If you’re on a tight budget, learning some money saving skills might help you cut costs. Paying for services can be expensive, and there are plenty of skills that are not only simple to learn but can pay dividends in the future. That said, here are a few skills that can help you save money this year.

Cooking

It’s typical for the average American to eat out at least twice a week if not multiple times every day of the week. Learning to cook is one of the best ways to save money. Not only that, but you can teach yourself a fun new skill and eat healthier on a daily basis.

It’s hard to eliminate eating out completely, especially if you do it often. But, by allowing yourself a few cheat days a month, you can make dining out a treat while staying fiscally responsible. When you do treat yourself and decide to dine out, you may want to leverage couponing to keep the cost down and try a new restaurant or two.

Sewing

A tear in your favorite pair of pants means one of two things: either you are going to throw them out and buy a new pair or spend a pretty penny trying to get them professionally tailored. Either option can be expensive.

A tailor typically costs about $20 to $30 or more if you splurge at a nicer location. Even if you have a handful of things tailored each year, it can cost hundreds of dollars a year to keep your items in good shape. The money you spend on tailoring can add up on an annual basis.

By learning to sew, you can keep wearing your favorite pair of jeans after they rip rather than having to purchase a new pair or spend money on a tailor. Learning to sew is a win-win, especially if you have family members that you can sew for as well.

Couponing

Couponing is a simple money saving skill that can help you cut spending on items you need to purchase. Before making a large purchase, you may want to search online using websites such as Coupon Chief to see if there are deals that you can take advantage of.

You can also look in local ads or on merchant websites to see if they have coupons available for items you’re planning to buy. If you’re planning to attend an event that requires a gift, such as a birthday party or a romantic date, you can use sites such as Coupon Chief to find discounts on one-time purchases.

Deal Hunting

Deal hunting is like couponing, but distinctly different as you search online for the best deals by leveraging multiple stores and websites. When you deal hunt, you should aim to compare at least three different sites to see which have the best prices. There are also deal-hunting sites that allow you to compare pricing in one place so you can save time by not having to do the searching yourself.

Deal hunting may also mean using platforms such as Facebook Marketplace to search for great deals on products like furniture or lawn equipment. This allows you to search for deals in your area, and it makes negotiating easier because items sold on Facebook Marketplace are generally items that a buyer is looking to get rid of immediately.

Walking

How much time do you spend driving during the week? Walking is an easy alternative that we don’t always consider. By walking we cut out the expense of gas, eliminate air pollution, and gain the advantage of getting some light exercise.

Depending on your situation and location, public transit may be a better alternative to walking but a cheaper option than driving. Certain cities, such as Chicago, apply surcharges to using a vehicle because of air pollution. This makes it even more expensive to use a vehicle and makes public transportation a significantly better option.  However, if you want to get your steps in it might be worth it to skip the bus and take the scenic route.

Negotiating

Many of us have been to bargain stores or other thrift-based stores to try to find a great deal. Did you know that many of those stores allow negotiating?

Thrift stores try to rotate inventory. This means that with some mom and pop shops, products that sit on the shelves for too long take up valuable space. If an item is not as in-demand as they originally hoped, they are incentivized to sell it to make room for new items. This makes store owners eager to take a lower offer, and you can get a deal on the item. 

If you’re thrift shopping at a store near you, you might be a regular customer. If that’s the case, the shop owner will also know you are someone willing to make a deal and will be more inclined to negotiate with you in the future to keep your continued business. Keep in mind, you can also negotiate your salary, services, and more. Don’t be afraid to ask. You never know when you might be able to save a dollar or earn a greater living.

Grooming

When you think of grooming, you may think of dog grooming before anything else. If you have a pet, you may want to learn how to groom them to save on the expense of taking them to the groomer every couple of weeks. There are plenty of YouTube videos and other online training tools to help you learn to cut and style your furry friend’s mane.

Grooming can also apply to people. Women tend to spend a lot more on their hair than men do. Between styling, dying, and getting a cut, you might spend a small fortune to maintain your stylish hairdo. Depending on how much you spend on your hair, learning to do it yourself could cut down your personal care budget. If you and a partner are spending between $40-$60 every few months simply for haircuts, you could learn to cut each other’s hair and save nearly $500 per year just on haircuts.

The Bottom Line

There are plenty of money saving skills that you can learn how to do yourself. Learning to do certain tasks could save you thousands of dollars over time and give you alternatives to something that was typically a wallet-drainer.

Finally, if you cannot cut an expense entirely, be sure to leverage online resources to keep your expenses to a minimum. You can use coupons and other deal-finding websites to help you get the best price on any product, and you can use websites like YouTube to learn new skills.

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