Doing more things ourselves can help us save money! If you develop skills for managing your life better, it can lead to some savings.
On occasion, a magazine like Popular Mechanics runs an article on 100 Skills Every Man Should Know, which is nice for male readers who enjoy the magazine, but I’m starting to think about skills people of both genders can use to save money. Instead of outsourcing my money (or services that I have to pay for), sometimes it’s worth it to brush up on different skills, such as the following:
Image by Do It Yourself
Want To Save Money? Develop Skills For Managing Your Life!
Rather than spend $25 a week on eating out, my family can save up and invest in a new slow cooker and a few cookbooks for inspiration. I also used to buy high-priced snacks each time I wandered near a convenience store, but thanks to my trusty bread machine and oven, I can keep a stash of treats on hand. Try a recipe for yummy cake brownies and you’ll know what I mean.
A car is one of the most expensive things you’ll buy, but keeping one running doesn’t require a ton of money. You won’t need to figure out how to do the car repairs yourself, but learn how to check the oil and other fluids, change your windshield wipers, and check the air pressure of your tires and you’ll head off a lot of problems in the future. Don’t forget to clean out your car’s interior, too. You can load up on supplies at a store like Autogeek or the automotive department of a big box store for less than it would take to pay a mechanic or car detailer to do the work.
Whether you rent or own your home, you can find ways to pay less for your castle’s upkeep. Even if you have your plumber or maintenance man on speed dial, you can save a little aggravation by tackling small-scale problems yourself. For instance, by learning how to unclog drains yourself, you won’t have to pay the plumber an extra fee for an emergency visit.
You can also cut down on electricity and heating bills, and lower utility bills in general, by insulating your home, managing your thermostat, and learning other conservation skills.
I don’t have the mentality to keep up with a paper check register, so years ago, I switched to Quicken. Personal finance software like this one and Mint.com can help me by downloading the information straight from my bank (or I can type in entries myself). By monitoring my family’s bank accounts and credit cards in one place, I’m able to forego overdraft charges and I avoid paying late fees on our bills. I also keep an eye on my mortgage balance, too. Staring at the balance should give me the incentive to limit my shopping expeditions.
My computer is getting up there in dog years, but I won’t be buying a computer just yet. With the help of a maintenance program like CCleaner, I was able to dejunk my hard drive of almost a gigabyte of clutter. I also used it to fix registry problems that made my computer slow to load Windows and to get rid of cookies I didn’t need.
I’ve helped out another computer by taking a can of compressed air to it to clean out the dust that was making it run hot. At $4.99, it beats paying a tech support person the extra dollars. If your computer is acting up, search around online for a solution before you assume you need to upgrade your equipment. Also, it’s worth the trouble to learn how to back up your data with a portable hard drive or an online service. You won’t lose your pictures, music, and other files if you take measures now.
Taking Care of Your Clothes & Accessories
Buying the right clothes is one type of investment, while taking the effort to clean and care for your clothes the proper way will keep your wardrobe looking good. Lost a button? Don’t pay extra at the dry cleaning place for repairs because most buttons require little time to reattach. Likewise, I’ve learned how to hem pants and sew up minor rips. I still need to figure out the sewing machine lurking in the dining room, but it will be handy for future projects.
What else can you learn to do? Well, if you own jewelry, you can try to keep the sparkle on it with regular cleaning, and try to figure how best to store it so it doesn’t tangle or get lost. Same goes for taking care of your shoes and most things leather.
When my family and I finally went through the office supplies in my filing cabinet, we found that we had three dozen pens, envelopes in every size, and enough pencils for a platoon of fourth-graders. By organizing our belongings, we plan to avoid having to buy extra supplies month after month.
Now I’ll bet if I organize the kitchen cabinets, I’ll probably find out that I don’t need to buy pasta for a few weeks plus I’ll force myself to use that extra can of pineapple for a dessert. A quick review of the kitchen and pantry this way should help us save on our week’s grocery bill!
There are many more money-saving skills for managing our lives, just within our reach. What are some of your favorite ways to save money the DIY way?
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