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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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    Last Updated on January 2, 2019

    How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

    How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

    Do you know what mental health experts point to as the biggest cause of stress in the United States today? If you said “money,” then ding, ding, we have a winner!

    Three out of four adults today report feeling stressed out about money at least part of the time. People are either worried about not having enough money or whether they’re putting the money they do have to use in the best possible way.

    Your money is either in charge of you or you’re in charge of it, there’s no middle ground. Using some type of personal finance software can help alleviate some of that money stress and better allow you to manage your money effectively. Without it, you may just be setting yourself up for constant financial worry. Life is already tough enough and there’s no need to make it more difficult by simply hoping your money issues will all work out in your favor. Hint: they won’t.

    This guide will help you to understand how personal finance software can better assist with both accomplishing long term financial goals and managing day-to-day aspects of life.

    Whether it’s tracking the savings plan for your child’s college fund or making sure you won’t be in the red with the month’s grocery budget, personal finance software keeps all this information in one convenient place.

    What Exactly is Personal Finance Software?

    Think of it like the dashboard in your car. You have a speedometer to tell you how fast you’re going, an odometer to tell you how far you’ve traveled, and then other gauges to tell you things like how much gas is in the tank and your engine temperature. Personal finance software is essentially the same thing for your money.

    When you install this software on your computer, tablet, or smartphone, it helps to track your money — how much is going in, how much is going out, and its growth. Most personal finance software programs will display your budget, spending, investments, bills, savings accounts, and even retirement plans, levels of debt, and credit score.

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    How It Leads to Financial Improvement

    It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but people who regularly monitor their finances end up wealthier than those who don’t. When you were a kid, keeping track of all of your money in a porcelain piggy bank was pretty easy. As we get older, though, our money becomes spread out across things like car payments, mortgages, retirement funds, taxes, and other investments and debts. All of these things make keeping track of our money a lot more complicated.

    Some types of personal finance software can help make things a little less complicated, setting you up to meet financial goals and taking away some of the stress associated with money.

    Even if you already have a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) some type of personal finance software can be of great benefit. Whereas CFPs focus on the big picture of your money, they don’t handle the day-to-day aspects that determine your overall financial health.

    It’s also not nearly as complicated as you might think and can take out a lot of the tedium that comes with doing everything on an Excel spreadsheet or with a pad and pencil.

    Types of Personal Finance Software

    When it comes to personal finance software, it generally fits into two categories: tax preparation and money management.

    Tax preparation software such as Turbo Tax and H&R Block’s software can help with everything from filing income taxes to IRS rules and regulations and even estate plans. Plus, there’s the benefit of filing online and getting your refund check a lot faster than if you were to mail off your forms after waiting in line at the post office.

    For the purpose of this article, however, will be focusing more on the personal finance software that aids with money management.

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    Money management personal finance software will help you to see the health of your cash flow, pay down debt, forecast for expenses and savings, track investments, pay bills, and do a host of other things that 30 years ago would have practically required a team of accountants.

    When to Use Personal Finance Software

    So far we’ve gone over what exactly personal finance software is and how it can be a benefit to your money. The next logical step in this whole equation is determining when it should be used and how is the best way to go about getting started using it.

    Below are four of the most common and practical ways to use personal finance software. If all or any of these apply to you and your money, then downloading some type of personal finance software is going to be a smart move.

    1. You Have Multiple Accounts

    There’s a good chance that when it comes to your money, it’s in more than one place. Sure, you probably have a checking account, but you may also have a savings account, money market account, and retirement accounts such as an IRA or 401k.

    If you’re like the average American, you probably have two to three credit cards as well. Fifty percent of Americans also don’t have loyalty to just one bank and spread their money across multiple banks.

    Rather than spending hours typing in every detail of every account you have into a spreadsheet, many programs allow you to easily import your account information. This will help to eliminate any mistakes and give you a bird’s eye view of everything at once.

    2. You Want to Automate Some or All of Your Payments

    Please don’t say that you’re still writing out paper checks and dropping each bill in the mailbox. While it’s noble that you’re doing your part to keep postal workers employed, we’re 18 years into the 21st century and you can literally pay every bill online now.

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    There’s no need to log into every account you have and type in your routing number either.

    With personal finance software you can schedule automatic payments and transfers between all of your imported accounts. Automatic transfers will help to make sure you have the necessary funds in the right account to ensure all bills are paid on the appropriate date. Late fees are annoying and do nothing but cost you money. It’s time that you said goodbye to them once and for all.

    3. You Need to Streamline Your Budget

    Perhaps the best feature of personal finance software is that it allows you track everything going in and out of your virtual wallet.

    Nearly every brand of personal finance software out there has easy-to-read graphs and charts that allow you track every cent you spend or earn, should you choose. You might be pretty amazed when you see just how much you spent on eating out last month or if you splurged a little more than you should have on Christmas gifts last year.

    Every successful business on the planet has a budget and using personal finance software can help you trim the fat on your spending in ways that affect your everyday life.

    4. You Have Specific Goals to Meet

    Maybe it’s paying off debt or saving for up something like a European vacation. Whatever your financial goal is, whether it’s long-term or short-term, personal finance software programs are one of the savviest ways to go about reaching those goals.

    You can do everything from set spending alerts to notify you when you’re over budget to automating what percentage of your paycheck goes to things like retirement investments. The personal finance software that you choose should show you exactly how close you are to hitting those goals at any given time.

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    How to Get Started

    From AceMoney to Mint and Quicken, there ’s no shortage of personal finance software apps out there. Many of these programs are free to download and will allow you to pay bills, invest, monitor your net worth and credit profile, and even get a loan with the swipe of a finger.

    Other programs may only offer you limited services and will require a one-time fee or subscription to unlock all that they offer. These fees can often vary from as little as two dollars to 50 bucks a month.

    It’s best to start off with the free version and then gauge whether you’re able to accomplish everything you’d like or if it’s worth exploring one of the paid options. Often times the subscription programs come with assistance from financial planning and investment experts — so that can be a real benefit.

    When deciding which personal finance software program to use, it’s also important to look at how many accounts you wish to monitor. Certain programs limit the number of accounts you can add. Be sure that if you have checking, credit card, and investment accounts to monitor, that you choose a service that can monitor them all.

    Finally, when looking around for the right personal finance software that meets your needs, make sure that you’re comfortable with the program’s interface. It shouldn’t be expected that you recognize every single feature instantly, but if the features don’t seem readable and manageable to you, then you’re not as likely to use it and get the full benefits.

    Final Thoughts

    Personal finance software can go a long way in helping you to take control of your money and meeting your financial goals. It’s important to note, however, that some focus more on budgeting and expense tracking while others prioritize investing portfolios and income taxes. Explore several different programs and read reviews to find the one that’s right for you.

    In this day and age, managing one’s personal finances in a secure manner that allows the user to have a real-time visual representation of their money is easier than ever before. With the numerous applications that are out there — both free and subscription-based — there’s no reason that every person can’t take control of their money and ensure they’re making smart money moves.

    Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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