When it comes to getting your personal finances in order, look for services you pay others to do that you can do yourself.
People pay for these services for a number of reasons. Some think they lack the experience and skill to perform the task. But many times it's a matter of convenience. It's time to drop the excuses: The reality is that people can do many of their chores on their own.
If a lack of confidence is your problem, educate yourself for little or no money with do-it-yourself books and videos from the library, and visit free Web sites with DIY tips and tricks to get you going. The biggest obstacles will be changing your habits and setting aside a little extra time, but once you have accepted these cores into your routine, they shouldn't take a lot of extra effort, and you'll be richer for it.
An investment in a good cookbook and some time to experiment in the kitchen will pay for itself many times over. Knowing how to cook food that you enjoy limits the likelihood that you'll spend money on eating out or buying expensive prepackaged meals. And cooking in bulk so that you can use the meals several times during the month is a great way to slash huge amounts off your food costs.
This do-it-yourself task seems easier for men to accept than women, but both sexes can do it. If you don't have confidence in cutting your own hair, the first thing to do is get a easy-to-manage, low-maintenance cut.
With most chain haircut outlets charging $15 or more plus tip and most private salons charging a lot more, it only takes a single cut to pay for a clipper set and scissors. After a few times doing it on your own, you'll wonder why you ever spent as much as you did on your hair.
Taking your weekly work clothes to the dry cleaners can put you back $50 a month even at the cheapest places. Cleaning them yourself needn't take much extra time or effort. Simply put your clothes in the wash and
. Add in some basic mending and repair skills for clothes, and you can save a bundle by making them last longer as well.
Pets can get pretty expensive, especially when you rely on others to do basic grooming like washing, brushing teeth and cutting nails. When you consider a basic shampoo and nail clip will put you back about $25, it doesn't take long for your do-it-yourself grooming skills to pay for themselves. In addition, doing basic grooming on your pets should keep them healthier and give you a better chance of spotting a medical problem early, which could save you a lot in vet bills.
The financial benefits of a clean and orderly house go beyond the $25 an hour or more you can expect to pay from a typical professional house cleaner. A clean and organized house also helps you save money by making it easier to find items instead of just
Even big seasonal cleaning projects like carpets, drapes and windows can be done fairly easily on your own. The best part is that once you have the house clean and organized, it should only take a small amount of time to keep it that way each week.
Whether you hire the kid down the street or a professional yard service, paying for even basic yard care can set you back a pretty penny. You do need to devote an hour or two to make sure that the basics get done, but you should save $100 or more per month over paying someone else to do the job.
Basic car maintenance:
Not only will basic car maintenance ensure that you car has a longer life, it will also help save you money while operating it on a daily basis. Making sure the tires are properly inflated, that the oil is changed as recommended by the car manual and that filters are clean will mean that you spend less on gas while keeping your car in overall better shape. It can also mean you avoid an accident that can occur due to car maintenance neglect that is incalculable in the savings it provides.
Basic home maintenance:
Knowing how to do basic home maintenance will ensure that you don't have to pay a handyman to come in and fix every problem that crops up and that you have less costs since basic home maintenance is taken care of before it becomes something bigger.
Simple things like knowing how to fix a leaky faucet, remove clogged drains and clean gutters means there is no need to pay $50-plus fees for someone to show up plus the cost of any work preformed.
Basic computer maintenance:
Learning the basics of computer maintenance can save money in a variety of ways. Having your computer protection regularly updated reduces the chance of it catching a virus or having your personal or financial data stolen.
Keeping your computer free from ad-ware and other programs that can slow down your computer makes it run more efficiently so that you can get more done during the time that you are using it. Keeping your computer clean helps to ensure that you get the full life out of it and it doesn't break down sooner than it should. Knowing all of this also puts you in a much better position to trouble shoot if something unexpected happens with your computer which you can likely solve without a call to a computer support service costing a hundred dollars or more.
Especially during these tougher economic times, it's handy to have these basic do-it-yourself skills so that you can keep those things around you running efficiently without having to shell out a lot of money to have others do it for you. You may be surprised to find that you are able to do a lot more on your own that you might have imagined and that by doing so, you will also help your bank account in the process.
Jeffrey Strain has been a freelance personal finance writer for the past 10 years helping people save money and get their finances in order. He currently owns and runs SavingAdvice.com.