What’s the Stupidest Thing You’ve Done to Save Money?

Gosh, do I only get to pick one thing?

painting of a woman with long dark red hair swinging it to one side

There was that time I let my boyfriend cut my hair….. (Actually, he did a pretty good job!)

This is fresh in my mind, as I’ve had a recent epic fail in the saving money department.  As most things go, it seemed like a good idea at the time.  Now I’m wondering how much extra money I’m going to have to spend to make up for my attempt to save money.

My house needs painting.

The interior is fine.  I just painted an accent wall a couple of months ago, and it turned out pretty close to perfect.  I also painted an in-law unit I rent out, and that too, turned out fine.  In both cases, it took me 5 times longer than I thought it would (or should).  However, I had no major problems with the process or outcome.

The exterior of my home needs to be painted.  It was painted light peach, which also seemed like a good idea at the time, 20 years ago.paint and flooring samples, next to blueprints  I never really liked the shade of peach.  It didn’t turn out looking like what I thought it would, but it wasn’t bad.  You can never tell by a one inch square sample what a color will look like. Even so, it was better than the hideous color it covered, so I knew I could live with it for years.

Well, time is up.

My already 70 year old house looks dated, and I want it painted!!!  Ironically, I love my garage. corner of upper half of tan multi car garage I have a detached garage that was built 9 years ago.  The color was mixed in the stucco, so it was never painted, and turned out great.  It is kind of a sand/tan Italian looking color.  I broke a small piece of stucco off the garage where a gutter was installed, and took it to the store to match the color.  I painted a poster size sheet of paper, and hung it against the garage to compare the color.  It was a perfect match.

Coming up my driveway, my sandy tan garage is to the right and my peach colored house is on the left.  Since the two structures are not side by side, and I have a large lot, it doesn’t look totally ridiculous that they are different colors.  Even so, it is time to get the job done.

The house was painted two decades ago

by my late husband.  I went to work on a Saturday, and when I came home the entire house was done. figurine of man holding a paint roller in front of a yellow and blue wall He pressure washed it, rented a paint sprayer, and went to town.  During much of our life together he started projects with great enthusiasm, but lost steam when it came to finishing them.  He would be the first to admit he got bored and didn’t want to finish, but that was not the case with the house.  He painted the whole thing in one day, and it looked great (despite our less than perfect color choice).

I figured if he could do it in one day,

I could do it in two.  After researching paint sprayers and watching tutorials on how to use them, I bought a nice one. I couldn’t wait to get started.  Washing the house by myself took 5 hours to complete. hands squeezing water out of a red washcloth That perhaps should have been my first clue that I was getting into a project a bit over my head.  The second clue should have been that I was drenched with water by the time the house was washed.  I had to wring out my sweatpants on the front porch before going inside to change into another “attractive” house painting outfit.

The following day I headed out to the store

to have the paint mixed.  I purchased all the stuff that goes along with painting, ie. drop cloths, blue painter’s tape, etc.  I headed back to the house to cover everything in plastic outside, and grabbed the manual for the sprayer.  By the time I taped and covered everything on the porch, and primed the sprayer and learned how to use it, I was exhausted!  I hadn’t even started painting yet!

I started by painting the underside of the eaves on the front porch. cartoon image of a purple house with a yellow door and trim There is a large overhang, about 5 feet, so I was excited to have the sprayer.  Up until that moment, I’d only known roller brushes and paint pans.  Surely this was going to get the job done in a fraction of the time.

There was a little bit of a learning curve with the sprayer. By the time I got the 5×5 section of the eaves done, I felt a little more comfortable with the sprayer.  I did not feel nearly as in control as I do with a brush or roller, but the anticipated amount of time it was going to save me would make up for it.

Then I painted the wall to the right of the porch.

I had done some stucco patching in cracks, and couldn’t wait to cover it with paint. reddish stucco wall with patch lines showing through the surface Well, somewhere I must have missed the memo that says apply light colored primer paint over the stucco patch.  When I painted over it, it did not disappear.  It just looked like dark veins on the wall.  I’m hoping that painting primer over it and repainting the one section will fix the problem.

At this point, the sun was beating down on the section I was painting, and the thought of wrapping my bay window in plastic like a giant Christmas package was more than I could bear.  If I want to paint with a roller, I only need to put the blue tape along the edge of the window.  The sprayer requires the entire window be covered.  At that point I decided to admit defeat (for the moment), and call it a day.

When you use a sprayer,

you have to clean it right away.  With rollers and paint pans, I do normally rinse them and reuse them,paint brushes, rollers and putty knives on a white surface but if I don’t and they get ruined, I’m out about $6.  I really didn’t want to ruin my brand new paint sprayer.  Especially as I was thinking I would sell it on craigslist sooner rather than later…..  It took me over an hour to clean that stupid thing.

While I’ve come to the conclusion that spraying is truly faster than rolling, the prep and the clean-up at this point don’t outweigh any potential time saving.

I had only painted about 6 feet

house partially painted dark tan with area above roof a different light beige coloron the wall at the porch.  I didn’t even stop in a logical spot.  I just stopped.  It now looks hideous.  I need to paint around my bay window to get to a natural stopping point.  It will look like a two tone house, but the colors are complimentary enough that it might look like that was the plan all along.  Right now it just looks like a terrible accident happened.

So, what is my plan?

That is an excellent question.  I did start looking on craigslist and Nextdoor to find anyone who paints as a side gig.  If I wanted to hire a real professional, I would have done that before spending the weekend attempting to wash and paint my entire home.  I’d actually love to hire someone, but can’t afford to right now.

cartoon image of paint can with hot pink paint spilling over, and a paint brush resting against the canI think I am going to get my trusted friends, Mr. Roller and Mr. Paint Pan, and do it the old fashioned way.  I am only committing to finishing the wall I started, and then I’ll re-evaluate how much more I want to do myself.


I have several sets of house guests coming over

the next few weeks, which was a big motivator to paint the house.  It looks totally ghetto right now, and much worse than before I did anything, so I’m kind of stuck.  I spent around $650 to buy everything, but the pros want many thousands of $$$ to paint it.  Hopefully some OCD college student will want to take it on as a side gig.

Right now I’ll have to finish up the one section so it doesn’t look like a crack house. figurine of back side of man with a paint roller painting a fence blue Then I’ll wait until I either have the money to pay a pro, or the time to do it myself.  That, of course, will require enough time passing so I don’t remember what a stupid idea it was to try to paint my house by myself in a day.

Your turn.  I’d love to know that I’m not alone in trying to save a buck.  Have you attempted to save money doing something yourself only to have it not exactly turn out quite right?  Comment on my Facebook page at Elaine’s Lane

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