My toilet was making a dripping sound. I checked it and realized that the flapper was malfunctioning. I bought the part and replaced it myself. I thought back to my youth and remembered how I had no interest in learning anything about house or auto repairs. It wasn't until my college years that I finally started hanging out with my dad when he'd do things around the house or garage. He was a plumber, mason, welder, electrician, roofer, tile layer, and auto mechanic (there are more titles but the list is too long), and had extensive experience in both commercial and residential construction in Venezuela and New York. He seemed to know everything about everything.
I didn't recognize it as a kid but my dad saved and made the family a whole lot of money, even in trying times. When he was out of work, he could always pick up a job at a friend's garage or a local carpenter's outfit. We staved off financial disasters that many other families could not avoid. Whenever the family cars needed repairs, he'd use a flattened cardboard box to cover the cement floor of our garage and get to work. The thought of paying someone to change his car's oil makes him shudder. I remember trying to fit the new boiler down the basement steps before he installed it. Anything that needed fixing, he did it by himself. Barring any physical ailments, he still does.
I don't know how much I saved by buying a $5 part and not calling a plumber. Fortunately, I won't have to find out because my dad taught me how to do these things. You can walk more often, buy a car with better mileage, or eat out less but nothing beats just knowing stuff. Thanks, Dad.