Why DIY Can Cost More

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We just returned from the fabric store. The cloth can be fun, the patterns nice, the knickknacks interesting, the possibilities endless. But possibilities are dashed against the reality of a budget. As fun as homemade items can be, they can cost way more than what can be procured at a place that handles this stuff in mass.

Mass production/distribution--be it cars, curriculum or craft supplies--works in part by buying in bulk and passing on those savings to you. That gap in price is enough to keep businesses going and, in my case, me from taking the time to do it myself.

As we looked for the items we needed, we stopped by the patterns. 'Incredible,' I realized. 'They sell enough patterns to pay for the design, production, and printing of these catalogs, which includes paying the tailors, models, and photographers.'

But the price variation of mass distribution was tugging on us as well. "We'll buy one of these here for today, and we'll check the price online later."

Interestingly, this Do-It-Yourself price gap does not apply to most home improvement projects. Why? You can't mass produce custom shelves that fit my basement.

What things have you found to be prohibitively expensive to do on your own? What things are you glad others can do for you for less?

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Empty Nester

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