Being cheap can be expensive.

I know this from personal experience.

I also know that if I’m not careful, trying to save money by doing things myself can take up an awful lot of time.

Over the years, I’ve had to replace quite a few repairable appliances and other gadgets after attempting to fix them myself and I’ve bought lots of unnecessary spare parts before paying for professional help.

Then again, I have learned a great deal and developed a few useful skills so I’m still happy with the do-it-yourself path.

The rewards are greater than the frustrations… at least for me, but I realise that might not be the case for everyone.

I was thinking about this stuff yesterday while I was working on my shed.

I mention that because before I decided to save some cash by buying a wood turning lathe, I didn’t know I needed another shed.

A lathe, by the way, is a machine that spins a piece of wood so you can shape it with a chisel.

Anyway, the second-hand machine I found seemed like a steal at a mere P3 000, so I bought it planning to make rolling pins, bowls, pots and other items to pass on to friends and family as Christmas and birthday gifts.

Nice idea, but it hasn’t panned out that way yet, mainly because a lathe doesn’t make things by itself.

You need to know how to use it, you need a fair bit of space and you need a supply of high quality wood.

I was already playing the free firewood collecting game before I bought the lathe, so I know where to find pieces of trees and I know which types are suitable for the items I want to make.

I’ve also taken a turning class, but until I move the junk out of my garage so I can get to the machine, I won’t be able to make any gifts.

Actually, there really isn’t that much junk in my garage, it’s all fairly useful stuff and I want to keep it; it’s just in the way of the lathe.

That’s where the second shed comes in, and I’ve chosen to build it mostly from free lumber I’ve found at building sites.

I bought the lathe over two years ago and I started collecting lumber for the shed nearly a year ago, but it isn’t quite finished, so nothing has moved out of the garage.

The problem seems to be that because I think I can do it on the cheap, I keep upgrading the project in case I want to use the building as a workshop.

It’s solid as a rock and it has shelves, a heavy duty work surface and windows all the way around and it may even have electricity and water some day down the road. Definitely overkill for a storage shed.

Building it from scratch has kept the cost of the gift making project under P5000, but I’m going to have to turn one hell of a lot of gifts before I can consider this a sound financial move.

Yes, trying to cut costs can be expensive, but it can also be educational and often it’s a lot of fun.

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