The American dream follows a fairly predictable path. Four years of college, a good entry level job, steady promotions, partner, kids, a house in the suburbs and retirement to a sunny state. But the myth is very different from reality. They never tell you how much you have to work and how much luck plays into it. So you want to start saving into a Roth IRA very soon after college, in order to get the most benefits out of the retirement plan.

The house owing part of the American dream, even after the mortgage meltdown of 2008, still makes a lot of financial sense. You can build a lot of value into your house, if you make a smart buy in a good school district and you are able to keep it up. Having a budget and saving for your Roth IRA is good practice, but you have to be able to control expenses.

That is why you need to get good at keeping up the maintenance of your house without overpaying contractors and handymen. The value of learning how to paint, fix your toilet, install a doorknob and maintain your whole house is vital to making sure that you can save enough money into your Roth IRA for the future. And there is a bunch of free education out there for you to learn how to do it.

First off, if you want to do major projects around your house, but you don’t have the tools, you have a few options. Either you invest in good tools that you will have for a long time, or you figure out a way to borrow from friends or family. Renting a tool can be a good plan, if you are looking to build a fence or do major landscaping work, but it is not always the most economical option. Look to friends and family for power tools that you will only use once or twice. Look to invest in a long-term option if you expect to use the tool multiple times.

Painting is the simplest job that you can do yourself, with the right amount of preparation and planning. Look online for videos that will help you with your technique and help you figure out what equipment you need and what equipment you don’t. The cost of hiring professional or even semi-professional painters can get prohibitive, so learn how to do some things yourself. That money you save by not spending it on painters can go straight into your Roth IRA.

Also, be confident in what you can do and humble enough to let a professional do their job. Plumbing and electrical can seem like simple things, but you really want a licensed pro to do most jobs that deal with water and electricity. The cost of making an amatuer mistake can be very expensive. You end up calling in the pro anyway. And you waste a lot of time and potentially cause a lot of damage.

DIY projects can be fun and money-saving. Just remember what to do with all that extra dough. Drop it in your Roth IRA, so you can enjoy your solid house and sunny vacations in retirement.