year old boy, who has never done much of any kind of home repair being told this.  By his girlfriend.  You know, the one who he’s always wanting to impress?  Guess what I got to help him do?  You guessed it, sheet rock (aka drywall) the walls.


We’ve lived in a lot of different homes since we got married over 18 years ago.  When we buy a home, we buy it for a  low price and fix it up ourselves.  We’ve vastly improved the conditions of our homes.  I’ve been pregnant, barefoot (ha, just kidding), and repairing homes for years.  (Of course, I’ve been pregnant almost 6 full years of my life…so that makes sense, right?)  My husband and I have learned so much about fixing homes.  We’re not always the best at what we do, but chances are, we know the basics of how to do it.


7 Ways to Learn How to Fix Up a Home

  • Books – We have a few different home repair books sitting on our shelves.  If we have trouble knowing how to do something, we look it up in the book.  We have this book:
  • The Internet – Have you ever noticed that someone else has almost always had the same problem you’re having?  Just do a general search for that question and sure enough, someone has written about it!  You don’t always find an answer in this way, but a lot of times you do.
  • You Tube – I know this is part of the internet, but I figured it needs it’s own blurb.  Because seeing how to fix something is so much better than just reading about it.  There are many videos on home repair on YouTube.  Don’t under estimate.
  • Ask a Professional – Many of us have friends and/or grandpa’s who know a little something about home repair.  When in doubt, seek out someone who has done it before.  Explain to them that you are trying to learn how to do it and see if they can explain it to you.
  • Assist a Professional – When my husband isn’t sure how to fix something or knows he’ll need support that I can’t offer (as a female in charge of little kids), he’ll ask a friend of ours (who is also a contractor) if he can pay him to help.  The friend is getting paid, but it is usually well worth it, as he’s always very knowledgeable about the home repair.  He knows the fastest and best ways to get the job done without it looking like a little kid fixed it.
  • Watch HGTV – Yes, seriously, lol.  Of course, if you need to know right now, that won’t work, but if you would just like a general education, this is the channel for you!  I don’t tend to be a TV watcher, but while we’re on vacation, when I want to lay around, I’ll watch HGTV for the fun of it.  I learn so many bits of helpful home fixing information while I do.
  • Trial and Error – Believe me, this is not always the best way, but sometimes we learn by trying.  If the new product comes with directions, we read them (or I do anyway, lol) and we follow them to the best of our knowledge.  You’d be amazed at how much you can learn, just by trying it out on your own.


These are the steps we go through when we begin a renovation.  Do we fix everything in a home?  No, definitely not.  In fact, as we’re getting older and busier, we’re having to teach ourselves to hire some of it done.  It’s so hard to do that, lol, but so freeing at the same time!


Some of the repairs we’ve done to homes include, replacing windows and doors, laying ceramic tile, laying peel and stick tile, replacing counter tops, replacing window and door trim, ceiling fans, light fixtures and plumbing, etc.


Tell me about some of the home repairs you’ve learned to do?

Basement Waterproofing: How to Waterproof a Basement

How to Waterproof a Basement

When we first bought our house, we knew that we had leaks in the basement, we just didn’t know quite how bad they were.  There was a sump pump in place that helped ease our minds and we were able to get most of the water out with it.  However, it seemed there was always at least a damp floor and occasionally puddles.  When it rained, it sounded like someone had turned on a faucet!

We’ve debated over the years about waterproofing the basement it to make it into a more livable space.  Up to this point, we’ve always used it for storage and everything we stored down there, comes out smelling musty, like a basement (imagine that, right?).  It seemed impossible to fix though.  There were so many issues.  There were cracks in the walls where the water was pouring in and seepage.

When baby #7 was getting close to being born, my husband decided to have a contractor out to give us an estimate on what it would cost us to fix it.  He had debated about doing it himself, but wasn’t sure he wanted to take on such a large project!  We had the contractor out and it took a while of mulling it over to decide if he really wanted to have someone else fix it.  He knows how to do many home projects, but this one, we’d have to rent machinery for, plus, he’d have to take time off of work to get it done, all with a new baby coming any moment.

After a couple of weeks of hard thinking, we finally decided to hire the job done.  While my husband still thinks that he could have done it himself, he’s glad that he didn’t have to!

How to Waterproof a Basement

This is where I share our experience of what the contractor did to waterproof our basement.  It’s actually an interesting process (if you like home renovations anyway!).  Since I was just a bystander (now with a nursing infant), I may not get all details 100% accurate. I’m definitely close.  You’ll get the general idea.

Most of the water that was pouring in was from cracks in the wall on the south side of the house.  They began by digging up that whole side of the house with an excavator.  There were many pipes and things coming into the house that they had to dig around.  In fact, they cut right through one of our water lines and had to fix it before they could move on.

 This post contains affiliate links

Basement Waterproofing: How to Waterproof a Basement

You can see the piles of dirt in the back yard…..

Basement Waterproofing:  How to Waterproof a Basement

After they dug that wall up, they had to clean the wall.  They had scraped and sprayed it off, and then used a sump pump to clean up the water they were putting back into the hole.   The evening after they had just done this, we were sitting in our living room when we heard a large C R A S H.  Part of the wall had caved in, rattling the ladder that was still in the hole.  I had quite the adrenaline rush from that loud noise, but overall, it wasn’t much of a setback.  They recovered from it quickly!

Here’s a picture of the cleaned up, nonmuddy wall.  

Basement Waterproofing - How to Waterproof a Basement

After the wall was clean (and dry), they sprayed a layer of black tar on it, for waterproofing.  The whole house smelled that day.  It was funny though, it kind of smelled like chocolate.  While in the house, you get used to the smell, but if you leave and come back in for a bit, you wonder who is baking something.  I never realized tar and chocolate smelled so similar.  :)

You can see the black tar here (and the person applying it at the end of the picture)

Basement Waterproofing - How to Waterproof a Basement

After the layer of tar, they put in a drain at the bottom of the hole.  They call this a tile, but basically it’s a permeable pipe that allows the water to go in and then moves the water to a sump pump.  The sump pump is installed at one end of the house and all water that is collected into that tile ends up getting pumped out and into a field that drains to the ditch.

After the drain and sump pump are installed, they place a dimple board over the whole wall.  This helps any water that comes in contact with the wall to drip down to the drain and not enter into the wall.  Finally, a layer of gravel goes on top of the drain.  You’d be amazed at just how much gravel goes in (nearly to the top!).  The gravel helps the water move down towards the tile.  On top of the gravel goes the dirt.

Basement Waterproofing:  How to Waterproof a Basement

In addition, the dirt around the house is piled up higher against the house and angled downward, so that it will drain away from the house.  French drains were installed so that the water will move away from the house as well.  Last, but certainly not least, seamless guttering was installed, too so that the french drains would be put to good use!

Since that time, we’ve had no water leaking into the walls of the basement!  We did continue to have some seepage, but we’re now addressing that issue.  I’ll tell you all about that one next!

That is phase one of our basement waterproofing project in a nutshell.


Teaching Your Kids How to Sew

Have you ever wanted to teach your kids how to sew, but don’t know where to begin?  It can seem so overwhelming can’t it?


I recently ran across a fellow homeschooling mom who has solved that problem for us!  She has developed a whole 3 hour DVD called “Getting Started“.  In it, you will learn everything you need to get started with your sewing projects.

“In the first part of this DVD, Katrina Marie will walk you through common machine tools and the basics of threading a sewing machine. Once you have your sewing machine all set up and ready to go, you can move on to practicing your stitches. Then, in the second part of the DVD you will learn about the needed tools and favorite materials that you will want, and how to set up a sewing space and keep it organized. Don’t worry; it doesn’t have to cost a fortune or take a lot of space!”

This is just the beginning though.  After she teaches you how to get set up, you can choose from several different sewing projects to learn.  Here’s an example:


On the Pixie Mandy’s Projects DVD, you will learn how to sew a Doll Pillow, Coin Purse, Chic Tote, Sweet Skirt & Rosy Ribbon.

Buy It:

You can buy the Getting Started DVD from Kids Sewing for $49.95.

You can buy the Pixie Mandy’s Projects DVD from Kids Sewing for $39.95.

Be sure to check out the other DVD options on their site.

Win It:

a Rafflecopter giveaway