We’ve been working hard these past few weeks on some projects to get the house ready for baby number two (I’ll do some project write-ups on them soon). As we were cleaning out a closet we came across some stuff that just made Monique laugh. It seems I’m infected with a disease that causes me considerable pain whenever I buy something that I could just make in the shop. The disease usually progresses like this:

  1. Monique mentions something that we need around the house that Wal-Mart sells for $29.95
  2. I tell Monique that I can build it in “about” 30 minutes for “around” $10.00
  3. I go to Lowes and spend $19.00 on materials and $79.95 on a new tool I need for the project but I don’t count the tool because “I’ll use in on all kinds of stuff…”
  4. I spend 5 hours in the shop working on the item
  5. I head back to Lowes and spend $7.43 on stuff I didn’t realize I would need
  6. 3 more hours in the shop working
  7. 24 hours later the paint and/or glue is dry and I proudly show off the results of my 8 hour effort to save us $3.52
  8. Monique heads to Wal-Mart to buy the real item because mine doesn’t quite work

Luckily, Monique was well aware of this aliment long before she agreed to marry me and many times my affliction does pay off. I love that our furniture came from my hands and I love spending time in the shop working on projects for my family. But there have been some real moments of “why didn’t I just buy this…” Below are a few examples.

A while back Monique wanted some crown molding style shelves.

My Version

Not too bad right? I think they look great too. Only problem is that it took about an hour and a half to build and another hour to sand and paint. Twenty-four hours for the paint to dry and about $16.00 in materials and paint supplies…After building 5 of them we found this at Wal-Mart:

Store Version

So we bought 2 of them for $12 each….oh well.

When it came time to mount my surround sound speakers I never thought to price speaker mounts at the store. I spent almost $20 on materials and the better part of a day cutting, grinding, welding, and painting to create this monstrosity:

My Version

A few months later I’m at Fry’s and I see these for $18.99 a pair…they are about a tenth of the size…you can’t even see them behind the speakers.

Store Version

When we first moved into this house I installed a laminate wood floor in the office. Part of the installation requires the use of spacers around the edge to create expansion room. I spent two hours cutting over a hundred 3/16″ thick spacers…

My Version

By the time I did the next room I discovered that of course they make a plastic spacer that cost like $5.00 for a hundred…

Store Version


But the real prize belongs to the time Monique asked for an aerobic step like this:

Store Version

But of course 2 hours later I deliver this 20 pound shin mangling embarrassment:

My Version


7 thoughts on “How not to save $3.52

  1. Chris! I have to hand it to you..At least he tried ladies and gents! This is so funny and true! I especially like the part about getting the new tool. Nothing like a project to usher in a new tool into the shop.

    Also, I would like a post and pic of you using the aerobic step. Just a thought…

  2. OMG!
    Could anyone tell me where to find those 2 thickness in 1 plastic spacers please????

    Those store version blue-gree ones following your comment “By the time I did the next room I discovered that of course they make a plastic spacer that cost like $5.00 for a hundred…”

    Thanking you in advance,

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