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Skill-Building ROI

Returns on Investment (ROI) is key to evaluating the value of an investment. We can't always see the ROI because sometimes the value of the gains are squishy or variable. One of these types of investment, which not all people see, is skill-building.


Cooking is an example of a skill. At the super entry level, perhaps you can make a Cup O Noodle. At some point you can boil pasta and heat spaghetti sauce to make a semi-homemade meal. Or add an egg to a brownie mix. With each dish you learn to make, you grow your library of items you could spend time to cook instead of buying from a restaurant or store. When you buy the item from the store/restaurant, you are paying for the overhead cost of someone ELSE spending the time and skills to cook the thing you're buying.


Many people enjoy cooking, so there's a double-whammy on the benefits: financial and emotional.


I'm so proud of my life partner in sundry ways. Not only does he support my extracurricular activities, but he also contributes to the household in all the ways an egalitarian partnership implies.


A few weeks ago our oven broke at the worst time: while it was on, at 425˚ F! The front panel was a flat plastic and the OFF button and several other buttons were no longer working. Luckily, we were able to adjust the temperature down to 125 and he was able to pull it away from the wall and unplug it, shutting it down. We left it in that state, slightly in the middle of the narrow kitchen, for about a week while thinking about what to do. (Really, he was the one thinking about what to do.)


He decided at some point he was going to attempt to fix it himself. I was open to this, since it's something of a hobby... an opportunity for him to play. Over the next few days he ripped off the panel, saw what he assumed to be the part number written in Sharpie on the back, and looked online to find the part. He's adept at YouTube and Google searching, and found the part for $50.


Next he waited for it to come in, and it was shipped to us in sort of a stupid state... the electrical wiring had been heat sealed at the top of the strip... to the Amazon plastic packaging! It was like it was automated and the sizing was *just* a tiny bit off. We stared at the package for a few minutes, commenting on quality control and automation being stupid.


But he decided to try it before attempting to send it back as a dissatisfied customer... and it still worked! It took a bit of finangling to figure out how the back metal cover went back on, but he did it, and the oven was officially fixed! I couldn't decide who was more proud... him of himself or me of him! Ultimately if we had caved and called a technician to help us do what he just accomplished... it would easily have cost $500. He saved us hundreds of dollars, keeping it in the household for other expenses.


The next time something breaks, I'm letting him fix it! Taking the time to do some thoughtful planning around how to fix something can save you a lot of money... just look it up online!

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