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Learn These 10 Easy Skills Now And You Can Save A Lot of Money

Learn These 10 Easy Skills Now And You Can Save A Lot of Money

Saving money is a skill all on its own. Since the recession hit, people have come up with some creative ways to save money and have even developed skills to help to do. Here are some easy skills you can use to save you more money.

1. Learn the art of couponing

Couponing is the act of searching and seizing coupons to save you money on groceries. It seems like you’d just pick up the daily newspaper and find some good deals. The truth is you can find coupons everywhere. Inside of stores, in newspapers, and even on the internet you can find coupons and great deals on every day items. If you want to learn how to do extreme couponing, here is a great website to get your started!

2. Learn the art of cooking

Cooking is a great way to save money. When you go out to a fast food restaurant you spend anywhere from $5 to $8 on a meal per person. Using that same money you can create multiple meals. For $8 you can get a half a pound of your favorite protein, sauce, and noodles and make spaghetti which you can then enjoy over the course of three or so meals as leftovers. Eating in means saving money. If you need some help learning how to cook, YouTube has thousands of videos that will teach you how to cook practically anything. Check the video above for a really good introduction to basic cooking.

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3. Learn how to sew

Just because your favorite shirt has a hole doesn’t mean you have to throw it away and buy another one. You could always grab some thread and sew it up. It seems a little frugal but most holes are in the armpits of shirts or the crotch area of pants. These are areas that people often do not see or look at so practically no one will know there is a hole there that’s been sewn up. Sewing kits are cheap but the skill can be hard to master. The video above is a great tutorial on learning to sew by hand. If you use a sewing machine, here’s a great video for beginners.

4. Do some of your own housework

Contractors can be expensive and there are a lot of household tasks that may not require one. If you learn how to unclog your drains then you can save hundreds of dollars on a plumber. You can also do things like patch holes in drywall, reseal windows, mow your own lawn, and other small things around the house. If you pay someone $20 every two weeks to mow your lawn, you end up saving around $200 per year. That’s enough to buy a lawn mower and gas to run it. The YouTube channel expertvillage has a host of DIY home improvement videos that’ll teach all sorts of amazing skills.

5. Learn how to write

Proper writing techniques won’t save you money but it may help you make money. Writing is still a major form of communication and the people who can write the best have an advantage. You may even be able to land a blogging job with an awesome advice blog and make a couple of extra bucks teaching people skills they can learn to save themselves money. You can also do things like creating your own resume or write your own cover letter without paying someone else to do the job for you. Here is an amazing website that puts writing into perspective and will help you write better content.

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6. Learn how to haggle and negotiate

easy skills

    A lot of people poke fun at those who haggle or negotiate prices but they don’t tell you is that those people get nicer things for less money and have more money left over. This skill can come in handy when you go to garage sales or flea markets. It can also come in handy when you buy things on eBay or Craigslist. You may be getting a seriously good deal on that couch for $50 at the garage sale but you could walk away with the couch and some smaller items for the same price. New York Magazine has a great article to help you learn how to haggle with class.

    7. Learn how to budget

    This is one of the hardest skills for adults to learn but it’s also one of the most valuable. A lot of people operate on the premise that they get a paycheck and thus always have money to spend. That isn’t true at all. Many people underestimate how much their bills, gas, and food will cost. Then that $25 lunch you went to is the last $25 you had in your account. You can save a lot of money by budgeting because it teaches you self control and you won’t spend so much on stuff you don’t need. Here is a great guide to basic budgeting.

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    8. Learn how to sell

    Learning how to market your own items and yourself can make you money. For instance, I have a wood and glass coffee table to my immediate right. Right now I could get $20 out of it. With a little elbow grease I can clean it up and easily sell it for $40 when it’s all cleaned up. That’s extra bucks. You will spend your life selling things. Whether it’s in garage sales or selling yourself to your future job with your resume and cover letter, you should learn how to sell. Here is an article from Business Insider that help teaches you the basics of selling.

    9. Learn to fix your broken things

    This one is absolutely essential because this is where the biggest expenditures come from. Getting your oil changed doesn’t cost much but you can still do it cheaper yourself. If your hard drive dies in your laptop, you can replace it for the cost of a new hard drive instead of buying a brand new computer. I once took apart an Xbox 360 and dusted the inside of it to fix an overheating problem that was caused by clogged fan vents. Repair services and replacement can cost you thousands of dollars depending on the item. Proper maintenance and doing simple repairs can save you a boat load of money. This is a harder one to link up because there is no universal tutorial for fixing everything. Your best best is to search YouTube and Google for how to fix the broken item.

    10. Streamline your entertainment

    This is an amazing skill to learn. By streamlining your entertainment costs you can cut down immensely on your entertainment bills. Look for cheaper cable deals from other providers or begin looking into cutting the cable. At my last apartment, our cable and internet ran us about $120 per month. Now we have faster internet for $70 along with Netflix and Hulu for about $15 per month. It’s not huge savings but every penny counts. Books are always free at your local library. You can get a newspaper subscription for very cheap these days. You can also go for walks, visit nearby parks, or get a board game. It sounds a little lame but board games have a nearly infinite return on investment as long as you take care of all the pieces. It’s a hard skill to quantify or learn but it’s a valuable one.

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    There is no one method that will save you hundreds of dollars per month. You may see some places claim that it’s possible but it really isn’t. With skills such as these, you can save yourself quite a bit of money every month. It essentially boils down to depending on others less, depend on yourself more, and keep an eye out for good deals. Best of luck!

    Featured photo credit: Cloud Front via dmpmnxvfdwr3.cloudfront.net

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    Joseph Hindy

    A writer, editor, and YouTuber who likes to share about technology and lifestyle tips.

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    Published on May 7, 2019

    How to Invest for Retirement (The Smart and Stress-Free Way)

    How to Invest for Retirement (The Smart and Stress-Free Way)

    When it comes to stocks, I bet you feel like you have no idea what you’re doing.

    Everyone who’s not a financial expert has been there. I’ve been there. But, time is passing and you need to be crystal clear with how you’re investing for your retirement.

    Otherwise, it’s back to work until you can afford not to. So, how can you invest for retirement when you’re not a financial expert?

    You take the time to learn the fundamentals well. If you do, you can grow your wealth and retire happy. The best part is that you don’t need to be a financial expert to make smart investment decisions.

    Here’s how to invest for retirement the smart and stress-free way:

    1. Know Clearly Why You Invest

    Odds are you already know why should invest for retirement.

    But, maybe you know the wrong reasons. It’s time you get clear on why you’d like to retire. Here are some questions to help you get started:

    • Will you spend more time with your family?
    • What does retirement mean to you?
    • Are you looking to launch that business you’ve been holding off for years?

    Everyone wants to retire but not for the same reasons. Once you’re clear for why retirement is important for you, you’ll focus on making it happen.

    Investing in the stock market allows you to take advantage of compound interest.[1] All this means is that your money earns money on top of its interest. A reason why investment in the stock market is one of the best ways to plan for retirement.

    2. Figure out When to Invest

    “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”– Chinese Proverb

    It’s true if you’d had started investing when you were 10 years old, you’d have a lot more money than you do today.

    The reality is that most people don’t start investing until it’s too late. So, if you’re currently waiting for the perfect time to start an investment, it would be today. Open your calendar and block out 2 to 3 hours to choose how you’ll invest for retirement.

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    A quick way to get a snapshot of where you stand is to use Personal Capital. Input all your personal information and spend some time setting your retirement goals. Once completed, you’ll know where you stand with your retirement.

    Having a savings account for retirement isn’t planning for retirement. Why? Your money loses value when you factor in US inflation.[2]

    3. Evaluate Your Risk Tolerance to Create the Perfect Portfolio

    Investing your money well depends on your emotions.

    Why?

    Because when the market drops most people panic and withdraw their money. On average, the US stock market yields an annual 6% to 7% ROI (return on your investment.) But, this won’t happen if you’re worried about short-term loses.

    Before you invest your next dollar, know your risk tolerance.[3] Your risk tolerance determines the number of risky and safe investments you’d have.

    Regardless of your investing style, you need to view investing for retirement as a long term game. Know that some years you’ll lose money but recoup this in the long-term.

    Avoid watching market-related new. Also, create a double authentication to log in your investment account. This way you’re less likely to withdraw your money.

    4. Open a Reliable Retirement Account

    Depending on your circumstance, you may need to open a new brokerage account. This is the account is where you’ll invest your money.

    If you’re currently working for a company, odds are that they offer a 410K investing account. If so, here’s where you’ll invest most of your money. The only problem with this is that you’re limited to the stock options that are available.

    You do have the option to open a separate IRA (individual retirement account.) Here are some of the best brokers:

    1. Vanguard
    2. TD Ameritrade
    3. Charles Schwab

    5. Challenge Yourself to Invest Consistently

    Committing to invest for retirement is hard, but continuing to do so is harder.

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    Once you’ve started investment for your retirement, you run at risk from stopping. Often you’ll want to contribute less, so you’d have more money in your pocket.

    That’s why it’s important that you create a budget that allows you to invest each month. If you’re working for a company, you can set a percentage for the amount you’d like to contribute each month. Most people by default contribute 1% but aim to contribute 10% to 15%.

    Be the judge for how much you can afford to contribute after covering important expenses. To stay motivated, use Personal Capital to view your net worth.

    A benefit to contributing money to your retirement account is not taxed. For example, if you earn $100 and invest 10%, you’d contribute $10, then get taxed on the remaining $90. As of 2019, the most you’re able to contribute towards your 401K is 19K but this can change.

    6. Consider Where to Invest Your Money

    The most common way to invest your money is in stocks, but it’s not the only way. Here are other ways to invest:

    Robo Advisors

    Robo-advisors[4] are fancy algorithms that’ll choose the best investments for you. Sites like Wealthfront make it easy for first-time investors to invest their money. You’d input information about yourself and set your risk tolerance.

    Then, set your monthly contribution amount and your robo-advisor would do the rest. Robo-advisors charge a fee to manage your money, but less than regular advisors.

    Bonds

    Think of bonds as “IOUs” to whomever you buy them from.

    Essentially, you’re lending money and charging interest. Like stocks, not all bonds are equal. Some will be riskier than others depending on their rating.

    Here are the different types of bond categories:[5]

    1. Treasury bonds
    2. Government bonds
    3. Corporate bonds
    4. Foreign bonds
    5. Mortgage-backed bonds
    6. Municipal bonds

    Mutual Funds

    Picture a group of people dumping all their money in a jar that’s managed by a professional. This is how mutual funds work. The fund manager manages the money looking to earn capital gains (interest.)

    One of the best types of mutual funds is index funds. Since these funds don’t try to beat the market and instead follow it, they need less research. Because of this they often charge the lowest fees and yield the best long-term results.

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    Real Estate

    Yes, buying a home is an investment when done correctly.

    Imagine buying a home and using it as a rental property. After repairing it, you receive a monthly surplus check of $100 to $200.

    This may not sound like a lot, but repeat this process enough times and you’d earn a large amount of passive income. That’s why real estate is one of the best investments to not only retire but become wealthy.

    But, it requires a lot of money to start and you should expect losing money along the way as you learn the process.

    Savings Accounts

    Your money can still grow in a savings account. Nowadays most online banks offer a 2% annual return. Although the average inflation is higher your money will be available when you need it.

    7. Master Disincline to Dodge Short Success

    Investing for retirement is a long-term strategy. That’s why you need to master delayed gratification. All this means is delaying short-term pleasure for something bigger in the future. Research shows that those who have delayed gratification are more successful.[6]

    So how can you master delayed gratification?

    By building your discipline.

    Think back to what retirement means to you. A clear purpose will help you avoid withdrawing your money during a market downturn. It’ll help you contribute more towards retirement when you’d want to waste it instead.

    Your journey towards retirement will be long, so reward yourself along the way. Choose a reward that’s relevant and meaningful, so that you reinforce positive behavior. For example, after contributing more towards retirement, treat yourself to dinner.

    8. Aggressively Invest on This One Investment

    I’ve mentioned several types of investments but haven’t covered the most important one.

    It sounds cliche but here’s why you’re your best investment towards retirement. The more you know, the more money you’ll be able to make. The more good habits you adopt, the more secure your retirement will be.

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    More importantly, investing in yourself is an investment that no one can take away. There’s no market downturn nor tragic circumstance that’ll wipe your knowledge and experience.

    But, how can you invest yourself?

    Reading books, blogs, and anything that’ll help you learn new topics daily. Listen to podcasts and audiobooks on your commute to/from work.

    Save money to buy courses and hire coaches. I used to believe hiring coaches was a waste of money when I could learn the subject alone.

    But, coaches see your blind spots and hold you accountable. Hiring the right coach will help you achieve your goals faster than you would’ve alone.

    Retire Happy with Excess Money

    The key to a secure financial future doesn’t only belong to financial experts.

    It’s possible for you and I. What if you were able to retire earlier than most people and weren’t a financial planner? What if you were able to focus on what you enjoy doing the most while your money was working hard for you?

    I know this sounds impossible now, but the truth is you’re capable of taking charge of your retirement. I’m not a financial expert but I’ve learned how to invest my money by reading books and learning from others.

    Investing your money is scary. So start small and invest a small amount of your money with a robo-advisor. Feel your money drop and rise for a month or two. Then, invest more and keep this up until you’re aggressively saving for retirement.

    One day, you’ll wake up with a net worth you’re proud of – confident about your retirement. You now know a few strategies you can use to invest in your retirement. Will you take action to retire happy?

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    Featured photo credit: Matthew Bennett via unsplash.com

    Reference

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