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Save Money: Upgrade Yourself

Save Money: Upgrade Yourself

upgradeyourself

    Gadgets and tools promise to make our lives better and easier, but the best upgrade we can make is to ourselves. It has very, very low cost, but tremendous bang for the buck.

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    Learn Keyboard Shortcuts

    What program do you use every single day? What do you spend your days living inside on your computer? Is it Microsoft Word or Excel? How about Photoshop and Illustrator? Do yo know how much more quickly you could process your email if you knew the shortcuts?

    Start looking at those menus you keep moving your mouse up to every day: Learn Ctrl + X, Ctrl + C, Ctrl + V. Now you can cut, copy and paste like a champ. Next up, learn Ctrl + S—it saves your work. Saving your work should be second nature, instead of something you need to think about.

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    Teach Yourself New Skills

    There’s a mountain of free or cheap resources out there to learn anything you’d like to learn. Are you interested in academic courses from computer programming to literature or history? Check out iTunes U through the software. MIT has a vast array of Open Courseware that is freely accessible.

    Lynda.com has a huge library on classes from Accounting to Writing. (Sorry, there was nothing under Z.) For 7 days, you can get a free preview of the site and decide whether you’d like to sign up and learn more.

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    Never have there been so many resources so available to us. No matter what your interest is, there is a place online where you can learn more about it. Knowledge is available to nearly everyone who seeks it.

    Become an Expert

    Pick a topic you enjoy or you feel is being underserved and become an expert at it. This is particularly helpful at work when you can pick a niche and shine: become the go-to person for that on your team or in your office. Becoming that expert will make you more valuable, and will give you something to focus on and enjoy about your work. Even if you don’t love what you do, you can really shine in something and that can lead to bigger and better things.

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    Soft Skills

    Practice your soft skills. What is a soft skill? It’s a skill that’s harder to quantify, such as communication, “people skills,” and customer service. The last on that list is one of the best soft skills you can improve, which will help you no matter what your profession is.

    Customer service is the currency of the internet, so working with people and leaving them delighted is the best thing you can do for yourself and your company.

    Small Annoyances

    Think for a moment: what really annoys you every day? What small annoyance do you put up with on a daily basis? Look up a way to fix it and do so. Open your browser and pull up your favorite search engine. Type in your annoyance and look for someone who had a fix for it—there is always a fix. By fixing something that bothers you, you’ve made your life better and improved yourself.

    Find your Blind spot

    Just as when you’re driving and you can’t see cars in certain places, every person has a blind spot as well. We all have our weaknesses: try finding your weakness so you can make it stronger. If you’re not sure what to work on, ask a friend or trusted colleague; they’ll tell you without being cruel. Once you find your weakness you can work to improve it. You don’t have to make it a strength, but you can make it less of a weakness, and that’s the secret to upgrading yourself: to make your weaknesses a little less weak. Make your strengths a little stronger.

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    Published on November 11, 2020

    10 Best Ways to Save Money Faster and Smarter

    10 Best Ways to Save Money Faster and Smarter

    People love to talk about budgeting, reducing spending. and investing. But unfortunately, talk is cheap, and poor money management is expensive. It’s easy to talk about the best way to save money, but putting it into practice is a different thing.

    What people need to talk about is the practical and efficient ways you can quickly save money to accomplish your goals. After all, they don’t teach this stuff in school.

    Here are the 10 best ways to save money faster and smarter.

    1. Cancel All Your Subscriptions

    Yes, all of them.

    Okay, you can keep your wifi and trash. But other than that, cancel all your monthly subscriptions for one month. You will survive, I promise. Better yet, you will realize you won’t miss all of them.

    Now that you have had 30 days to examine what you really missed and what you never thought twice about, you can add some of them back in. The others? you never have to think about them again.

    This is something you can and should do with every part of your life. If it’s clutter, cancel it. Being able to step back and see what is cluttering your life and what is excelling your forward helps improve your quality of life and financial standing.

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    2. Automate Savings From Your Paycheck

    Many of us are so excited about getting a new job that we rush through the paperwork during the hiring process. Good news for you, I have had lots of jobs so I have seen it a million times.

    There is an option for a portion of your paycheck to go directly into a secondary savings account. This is by far the most effective way to save money every month. We tend to spend most of what we have. So, if we take it off the top first, then it’s less likely to be spent. Just head over to HR and ask. It will only take two minutes.

    3. Cancel the Happy Hours for the Rest of the Pandemic

    We are in the middle of a global pandemic, which means that there is no better time to buy some drinks from the local store and stop shelling out $5 a drink at the local cocktail bar. When we look back at our bank statements, we are always shocked that fast food and alcohol can add up so quickly. You can easily save a couple of hundred dollars just by taking this step.

    A great exercise is to print out your last bank statement and highlight all the areas of alcohol and fast food. The amount may surprise you and make you think twice about that old fashion.

    4. Online Grocery Shopping

    Some people think online shopping increases the amount they spend. For the most part, I would agree—except for this category.

    Online grocery shopping is now a no-brainer, though. Whenever you walk through a grocery store, two things always happen: you always grab impulse items, and you never know the total of your cart until you checkout. This means that we always spend more than we originally planned.

    With online shopping, you can see your total as you add items to your cart. You are way less inclined to make those impulse purchases and because of that, I would venture to say that you could even pay to have them delivered to your door and still save money each month by choosing online grocery shopping.

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    5. Get a Famzoo Debit Card

    This is something my wife and I swear by, and it’s great for the entire family! Famzoo strictly exists to help families and kids budget their money better. Each month, my wife and I have an allotted amount loaded onto our pre-paid Famzoo debit card. This amount has changed every year depending on promotions, kids, stage of life, etc.

    The important part is that when you give yourself the freedom to spend a certain amount, you are more likely to only spend the allotted amount. Think of it as a diet. If you are counting calories, you are more likely to stick close to the amount you set. You can also look for some tips online to better stick to your family budget.

    6. Purge

    This is actually my favorite to do, and it is actually one of the best ways to save money. Raise your hand if you have ever moved. Okay, so everyone.

    When we move, we are always amazed at how much junk we have acquired. I have found that about every 6 months, I can find a couple of boxes to sell online of things that we never use. This not only gives you so extra quick cash, but it also keeps your house more tidy and organized.

    Now, go clean out that garage!

    7. Amazon Subscribe and Save

    32! That is how many items I have setup on amazon subscribe and save. Let me explain.

    This sounds expensive, I know. But it actually saves us hundreds of dollars per year! We all need toothpaste, shampoo, razors, laundry detergent, toilet paper right? This feature is truly a triple threat. When you have more than 5 items on subscribe and save, you automatically unlock the max savings for every product on your list. This can be up to 20% per item!

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    Now, even better is that it ships straight to your door on the exact day you want the item, maybe monthly or maybe you only need it every 4 months. This way, you never have too much or never run out. Either way, it’s totally customizable.

    Lastly, there is no contract for any items, which means you can switch brands or items at any given time at no cost. My advice: every single staple item should be on your subscribe and save.

    8. Rewards

    This may ruffle some feathers, but if you are using your debit card for purchases, you are missing out on free money! We have this notion that credit cards are evil but in reality, they are the same piece of plastic as your debit card.

    How you use it can be bad, don’t get me wrong. But if you want my opinion though, ditch the debit card and get a rewards credit card. Use it just like you would your debit card and make sure to pay it off as soon as the statement comes in!

    Just to give you an idea of how powerful this can be in terms of money, here are some things that our miles have paid for:

    • 4 nights in Vail with Flight
    • Rental car in Vail (convertible might I add)
    • Flight to Ireland
    • Flight to Hawaii
    • Multiple staycations at very nice Hotels

    That’s roughly about 7 thousand dollars in travel expenses so far! Remember that the credit card is just a tool and can be one that benefits you if you use it wisely. Ironically, this can be an effective way to save money.

    Pro tip: If you don’t trust yourself carrying around a credit card, then set up all your monthly bills with your credit and leave it in a drawer at home. This way, you rack up miles but don’t get tempted to overspend.

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    9. Vacation With Friends

    Now, I know travel is hard right now but what a perfect time to go grab an Airbnb in the woods with a couple of friends and detox from the world right now!

    Vacationing alone can be pricey and get rather boring quickly, but if you split lodging and set out for a road trip, it can become affordable quickly! For a couple of hundred bucks apiece, you can have one of the most relaxing vacations ever. Don’t forget to pick up your food at the local grocery store to avoid eating out every meal!

    10. Make a Budget

    When is the last time you updated your budget or made one for that matter? Making a budget is like writing down your goals. If you don’t make a budget, then you will struggle to save.

    How can you know if you are spending wisely if you are not tracking everything?

    Our advice would be to get a finance app like Mint, Every dollar, or personal capital. All these apps are free and do a tremendous job of tracking spending and budgeting. I still am old-school and have an excel spreadsheet which I do highly recommend.

    Work Smarter, Not Harder

    The entire goal is to boost your bank account while reducing the effort required. Efficiency is the name of the game, and automation is the key player. Luckily, we live in a world that has more perks than we can ever take advantage of. But if I were to choose a few, it would be the ones above.

    Taking on all 10 of these steps may seem a little daunting. You can first try to pick three of your favorite and start there. Saving money doesn’t have to be a chore as long. As we use the tools correctly, it can be quite effortless. And now, you have a great blueprint to get started!

    More Tips on Saving Money

    Featured photo credit: Sharon McCutcheon via unsplash.com

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