Remember when we were in grade school and high school and we were told if we studied hard and got good grades we’d be successful after we graduated? That was before schools started removing vocational skills classes (home economics, auto shop, etc.) from their program and technology crept in.
Sure, young adults are comfortable being honest and open and vocal on social media, but growing up being fixated on a smartphone or tablet screen has erased their skills for small talk, basic self-care skills, and finances.
What does any of this have to do with saving money? Everything! Think about how much money you spend on eating out, at the garage, at the emergency room, and trying to get more money by getting hired for good jobs? You could be saving so much by doing many things yourself.
Now onto the list of 7 life skills to learn to save money:
An average of 56% of Americans don’t have a budget. That means over half of us don’t know what’s happening with our money. When we don’t know how much is coming in or going out – our debts grow.
People aged 25 to 34 have an average of $42,000 of debt – most of that is credit card debt. Too often these folks treated their credit card like magic money and misusing the credit card leads to borrowing more than you can afford to repay, which leads to late fees and charged a penalty interest rate.
Missed or late payments then leads to damaging your credit score, which will lead to difficulty in getting a loan or new line of credit in the future.
A healthy financial system needs to be established in order to survive in the future as well as saving money now. Learn how to budget, pay down debt, increase savings, and invest and you will start saving money monthly as you manage every dollar as well as get your debts under control.
Soon you will have more money as less is going out to debts and unnecessary purchases, and finally your financial future will be secure with savings and retirement investments.
About 28% of young Americans have admitted they don’t know how to cook, that’s a third of them! Instead, they eat out, order delivery, and buy packaged meals.
Doesn’t seem like a big deal until you understand that we spend an average of $3,000 per year eating out and delivery, and an average of $720 a year on pre-made meals. A total of $3,700 could be cut drastically by learning how to cook for ourselves.
Learning some cooking skills such as how to read a recipe, measuring out portions, knife skills, cleaning and storing your fruit and vegetables, making easy breakfasts, sandwiches, and filling meals will go a long way to saving you money.
Keep adding to your skills to make bigger dishes and someday you’ll be able to prepare a whole Thanksgiving meal on your own.
Another money saver for learning to cook – take your leftovers to work for lunches and you’ll save $100 a month.
3. Medical Care & First Aid
Did you know that 71% of all Emergency room visits are unnecessary or avoidable?
Learning basic medical care will go a long way in taking care of yourself and your family. Learning how to take care of yourself during cold and flu season and knowing which OTC medications work helps you to get healthy faster.
Think about it, if you had a simple cold and you went to the emergency room or walk-in clinic, your chances of picking up something worse (pneumonia, bronchitis, etc.) increases.
How much are you spending for these emergency room visits? Approximately $1,316, compared to the average office visit cost of $145. You’re spending $1,200 more than you really should be if you knew basic medical care, waited out that cold, or waited until your regular doctor was available.
4. Car Care
Keeping your car well maintained keeps it running smoothly will help it last longer as well as avoids any serious car repairs down the road. Of course, the costs of this maintenance depend on your car’s model and its age.
But did you know most Millennial drivers don’t know how to check their tire pressure or change the oil, let alone know how to check their oil level? Learning some basic car maintenance can save you anywhere from $500 to $3,000 a year!
Here’s the average costs of some services:
- Oil & Filter Change – $20 – $100
- Wiper Blade Replacement – $7 – $15
- Tire Rotation – $20 – $50
- New Tires Service – $50 – $300 per tire
- Brake Pad Replacement – $100 – $350
This doesn’t count the materials though, that would be extra. I know I listed some complicated skills like changing the brake pads, but a few generations ago, young adults knew how to maintain almost every part of their car.
Another lacking car skill is being able to change a flat tire. If you know how to change a flat, you can avoid a $6 to $20 fee for a tow truck to change it for you.
If you don’t even know what a “spare” is it’ll cost you about $50 plus $2.50 to $7.00 per mile for towing. (These fees are only if your car insurance does not cover roadside assistance).
Bonus Tip: Take your car to an independent garage and mechanic (ask your family and friends for recommendations), rather than to the car dealership. You will save tons more money as well as receiving a more flexible repair schedule and sometimes shorter wait times.
No, you don’t need to learn how to sew whole outfits, but you can save money learning simple sewing skills instead of going to a shop.
Sewing skills such as sewing on a button, sewing a hem, adjusting a waistband, and repairing torn seams is a good start. Here’s how much it can cost at an alterations shop:
- Sewing on a button – $5 to $15 per button
- Shorten sleeves on a dress shirt – about $28
- Take in a dress shirt – about $20
- Adjust the shoulders of a Jacket – about $73
- Hem a dress skirt – $14
- Hem a pair of Jeans or pants – $10
We all have some clothes that don’t fit perfectly, so getting these alterations done for every outfit we buy can get costly. Can you imagine spending an extra $48 every time you bought a new dress shirt?
As for sewing whole outfits for ourselves, it’s much cheaper going to discount stores and consignment shops than sewing whole articles of clothing and outfits.
Another way to save money with your sewing skills is by sewing gifts for everyone. I think it’s more sentimental and personal receiving homemade gifts instead of store-bought ones.
6. Home Repair
It’s true that millennials are waiting until much later to buy their own houses than previous generations and this is due partly to rising housing prices as well as their mentality of buying experiences and not things – traveling, being more nomadic, and working from home instead of in an office.
But when they do decide to buy a home, their home maintenance and repair experience is minimal.
There was a survey asking millennials about their knowledge of home maintenance, the top 5 skills that they didn’t know were:
- Knowing how to unclog a sink
- Clearing the roof gutters
- Changing the HVAC filter
- Patching a window screen
- Fixing a running or clogged toilet
Those who don’t know these skills are spending a lot of money calling service technicians to do it, or are ending up with costly repairs for not attending to the problem. How much can it cost?
- Plumber – $45 to $200 per hour
- HVAC Technician – $50 – $70 per hour
- Handyman – $60 to $65 per hour
As you can guess, it can get pretty costly to call a technician every time an issue happens right? Maintaining the home on your own will save you so much money.
7. Soft Skills
Many Millennials don’t even know the basic skills of interaction and critical thinking that can get them ahead in the job force and life in general.
Such soft skills like:
- Focus & Self-Control – Paying attention, following the rules, being flexible, and using self-control in a variety of situations.
- Learning Other’s Perspectives – Learning how others see and feel things, empathy, and compassion.
- Communication – How to say things effectively, and recognizing what we say can impact others.
- Making Connections – Making connections between things is the core of learning and creativity. It’s the difference between “knowing” information and “applying” the information effectively.
- Critical Thinking – Critical thinking is seeking valid and reliable information supporting their beliefs, decisions, behaviors, and actions.
- Accepting Challenges – Those who are more open to accepting and facing challenges are more successful and less stressed than those who avoid them.
- Continuous Learning – Those who seek out more self-learning, new challenges and adapt to an ever-changing society, survive the longest – in work, relationships, and life.
These people need to realize that they’re not the center of the universe and that people around them have a different perspective than they do – bosses with rules, partners with different interests and attitudes, and so on.
These soft skills will go a long way to getting better jobs (more money), having more influence (more opportunities), and overall more happiness.
The gist of this article is – the more you can do for yourself, the more you’ll save. When you pass a job to someone else, you’re also passing them your hard-earned money.
Keep learning and improving your skills to maximize your money saving opportunities. For example improve on these 7 skills by:
- Learn more investment skills for maximum returns on your money.
- Learn gardening and canning to grow and preserve your own food.
- Broaden your medical skills some more, camping survival skills, etc.
- Add more car maintenance skills – change spark plugs, belts, etc.
- Attempt more challenging sewing patterns – bed spreads, curtains, etc.
- Try a home renovation project
- Learn more management skills, sales skills, interpersonal skills
Besides, think of all the satisfaction and pride you’ll feel on a job well done.
Start small, and grow from there and your bank account will follow suit.