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Ten (Plus Two) Skills to Help You Save Money

As I was thinking about my week, I realized that many of the everyday things I do have saved our family huge amounts of money.  My sisters and some friends do many of them, and I’m teaching them to my children, too.  However, a lot of people don’t seem to know how rewarding these skills can be, in terms of money as well as joy.

  1. Become a capable cook.  If you have a repertoire of quick meals, you won’t need to go out for ‘emergencies’.  If you know how to cook for a feast, you can entertain at home rather than at a restaurant, as some people do.  And if you can bake, make chocolates, prepare garnishes, and more, you’re all set to make gifts and to host gourmet parties at your own home.
  2. Learn contentment.  How often don’t people go shopping because they are not satisfied with the perfectly good clothes, décor, food, and entertainment that they already have?
  3. Learn to cut hair.  At 4-6 cuts a year per person, you can save a huge amount.  Although the first few tries are intimidating, it doesn’t take long to get used to a family member’s hair, especially if you have access to a mentor or a good haircutting book.  But remember, if hubby’s job depends on his appearance, then perhaps getting professional cut is a wise investment.
  4. Guard your health.  Very little is as costly—in terms of money, time, and energy—as illness.  Eat well, exercise regularly, relax adequately, spend time outside, sleep well, minimize stress, and be grateful.  Even ill people can greatly improve their lives and benefit their pocket books by following such rules.
  5. Learn to mend (and sew).  If you can deal with buttons, hems, tears along seams, and simple patches, you can extend the life of clothing for a long time.  If you can reinforce the edges of your towels when they begin to fray, you’ve added a year to their usefulness.  And if you can put together simple dresses, table cloths, costumes, and home décor, you can save so much while enjoying your creativity.
  6. Learn to shop wisely.  Learn about lists, price books, store brands, and quality. Understand advertising, sales, and what makes you succumb to impulse buys.  Know when to buy in bulk.  Understand when you should invest in quality and when you should just go for the cheapest price.
  7. Understand personal finance.  The library is full of resources such Mary Hunt’s 7 Money Rules for Life, Amy Dacyczyn’s  The Tightwad Gazette, books by Dave Ramsey, and more.  They will help you save money by learning about budgets, credit, debt, practical matters, and attitude.
  8. Choose your hobbies carefully.  Some are very expensive (collecting fancy dolls, sky-diving, shopping) but others, such as making chocolates, writing, or growing prize roses, may even pay back.
  9. Grow your own food.  Of course, there are both frugal and costly ways of going about it, but most people are able to add flavor and health to their table while saving money, even if they have very little space.
  10. Avoid perfectionism.  Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly at first.  Be willing to take risks and learn new things.

Two bonus skills that may not work for everyone but that can save thousands of dollars:

  1. Learn to preserve food.  Whether you garden or buy produce in season, being able to deal with a surplus by canning, drying, or freezing will stretch your food dollar immensely.
  2. Teach your kids music.  If you know music, you can easily teach your children for the first year or more of their music lessons, saving a lot of money.  What’s more your children can enjoy learning rather than being nagged (as seems to happen so often) because the lesson is tomorrow and they don’t know their pieces and don’t you know I’m paying good money for this?!

What skills would you add to the list?

For more tips, visit No Ordinary Blog Hop, Encourage One Another Wednesday, Women Living Well Wednesdays, Works For Me Wednesday , Raising Homemakers, Thrifty Thursday, and Frugal Friday.

13 Comments

  1. Very true indeed, esp the haircuts for us! …and food, but that was never an issue.

    Maybe set a budget could be added? We are just starting this.

    1. Annie Kate says:

      Yes, of course! Setting a budget is a vital part of it all. I should have included that one explicitly, although it is part of personal finance.

      In fact, I will add it to the post. Thanks for the suggestion.

      You can find out more about budgets and their importance if you read the books about personal finance mentioned above.

    1. Annie Kate says:

      You’re welcome! I love to be reminded every once in a while too!

  2. Jenn says:

    Yes, all things I am working towards, except the hair. My men have fired me. 🙁

    1. Annie Kate says:

      That is so funny! I keep on saying no one can fire me, but perhaps I can be fired from parts of my job.

      Oh well, now you’ll have more time to do other things. 🙂

  3. JoAnn says:

    That’s a good list. 🙂

    1. Annie Kate says:

      Thanks!

  4. There are a couple I need to work on! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Annie Kate says:

      You’re welcome! I think we all can always find ways to improve and things to work on. I hope it works for you!

  5. Love your list and have some work to do 🙂 I am into couponing and save lots of $$$$$ at the grocery store now that I clip and organize coupons, and use them! It’s been fun saving money this way! Thanks for sharing these great tips at NOBH! 🙂

    1. Annie Kate says:

      Good for you with the couponing! Serious couponing doesn’t work well in Canada, but we do use some coupons. Mostly we shop sales and use our pantry to store good buys.

  6. I think you covered the skill sets I would have listed. I also liked that you emphasized being intentional in how we do stuff.

    Just a funny story for you. I cut all the boys hair (4) in our family plus my husband’s. I cut his on last Sunday. When he went into work the next day, his boss asked if he had been to the “Barbara” chair. LOL

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