What is Really Free?

Tools for the job

I consider myself a handyman. My wife would probably chuckle at that notion then possibly agree with me after I convinced her of my next elaborate project.

So when we moved into our current house and there was no garbage disposal in the kitchen I put my skills to the test. First of all who doesn’t have a garbage disposal? I looked up what I needed told my wife confidently that I could install one, and off I went to Lowes. Returning with a brand new garbage disposal, when I got back home I quickly started working. My first sign to stop should have been when I realized that I would need to redo the plumbing under the sink. It didn’t seem that difficult because there was only two sinks with no dishwasher so again my confidence took over.

After about 2 hours I had done some fantastic work. The disposal was working and I was feeling good. The only problem I had now was to get the plumbing for the sinks in order. I couldn’t get it to stop leaking. After about the 3 trips to Lowes I finally had the pieces and glue I needed. I plumbed the sink and gave myself a pat on the back when it finally stopped leaking. (still don’t know how I did it)

That was until about 2 months later when my wife went to do the dishes and a flood of water started flowing from the cabinet below the sink. Naturally she blamed the plumber who was me. I had to rush in and add a bucket so we could catch all the water.

Looking back I’m not sure I should have installed the disposal or done the plumbing.

After spending countless Saturdays and a few hundred dollars it was safe to say what labor I had done for free was not worth it.

There is a saying, that we all know. You get what you pay for. Even though we all know this, we still think we may be the exception. This one time what I do for free (labor) will pay off in the end. I have to laugh thinking about the confidence I had to re-plumb the sink. Doing this for the first time instead of paying someone with years of experience is just pride.

Nowadays, you can get or do mostly anything for free. If you look hard enough. But is it worth it? Some people think that doing your own Will yourself is a great value. I would argue it will cost more once you pass away, because it will more likely than not be wrong. Some people think doing their own retirement planning is worth it. I would argue that’s quite an amount of stress you put on yourself because it is usually only one person in the marriage doing the planning or retiring later with than you would if someone helped you. Why not pay to get help?

There are things worth paying for. Everyone is different in what they believe is worth paying for. But just remember, you get what you pay for meaning, doing it yourself is usually not free, in fact it could cost you in the end.

What do you consider something you should pay for where others think free is the better way to go?

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