During our previous lifestyle of accumulating stuff, we (okay, I) tended to do stuff myself. Within reason of course. I know there are certain things I can’t do and paying someone to do it right is a good idea. But after this new life of living with less, we’ve been able to find even more ways to save by doing other tasks I never would have thought to do myself.
I’ve laid all types of flooring, installed numerous back-splashes for friends and family, swapped out fixtures, faucets, toilets, stripped and stained my stairs, built my own banister, fenced my yard, flipped my deck boards to lengthen their life by several years — if it involved handy-work I’ve likely done it. Except when it comes to one thing — my car. I’m what you would called an idiot savant when it comes to cars, minus the savant part. In fact, I’ve posted before about my illustrious experience with autos.
But something has happened with this new minimalist lifestyle. When you live a life with less and have a chance to save a few bucks, you go for it. This can be taking the bus instead of flying, or in this case, doing stuff yourself. Case in point, we had a headlight out on our car, Blinky, so he was temporarily named Winky. But our bright lights worked. So what was the problem?
Ahh the Internet – Teaching you to do stuff yourself since 1995 (ish)
I mention in Sell All Your Stuff and Move Abroad that the internet used to only be good for porn, but that now it’s also good for selling stuff. Well, I’ve discovered a 3rd use for this internet thing — you can learn how to do stuff yourself!
Google is one of my best friends. In fact, we’re so close Google finishes my sentences! Anyway, I googled various iterations of “headlight Nissan Versa”, and after a few forums explaining I should check the fuse first, then replace the bulb next, I was armed with information to check under my hood. So with my newfound car-care knowledge, I checked the fuses. They were all fine. Which meant it was the bulb or electrical. Okay, off to the auto store to get a lightbulb. So it was another quick YouTube video on how to replace a headlight. Piece of cake. Now to see if it works…fingers crossed…nice, car started – that’s always good. Okay, turning on the headlights…YES! Oh, crap, high-beams are on and those always worked. Twist them off and…SUCCESS!
How many minimalists does it take to change a lightbulb! Just one, and a few helpful YouTube videos!
As mentioned, I’m a pretty capable DIYer with certain things, but whenever it came to my car I just had my mechanic do it. I trusted him, and had a great relationship with him as well. In fact he sent a few potential buyers our way when we sold our car to move abroad. He wouldn’t have charged me for the 5 minute bulb replacement, just the bulb itself. But when you don’t have a reliable mechanic, that 5 minute job becomes an hour at $50 for a 5$ part!
Of course, when you attempt to do stuff yourself, you have to know your limits. If I had a major electrical or plumbing issue, I’d call in the pros. Same with my car. I mean, changing a lightbulb is one thing. Swapping out my flux capacitor or replacing my quadrophonic illuminator descender is still something I’m just going to have to suck up and pay the trustful mechanic $1800 to fix if he says those need fixing!
Now go sell all your stuff and do stuff yourself!