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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

There are certain things that we have to pay other individuals to perform for us. From the dentist to certain construction tasks, it would be less stressful and wiser to consult an expert. However, for certain tasks, like an article of clothing that is damaged or dog grooming that we can perform ourselves and save a ton of money in the process. This not only makes you a wiser individual economically, it allows you to also be more self-sufficient in a time of rising costs and the environmental impact certain acts have. Today, we will talk about 10 easy to learn skills that you need to acquire today to save you money in the future.

1. Website Design

This is by far my most favourite tip to give. Not only because I’m currently working on advancing my programming knowledge, but also because it has both money saving and money making qualities. Squarespace is a website design website I make use of and a separate website for my domain costs. Even with a working knowledge of HTML and CSS, I use Squarespace because I simply love their templates I can tinker with. With Squarespace alone I am paying $120 a year, that’s $10 a month. For those who can program their own website, they are able to make it uniquely their own and can even offer their skills to other people as a way of making money. Code Academy is a great place to start and you’ll need to work toward learning HTML/CSS and Javascript.

2. Cooking

preparing food

    Some reports attest that the average American eats out twice a week, spending on average $10 each visit. Totalling close to $1000 a year when you add in taxes, and almost an additional 50% of that when you factor in taxes. In summary, that is what equates to a round-trip international plane ticket, going down your gullet. While I am not recommending you to stop eating out all together, I still spend the average a year on eating out, if not more, I do recommend you take up the skill of cooking if you are looking to save money. With the numerous recipe applications, articles, and websites out there, cooking is more accessible and easier than you think. With the money you’ll be saving, cooking your own meals every now and then will grow on you.

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    3. Dog Grooming

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      There are certain upkeep costs that require the intervention of a vet when it comes to pets. However, there are many individuals who pay for dog grooming to ensure that nails are kept trimmed or even polished! With some services costing between $20 and $50 a visit, you are simply throwing money into the litter pan with dog grooming costs. Instead, learn to do some of these things yourself. From giving your dog a luxurious bath to keeping up their mane, you will be saving between $300 and $600 a year. Plus, it’ll allow you to connect with Fido.

      4. Clothing Repair

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        Oh no, there’s a rip in your pants. What are you likely to do? Chances are high that you’ll either throw the pants out or do the “frugal” option of taking them to the tailor. But when you think about it, is having someone else repair your pants really frugal when you have two working hands of your own. No it is not, and there are various resources online and show you how to make small repairs to clothing mishaps, preventing you from having to make a trip to your tailor or the local shopping mall. With the average tailor visit costing between $10 and $30, you’ll save $120 to $360 a year repairing on our own.

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        5. Cutting Hair

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          Salon costs are heavily weighed especially on gender. Granted, a woman may request a couple of more additions to their hair bill, including some styling here and there, but for the most part, women pay more in any situation. Depending on the size and location of the city you live in, especially as reported in this Huffington Post article from May of last year, you can find yourself spending between $900 and $3000 on average for maintaining that gorgeous mane of yours. That’s outrageous, and you may want to look into how to give or allow a family member to give you a small trim between less frequent visits. The other hair cost, hair products, can also be reduced as well. Guys, I’m looking out for you all as well (how to trim your own beard and how to cut your own hair).

          6. Walking

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            Taking your car everywhere, even when you have no where to go and just want to go for a ride on a nice Saturday afternoon can cost you in the long run in wasted gas. Instead, look into walking to more places if you live in a neighbourhood that would make this possible. Even if you don’t, if you are on break at work, walk around the city instead of driving to your lunchtime errands. If you do live in a walkable neighbourhood, consider forgoing your car all together. Learning how to tackle your city like a true city person will allow you to let go one of the biggest expenses of all. Forgoing your car results in saving almost $3000 a year.

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            7. Preparing Taxes

            Preparing your own taxes can be so stressful that individuals are willing to shell out on average $261 a year to have someone else do it. While in complicating situations, for example the case of freelancers, it is wise to consult a bit of help. However, if you are a run of the mill taxed American, you will probably find that preparing your own taxes is wiser for you in the end.

            8. Negotiating

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              There are certain countries where a majority of your purchases are set in stone, in other countries negotiating is the way to go. However, in the United States, many of the services that we feel are set in stone can actually be negotiated upon. Chances are, in our society, you’ll find things marked with a price tag, but you can definitely find ways to negotiate in the form of discounts. You aren’t haggling or being a penny pincher by asking if places have discounts for students or other groups you are qualified under. If you have enough proof, your chances of getting some unadvertised percentage off can save you a ton in the long run. All you have to do is learn the art of speaking up.

              9. Car Maintenance

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                As mentioned before, walking can be a great way to save almost $3000 if you forgo your car all together. However, if you are like most Americans and can’t let the keys go, there are ways to save on things like car maintenance. Certain things, like changing a tire or keeping up with your car’s oil are simple and quick tasks you can perform yourself with the right tools and know-how. Maintaining your car yourself, without the need to go to a dealership aside from larger issues and inspections will save you hundreds in the end of the year.

                10. Stay-cationing

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                  Paying hundreds of dollars for transportation, hundreds more for lodging, and eating out are all the components of an expensive but great vacation. However, very few people fail to look at what is to offer in their own backyards (~50 mi). Living in Northern Virginia alone, if I want city fun I can go to Washington D.C, if I want nature, i can go to the numerous national parks, including Great Falls, to take in the scenery. Make use of websites like Yelp or your city or state’s official website. They can offer insight into various activities available to you to enjoy.

                  Grand Total of Savings: ~$3500 – $6000 a year.

                  With the tips outlined in this article, you can find yourself saving a ton of money that can be applied toward a certain item or trip you have been only wishing to partake in for the longest. Let us know in the comments below what you’d spend your personal grand total of savings on.

                  Featured photo credit: 120 Hours via 120hours.com

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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?

                  More Articles About Making Wise Investment

                  Featured photo credit: Matthew Bennett via unsplash.com

                  Reference

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