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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 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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