With soaring inflation and a recession still looming, it’s a smart move to save money however you can. After all, who knows what tomorrow will bring on the financial front? While you can do things such as automate your savings and cut back on unnecessary purchases, you can also learn some new skills that can save you money.
10 Skills That Can Save You Money
Here’s a look at 10 skills to help keep your spending in check.
1. Cutting Hair at Home
If you’re not a trained hairstylist, home haircuts are best restricted to trimming off split ends or maintaining a certain length — not trying to cut layers or changing the shape of your hair. However, if you can hone this skill, it can help you save hundreds of dollars each year. On average, women spend $228 per year on haircuts and coloring, while men spend $168.
Before you try out this skill, invest in a good pair of hair-cutting shears. Regular scissors don’t have sharp enough blades to make clean cuts.
2. Changing Your Vehicle’s Oil
You might be overpaying for oil changes. On average, a conventional oil change and filter will cost $35-$75. If you use synthetic oil, the cost will be between $65-$125. Keep in mind that a conventional oil change might be cheaper at your local oil change place, especially if it runs specials.
If you choose to DIY your oil change, you can expect to pay around $30 for five quarts of conventional oil and a filter. Synthetic oil will increase the cost to around $45. You’ll also need to invest in supplies to change oil, such as specialized wrenches and an oil pan. Plus, you’ll need to be able to safely dispose of the oil.
3. Smart Shopping
Smart shopping is about more than making a list to avoid impulse purchases. Instead, it’s combining various money-saving strategies to get the most bang for your buck. Some ideas include the following:
- Download a coupon extension.
- Use cash-back credit cards.
- Use a grocery price comparison app.
- Buy in bulk and split the cost with a family member or friend.
- Consider the Subscribe & Save feature on Amazon for repeat purchases.
- Plan meals around what’s on sale at the grocery store.
What Is the 30-Day Rule?
If you have a tendency to spend impulsively, try the 30-day rule. Here’s how it works:
When you see something you want to buy but don’t need, make yourself wait 30 days before deciding whether to purchase it or not. You can also transfer the amount of money it would cost to buy the item from your checking account to your savings account. That way, if you decide to purchase the item after the 30-day waiting period, the money is in reserve. If not, it can stay in your savings account.
Bartering is exchanging goods or services with someone else — no money involved. It’s a skill that’s become more popular since the pandemic and can help you gain access to goods or services without taking a bite out of your budget. For example, you might be able to barter your carpentry skills for a discount on your rent if the property is in need of some repairs or improvements. Or if you garden, you might be able to barter some of your produce for someone else’s farm-fresh eggs.
When bartering, you’ll need to set a value for the good or service you are offering.
If you’re bartering for services, it’s also wise to have a contract. This would detail the value of the service, what it entails and when it will be delivered to help avoid conflict. Print two copies; both you and the other party should sign and date each contract.
The index for fresh vegetables rose 7% in 2022, according to the Consumer Price Index. If you have an area of your yard or property with full sun and well-draining soil that’s close to water, planting a vegetable garden could help you save. Visit your local county extension office for information about gardening in your area, including what seeds to plant and when.
Gardening and canning skills work well together because if you plant a big garden, you might have a ton of produce that will go bad before you can eat it all. The solution is to can the extra vegetables so that you can enjoy them throughout the year. You can also make pickles, relishes, jams and jellies.
Home canning is not a difficult skill to learn. However, you’ll want to use tried-and-true canning recipes and take the proper safety precautions to avoid botulism.
It is possible to save money sewing your own clothes. You can save the most by using discount fabrics and simple patterns without zippers or buttons. Depending on your skill level, it might be cheaper to buy ready-made clothing.
A better way to save money using sewing skills is to repair or alter your clothing, so you don’t have to buy new items as frequently.
For example, if you have children, you can alter their clothing to last longer. Pants and long-sleeved shirts from the winter can be cut and hemmed to make shorts and short-sleeved shirts for summer. You can also hem or alter clothing that isn’t quite the right fit but that you acquired for free or cheap on sale or at a thrift store.
If your meals consist of takeout or eating premade meals at the grocery store, gaining some cooking skills can help you save. According to CNET, by cooking at home, you can save 50% off the price of carryout and 75% if you have food delivered.
Your local community center might offer cooking classes or you can find all kinds of videos on YouTube. Other helpful options include online recipes or cooking shows.
If you tend to buy a lot of baked goods every week, such as bread and pastries, learning how to bake could save you some serious dough. The same holds true if you often purchase baked goods to take to work or donate to your child’s school.
To save further, stock up on shelf-stable baking staples when they’re on sale, such as flour and sugar. Also, consider buying ingredients from the bulk bins at the grocery store, such as rolled oats and flax seeds. Buying this way should be cheaper than buying prepackaged ingredients.
While major plumbing issues are best left to the professionals, there are several DIY plumbing jobs that you can accomplish with just a little know-how. You can easily learn to stop a running toilet, unclog a drain or repair a kitchen faucet. These are skills well-worth knowing considering that plumbers charge an average of $45-$200 per hour.
Learning New Skills Can Help You Save Money
With just a little bit of effort, you can learn skills that can save you money, such as cooking, sewing, cutting your family’s hair or changing the oil in your car. Most of these skills don’t have a huge learning curve — they’re essentially life hacks to help you save. However, if you get stuck and need help, watch some videos on YouTube or ask a friend or family member who already uses the skill.
FAQHere are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding skills that can save you money.
- What skills do I need to save money?
- Skills that can save you money can be simple things like cutting your hair at home or sewing. These are things that you can pick up right away or learn by watching a YouTube video or two.
- What are 10 things you can do to save money?
- Here are 10 ways you can save money:
- Cut your hair at home
- Do your own oil changes
- Use coupons and avoid impulse purchases when shopping
- Barter when you can
- Grow vegetables
- Can your fresh produce
- Sew or alter clothes
- Cook at home
- Make bread and pastries from scratch
- Fix simple plumbing issues yourself
- Here are 10 ways you can save money:
- What skills are needed to save money?
- Some skills that can save you money are baking, cooking, plumbing and gardening.
Information is accurate as of May 30, 2023.
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- Forbes. 2023. "How Much Does Plumbing Repair Cost In 2023?"
- CNET. 2023. "How Much Cheaper Is Cooking at Home Than Takeout? We Do the Math."
- SavingAdvice.com. 2022. "4 Ways I Save Money By Canning."
- U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2023. "Food Price Outlook."
- Money. 2021. "Old-Fashioned Bartering Is Back. Here's a Guide to Smart Swapping."
- Advanced Dermatology. "Study: How Much Americans Spend on Their Looks."
- Sewing Parts Online. "SEWING TO SAVE: HOW TO USE YOUR SEWING SKILLS TO SAVE MONEY."
- Kelley Blue Book. "Oil Change Prices."
- Iowa State University. "Can a Vegetable Garden Save You Money?"
- Seamwork. 2022. "Is it Cheaper to Sew Your Own Clothes?"
- Allure. 2022. "How to Cut Your Hair at Home When You Can't Go to a Salon."
- Chime. 2022. "What is the 30 Day Savings Rule?"