What if you never had to call the handyman again? How much money would you save throughout your life? These 12 skills may save you a modest fortune. After all, saving money is the most obvious “why” in DIY.
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Few people have the spare time to become the Dollar Store Warren Buffett. However, the bar for financial literacy is not especially high in the United States.
The average American adult owes about $22,000 in debt, and shrewd investing is one of the surest ways to escape a financial hole. If you learn about IRAs, index funds, and high-yield savings accounts, you can make the financial gains you’ve been missing.
2. Doing Your Taxes
Unless you’re blessed with a CPA auntie who does your taxes in exchange for an annual bouquet of roses, you may pinch some extra pennies by breaking out TurboTax.
A reported 34% of Americans like or love doing their taxes. These people aren’t psychopaths who truly enjoy filling out tax forms—they like saving money.
3. Cutting Hair
Cutting hair could become a profitable side hustle even if you are single and childless. If you have kids, learning to cut hair could shrink your family’s haircut budget to zero (excluding the wife, we’re guessing).
Have a maid? Unless you constantly work (and make more per hour than you pay the maid), you may save lots of money by breaking out the 409 and doing your best impersonation of Mr. Clean.
Efficient, habitual cleaning is a skill that develops over time.
5. Pet Grooming
Do you know how to express your dog’s glands? Are you willing and able to trim your kitty’s claws? Or do you pay the veterinarian and groomer to do everything aside from feeding and walking Fido?
You may be capable of more animal grooming tasks than you realize. Considering the bill you receive every time you visit the groomer, DIY pet care is the frugal option. Plus, your pup will appreciate the extra effort from their best friend (you).
6. Growing Fruits and Vegetables
If you buy something at the store, ask yourself whether you can grow it in your home’s climate. The initial investment in soil, trellises, and hoes will set you back a bit. However, plants are truly the gift that keeps on giving.
Plus, gardening can double as stress relief—and not just because you’re spending less money each week at the grocery store.
Cooking may be the most financially liberating skill of all. It’s a talent you can use daily, channel into a wide range of cuisines, and even parlay into several money-making ventures.
You probably won’t ever become Gordon Ramsay, but why can’t you make food that’s just as delicious (and far more affordable) as the local Italian restaurant or fried chicken chain?
You can learn anything on YouTube, including how to snake a drain. There are also online plumbing programs if you want to learn about P-traps and downspouts the legitimate way.
Even a modest understanding of plumbing could save you thousands of dollars throughout your toilet-clogging life.
9. Rather Than Hiring a Mechanic, Become a Me-chanic
Don’t invest in a car lift quite yet. However, knowing auto care basics, including adding wiper fluid, changing headlight and brake light bulbs, and swapping out a battery, can spare you unnecessary trips to the mechanic.
10. Home Maintenance
Clearing gutters. Placing a bead of silicone. Installing a door jamb. Applying a coat of weather-resistant paint. These are the sorts of basic home maintenance tasks that will help preserve your home’s value as well as spare you shock-inducing energy bills, leaks, and other costly hazards.
11. Raising a Flock
You will have to check with your Homeowners Association, but raising chickens provides a cheap source of protein. That protein comes in the form of eggs and… well, chicken. Supplementing chicken feed with a grass-heavy diet will minimize your overhead and maximize your savings.
12. Be Like Ron Swanson
Rather than spending more than $100 on a reclaimed wood table, what if you could make it yourself? A modest investment in an orbital sander and a couple of saws goes a long way.
You’ll be building your own tables, desks, and other wood creations quicker than you can say “sawdust.”
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This thread inspired this post.
I’m John Schmoll, a former stockbroker, MBA-grad, published finance writer, and founder of Frugal Rules.
As a veteran of the financial services industry, I’ve worked as a mutual fund administrator, banker, and stockbroker and was Series 7 and 63-licensed, but I left all that behind in 2012 to help people learn how to manage their money.
My goal is to help you gain the knowledge you need to become financially independent with personally-tested financial tools and money-saving solutions.