It’s no news that some people are better at saving money than others. The reasons why some of our savings accounts multiply exponentially while others struggle to gain a dollar a day are varied. Personality type, habit, upbringing, discipline, and income are all factors in a person’s saving potential, but some money-saving ability also comes from the skills you possess. Certain skills (most of which can be taught) are highly valuable to those people who are serious about saving money. Here are five:
Money Management – People who can manage their own money well can save more. This statement sounds redundant, but it’s not: if you work with your own accounts, you are better able to understand exactly how much money you have and how you’re spending it, which helps you know where to cut down on spending to save more. Strong money management skills also help you make sound investment decisions and save on fees for accountants, brokers, and financial advisers.
Cooking – I hate that I am a lousy cook. I know that if I enjoyed cooking and had the skills necessary to make tasty, healthy, and creative meals for my family, we would be able to save money by not going out to eat as frequently. I would also be able to spend less on ingredients if I could cook from scratch (rather than relying on boxed mixes and such) and would be able to combine leftovers into fresh and interesting meals so that they don’t die a slow death in the refrigerator.
Auto Repair – People who know something about auto mechanics can save money on labor when their cars needs to be fixed (or at least know for sure whether their cars really needs the repairs the auto shop recommends). They can also be more confident about buying used cars, being able to spot major problems before they buy and knowing that they can make most future repairs for the cost of the parts.
Grocery Shopping – Yes, anyone can go grocery shopping (except maybe celebrities), but those who know how to shop well can save a lot on groceries. A skilled grocery shopper will know (either from memory or from a detailed price book) where the best regular prices are on items they regularly buy, where the week’s sales are, what coupons they can combine with the sales, what size of each product has the best unit price, and whether each purchase is the best value for his or her family.
Home Improvement/Maintenance – Much like auto repair, this skill can save you the cost of labor for both big and small projects around the home. Home improvement skills also open up some additional money-making opportunities – renting properties and house flipping, for example.
You might wonder why I don’t include sewing skills on this list, as the image of a frugal person often includes a well-used sewing machine and handmade clothing. While sewing is a useful skill to have (you can buy clothes from discount racks that need minor repairs, and you can alter clothing patterns to fit yourself better), the cost of fabric is so high that it’s often less expensive to buy clothes already made.
We all have skills we can use to make money, but you may not have considered how you can use the skills you have to save money. Take some time to consider what skills you have now (or plan to acquire) and how you can use them to save more.
Image courtesy of Epicurious Eliane