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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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    Last Updated on September 2, 2020

    How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

    How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

    Personal finances can push anyone to the point of extreme anxiety and worry. Easier said than done, planning finances is not an egg meant for everyone’s basket. That’s why most of us are often living pay check to pay check. But did anyone tell you that it is actually not a tough task to meet your financial goals?

    In this article, we will explore ways to set financial goals and actually meet them with ease.

    4 Steps to Setting Financial Goals

    Though setting financial goals might seem to be a daunting task, if one has the will and clarity of thought, it is rather easy. Try using these steps to get you started.

    1. Be Clear About the Objectives

    Any goal without a clear objective is nothing more than a pipe dream, and this couldn’t be more true for financial matters.

    It is often said that savings is nothing but deferred consumption. Therefore, if you are saving today, then you should be crystal clear about what it’s for. It could be anything, including your child’s education, retirement, marriage, that dream vacation, fancy car, etc.

    Once the objective is clear, put a monetary value to that objective and the time frame. The important point at this step of goal setting is to list all the objectives that you foresee in the future and put a value to each.

    2. Keep Goals Realistic

    It’s good to be an optimistic person but being a Pollyanna is not desirable. Similarly, while it might be a good thing to keep your financial goals a bit aggressive, going beyond what you can realistically achieve will definitely hurt your chances of making meaningful progress.

    It’s important that you keep your goals realistic, as it will help you stay the course and keep you motivated throughout the journey.

    3. Account for Inflation

    Ronald Reagan once said: “Inflation is as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hitman.” This quote sums up what inflation could do your financial goals.

    Therefore, account for inflation[1] whenever you are putting a monetary value to a financial objective that is far into the future.

    For example, if one of your financial goal is your son’s college education, which is 15 years from now, then inflation would increase the monetary burden by more than 50% if inflation is a mere 3%. Always account for this to avoid falling short of your goals.

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    4. Short Term Vs Long Term

    Just like every calorie is not the same, the approach to achieving every financial goal will not be the same. It’s important to bifurcate goals into short-term and long-term.

    As a rule of thumb, any financial goal that is due in next 3 years should be termed as a short-term goal. Any longer duration goals are to be classified as long-term goals. This bifurcation of goals into short-term vs long-term will help in choosing the right investment instrument to achieve them.

    By now, you should be ready with your list of financial goals. Now, it’s time to go all out and achieve them.

    How to Achieve Your Financial Goals

    Whenever we talk about chasing any financial goal, it is usually a two-step process:

    • Ensuring healthy savings
    • Making smart investments

    You will need to save enough and invest those savings wisely so that they grow over a period of time to help you achieve goals.

    Ensuring Healthy Savings

    Self-realization is the best form of realization, and unless you decide what your current financial position is, you aren’t heading anywhere.

    This is the focal point from where you start your journey of achieving financial goals.

    1. Track Expenses

    The first and the foremost thing to be done is to track your spending. Use any of the expense tracking mobile apps to record your expenses. Once you start doing it diligently, you will be surprised by how small expenses add up to a sizable amount.

    Also categorize those expenses into different buckets so that you know which bucket is eating most of your pay check. This record keeping will pave the way for cutting down on un-wanted expenses and pumping up your savings rate.

    If you’re not sure where to start when tracking expenses, this article may be able to help.

    2. Pay Yourself First

    Generally, savings come after all the expenses have been taken care of. This is a classic mistake when setting financial goals. We pay ourselves last!

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    Ideally, this should be planned upside down. We should be paying ourselves first and then to the world, i.e. we should be taking out the planned saving amount first and manage all the expenses from the rest.

    The best way to actually implement this is to put the savings on automatic mode, i.e. money flowing automatically into different financial instruments (mutual funds, retirement accounts, etc) every month.

    Taking the automatic route will help release some control and compel us to manage what’s left, increasing the savings rate.

    3. Make a Plan and Vow to Stick With It

    Learning to create a budget is the best way to get around the uncertainty that financial plans always pose. Decide in advance how spending has to be organized

    Nowadays, several money management apps can help you do this automatically.

    At first, you may not be able to stick to your plans completely, but don’t let that become a reason why you stop budgeting entirely.

    Make use of technology solutions you like. Explore options and alternatives that let you make use of the available wallet options, and choose the one that suits you the most. In time, you will get accustomed to making use of these solutions.

    You will find that they make it simpler for you to follow your plan, which would have been difficult otherwise.

    4. Make Savings a Habit and Not a Goal

    In the book Nudge, authors Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein advocate that, in order to achieve any goal, it should be broken down into habits since habits are more intuitive for people to adapt to.

    Make savings a habit rather than a goal. While it might seem to be counterintuitive to many, there are some deft ways of doing it. For example:

    • Always eat out (if at all) during weekdays rather than weekends. Weekends are more expensive.
    • If you are a travel buff, try to travel during off-season. You’ll spend significantly less.
    • If you go shopping, always look out for coupons and see where can you get the best deal.

    The key point is to imbibe the action that results in savings rather than on the savings itself, which is the outcome. Focusing on the outcome will bring out the feeling of sacrifice, which will be harder to sustain over a period of time.

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    5. Talk About It

    Sticking to the saving schedule (to achieve financial goals) is not an easy journey. There will be many distractions from those who are not aligned with your mission.

    Therefore, in order to stay the course, surround yourself with people who are also on the same bandwagon. Daily discussions with them will keep you motivated to move forward.

    6. Maintain a Journal

    For some people, writing helps a great deal in making sure that they achieve what they plan.

    If you are one of them, maintain a proper journal, where you write down your goals and also jot down the extent to which you managed to meet them. This will help you in reviewing how far you have come and which goals you have met.

    When you have a written commitment on paper, you are going to feel more energized to follow the plan and stick to it. Moreover, it is going to be a lot easier for you to track your progress.

    Making Smart Investments

    Savings by themselves don’t take anyone too far. However, savings, when invested wisely, can do wonders.

    1. Consult a Financial Advisor

    Investment doesn’t come naturally to most of us, so it’s wise to consult a financial advisor.

    Talk to him/her about your financial goals and savings, and then seek advice for the best investment instruments to achieve your goals.

    2. Choose Your Investment Instrument Wisely

    Though your financial advisor will suggest the best investment instruments, it doesn’t hurt to know a bit about the common ones, like a savings account, Roth IRA, and others.

    Just like “no one is born a criminal,” no investment instrument is bad or good. It is the application of that instrument that makes all the difference[2].

    As a general rule, for all your short-term financial goals, choose an investment instrument that has debt nature, for example fixed deposits, debt mutual funds, etc. The reason for going for debt instruments is that chances of capital loss is less compared to equity instruments.

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    3. Compounding Is the Eighth Wonder

    Einstein once remarked about compounding:

    “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it… He who doesn’t… Pays it.”

    Use compound interest when setting financial goals

      Make friends with this wonder kid. The sooner you become friends with it, the quicker you will reach closer to your financial goals.

      Start saving early so that time is on your side to help you bear the fruits of compounding.

      4. Measure, Measure, Measure

      All of us do good when it comes to earning more per month but fail miserably when it comes to measuring the investments and taking stock of how our investments are doing.

      If we don’t measure progress at the right times, we are shooting in the dark. We won’t know if our saving rate is appropriate or not, whether the financial advisor is doing a decent job, or whether we are moving closer to our target.

      Measure everything. If you can’t measure it all yourself, ask your financial advisor to do it for you. But do it!

      The Bottom Line

      Managing your extra money to achieve your short and long-term financial goals

      and live a debt-free life is doable for anyone who is willing to put in the time and effort. Use the tips above to get you started on your path to setting financial goals.

      More Tips on Financial Goals

      Featured photo credit: Micheile Henderson via unsplash.com

      Reference

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