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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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                  Last Updated on July 10, 2020

                  The Definitive Guide to Get out of Debt Fast (and Forever)

                  The Definitive Guide to Get out of Debt Fast (and Forever)

                  Debt can feel crushing, like a weight that is always weighing you down. Looking at those numbers, it can feel as if you’ll never get out from under it. However, if you really want to learn how to get out of debt, it is possible with a great deal of focus and self-control.

                  Getting out of debt isn’t impossible. Like any big goal, all that it takes is an action plan to identify where you are and creating a plan to zero out your debt.

                  Identifying All of Your Debts

                  The first part of paying off your debt is getting a complete picture of what you owe. When you have everything written out in front of you, it makes it much easier to create an action plan. Depending on how much you owe, it might also help you realize it’s not as bad you might have originally thought.

                  Here’s how you can get started identifying your debts:

                  1. Own Your Debt

                  Before you start identifying all of your debts, take a moment to process that you have debt but want to get out of it.

                  Forgive yourself for any past mistakes, missed payments, or overspending. It might be painful to accept how much debt you have at first, but you must own it.

                  2. Make a Debt Tracker

                  It’s astonishing how few people ever created a tracker to understand their total debts. Most likely, it comes from not wanting to accept the guilt of having debt, but, if avoided, it can make it nearly impossible to get out of debt.

                  Open up a new Google or Microsoft Excel sheet and list out all of your debts. Start with the name of the creditor, interest rates, total balance, loan term length (if any), and the minimum amount due each payment. This will include student loans, credit cards, and any other type of debt owed.

                  3. Get Your Debt Number

                  Once you’ve made your debt tracker and taken the other steps, identify your total payoff number. This is crucial, as you will have a starting point and a clear goal that you are trying to achieve.

                  Prioritizing Your Debts

                  All debt is not created equal. It’s imperative to understand that there are different types of debt.

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                  1. Understand Bad and Good Debts

                  Bad debts are usually paying for things you want instead of always need. While there might be some emergencies that max out your credit cards, often times it’s excessive spending[1].

                  There are three main types of bad debt:

                  • Credit Card Debt: The average American household owes over $16,000 in credit card debt!
                  • Auto Loan Debt: According to CNBC , the average auto loan in the US is $30,032!
                  • Consumer Loan Debt: Consumer loan debt isn’t as common as credit card and auto loan debt, but it’s still considered bad as interest rates are usually between 10-28%.

                  Good debt is identified as investments in your future. Here are three common types of good debt:

                  • Student Loan Debt
                  • Mortgage Loan
                  • Business Loans

                  2. Decide Which Debt to Pay off First

                  Once you know each type of debt and their interest rates, you can begin to pay off debt quickly.

                  Focus on paying off bad debt first, regardless of if it is a credit card or auto loan. Start by paying off the loan with the highest interest rate first.

                  If you have several credit cards with different interest rates, you want to focus on the one with a higher APR. You will actually save more money by eliminating the card with the highest interest rate.

                  3. Don’t Pay the Minimum Amount

                  Paying the minimum amount digs you into a hole as interest rates will offset your payment. Even a small amount more than the minimum can help you pay off debt much faster.

                  Removing Obstacles to Pay off Debt Quickly

                  Creating a debt tracker and prioritizing a plan is simple, but avoiding temptation can be difficult.

                  1. Set a Reminder to Track Your Debt

                  “If you can’t measure it you can’t manage it.” -Peter Drucker

                  It’s so important to track your debt to ensure that you get it paid off quickly. Similar to working out and measuring your results, you need to track your debt constantly. Start with a weekly reminder, where you sign on and log your updated number. Did you increase, decrease, or stay the same?

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                  Regularly tracking your student loan balance can be incredibly motivating, as well. You will get a huge confidence boost each time you see your total debt amount decreases.

                  Set weekly and monthly goals so you can have short term wins and keep the momentum going.

                  2. Hide Your Credit Cards

                  If your biggest debt is credit cards, you need to eliminate temptation and remove them from your wallet.

                  Some people have gone to extreme measures by freezing their credit cards. Why? This would create an ice block around your card, which would require you to chip away at it slowly. This will give you time to think if it’s the best idea to buy that thing you’re about to buy.

                  3. Automate Everything

                  Willpower can be a huge downfall to paying off your debt. By automating your bills each month, you will ensure that willpower isn’t involved.

                  4. Plan Ahead

                  Getting out of debt will require some sacrifices, but with enough planning, you can make it work.

                  For example, if you know that you have a friend’s birthday or family dinner coming up, plan ahead for the costs. Whether you need to cut back on spending the week before, pick up a side job, or meet them after dinner, do what is needed.

                  5. Live Cheaply

                  The only way to get out of debt is to make some sacrifices on your spending habits. Find ways to save money each month so you can apply that amount to your outstanding debts. Here are some ways to save money each month:

                  • Live with roommates
                  • Cook dinners and prepare lunches for work instead of eating out
                  • Cut cable and choose Netflix or Amazon Prime
                  • Take public transit or bike to work

                  Finding the Lowest Interest Rates

                  The higher your interest rates, the harder (and longer) it will take you to pay off any debt.

                  If possible, you want to find ways to lower your interest rates to help get out of debt quickly. Here’s how you can get started:

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                  1. Maintain a High Credit Score

                  Your credit score will have a large impact on your ability to refinance your loans and receive a lower interest rate. If you have a low credit score, it’s unlikely you will be able to refinance your loans. Use these credit tips to increase and maintain an excellent score:

                  • Never miss a payment
                  • Don’t exceed 30% of your credit limit
                  • Don’t sign up for more than one card at once
                  • Limit hard inquires, like auto-loans and new credit cards
                  • Monitor frequently with free credit-tracking software

                  2. Find Balance Transfer Offers

                  Start by opening a free account on credit.com. Credit.com offers you the chance to open a free account and see what type of balance transfer offers you can receive. Some of your existing credit cards might already have 0% or lower APR balance transfer offers available.

                  Contact each of your credit card providers to ask about lowering your rate for a one-time balance transfer offer[2].

                  If you do take advantage of this option, make sure that you use a balance transfer and not a cash advance. Cash advances have a ton of high interest fees (15-25%, depending on your credit card) and will only compound your debt problem.

                  How to Get Rid of Debt Forever

                  Setting up a plan, removing temptations, and getting the lowest interest rates is the first step to get out of debt.

                  1. Keep Monitoring and Adjusting

                  Once you have a plan, don’t get comfortable. Track your debt payoff plan and make the necessary adjustments when needed.

                  Monitor your credit scores with a free site like CreditKarma. The higher your credit score climbs, the more likely you will be to secure a new, lower-interest loan.

                  2. Earn More Money

                  There are only so many ways to save money. Instead of clipping another coupon or making sacrifices for your morning coffee, find ways to earn more money!

                  Think about it…it is much easier to find ways to earn an extra $1,000 per month than find $1,000 to cut from your budget.

                  Here are some examples of ways to earn more money:

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                  Talk to Your Boss

                  Have a conversation with your boss about current salary and/or commission rates. If you’re not satisfied or want a change, don’t be afraid to look around at other positions. Some of them might even have a student loan debt reimbursement plan!

                  Start a Side Hustle

                  This could be coaching students on the weekends, driving for Uber, or taking paid online surveys. There are tons of ways to make money outside your 9-5. Now that you have a clear plan to pay off your debts, you’ll be more motivated than ever to figure out creative new ways to earn money.

                  Build an Online Business

                  There are so many websites and blogs that earn money from ads, affiliates, and other online products. Find your niche and get started.

                  3. Celebrate Your Wins

                  As you progress in your debt payoff journey, don’t forget to celebrate your wins. You need to always reward yourself for the hard work and discipline that is required to get out of debt.

                  While you shouldn’t celebrate so big that it increases debt, make sure to factor in little rewards to keep you motivated.

                  4. Set New Financial Goals

                  Eventually, with a plan and these steps, you can rid yourself of your debt. Once you do, make sure to celebrate your monumental achievement, but don’t stop there.

                  Now, you can focus on acquiring wealth and increasing your net worth. Set new financial goals so you have a new target to aim toward. Here’s how to set financial goals and actually meet them.

                  These could be anything now that you are debt free! Think about where you want to travel, buying your first home, or saving for your future retirement. Just like before, make sure that your goals are specific, measurable, and achievable.

                  Conclusion

                  Congrats, you can now set a plan in motion to finally pay off your debt quickly (and hopefully forever)!

                  Remember, if you want to get out of debt quickly, it’s not always easy. Just like any big goal, there will be sacrifices, challenges, and problems to overcome.

                  More Tips on Getting out of Debt

                  Featured photo credit: Pepi Stojanovski via unsplash.com

                  Reference

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