Life is expensive, so why not save where you can? By learning to do-it-yourself, you can save major money by not calling in an expert to sweat the small stuff, like building a shelf. But it’s also important to know what tasks are better left to the professionals.

Tape measure. Perhaps the most important tool in any kit, you’ll need a tape measure for most projects you take on. When choosing a tape measure, consider its potential roles in your household. If you’re expecting it to measure longer distances, consider a wider tape measure, which will “stand” over further distances. For smaller distances you can save a few bucks and get a thinner one.

Hammer. Many people overlook this basic necessity in their toolkit. But hammers are not too expensive and can come in handy for many small projects around the house. If you’re using your hammer to hang pictures, pair it with a laser level. This will help you hang more than one picture at the same height with ease.

Screwdriver. If you’re building nearly anything, a screwdriver will be crucial to the process. To make things easier and faster, invest in a cordless drill. If you’re going to be doing a lot of work in one day, a brushless motor will help the battery last a little longer. For simple everyday jobs, a brushed motor will work just fine.

Pliers. Meet your go-to tool for gripping, twisting and cutting wire. Having a pair of pliers on hand will help with a variety of tasks around your home that you never even knew existed. Expert tip: never use your pliers for tightening bolts and the like; this is a job best left to appropriately sized wrenches.

Utility knives. Everything on this list may be essential, but none are quite like the utility knife. Think about when you receive that massive box before the building process even begins. It all starts with the utility knife that easily cuts through the toughest packaging and more. To ensure things are always safe, one with a folding or retractable blade is recommended.