Thursday, December 25, 2008

Learn a Skill

Tip #44 - Learn a Skill - A great way to save money is to learn a skill or several skills. Skills such as sewing, cooking, cutting hair, fixing, building, etc. can save you money. In these modern times, information is everywhere. And much of it is free. If you are willing to devote some time to learning a new skill, you should be able to do it on your own and with little or no cost. Want to learn how to sew? Get a book out of the library. Want to learn how to cut hair? Look on the Internet. There are instructional videos and written text on many subjects available for you to watch or read whenever you want.

By learning a skill, you can handle tasks yourself rather than pay someone to do it for you. Sewing a button or learning to hem are simple tasks. But if you need to pay someone to do it, you will pay several dollars each time. Cooking is another skill that is worthwhile to learn. If you can cook, then you will not be eating out - again saving much money in the meantime. Other useful skills that can save money is cutting hair. Fixing cars or plumbing are harder skills to learn, but if you know them, they would save you quite a bit of money. Now of course not everyone can learn some more difficult skills. But there are easy fixes you can learn that will still save you money down the road.

In Real Life (IRL) - My husband is very handy. He can fix almost everything. He can open a clothes dryer and figure out what is wrong. He can look inside a car hood and figure out what's wrong. Some of these are skills he learned when he was younger. Other things are innate, I know. He has a mind that works that way. He can figure out what is wrong even if he has never seen the item before. When we were engaged to be married, my family jokingly said to me, "You can't divorce him; we need someone handy in the family." My husband has saved us thousands of dollars over the years. He put up gutters when a contractor wanted a couple grand. He put up a porch using materials from Home Depot. He fixed our washing machine, installed our dishwasher, fixed our cars, installed toilets, and the list goes on.

My skills are not as great in comparison. But since we have been married, I have taught myself how to cook many more things. I can sew basic things like buttons. Although truth be known, my mother-in-law is as good as a professional seamstress, so most of our sewing needs go to her. I have taught myself how to cut my daughters' hair. I contemplated teaching myself piano so I could teach my daughter, but I ultimately gave in to piano lessons. I learned how to do our taxes so we do not need a professional.

Of course we still bring things to a professional when we cannot do them ourselves. An electrician wired our new bedroom because my husband did not want to screw that up. And we leave higher-order tasks to professionals such as the dentist and doctors. But in general, the more skills we can do ourselves, the more money we save.

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