My husband and I recently became home owners. While this life milestone was cause for celebration, I don’t mind admitting that it has also filled me with dread. Prior to being a homeowner, back when I merely paid my rent and thought little else of the cost of housing, it was so easy to call the landlord when an issue involving the home reared its ugly head. Air conditioner on the fritz? No problem! Call the landlord. Husband is inept and failed to properly screw in the water hose to the washing machine thereby flooding all of the carpet in the hall (true story)? Call the landlord. Need to bury a dead body? It’s the landlord’s problem! (Just kidding on that last one, a dead body is still your problem.)
So buying a house and suddenly assuming all of the responsibility for home maintenance and repair has been nerve wracking. Once you are financially responsible for it, it is amazing how much money goes out the door to pay for your house. It is for this reason that skill number one on our list of five skills that will save you money is handyman skills.
Learning to be a half-way competent handyman will not only help you to fix issues that might (will) arise in your house, it will help you assess what is wrong and know when to spend the money to have it fixed and when to attempt it yourself. It is an unfortunate fact of life that time really does equal money. Therefore, when you pay for a plumber, you are really paying for their time. The fix itself may only cost pennies, but the labor costs are what will kill you. Once you learn to handle the small repairs yourself, you will have money hand over fist. Don’t be afraid! Use the vast knowledge of the internet and the people around you. Look up a skill and learn it once, save money forever!
“But Richly Reasonable,” you say, “I don’t have time to become an excellent handyman. Which skills should I focus on in my limited free time to maximize my savings?” Well, you’re in luck, I was just getting to that. Focus on these skills and with even a minimal time investment, you will save your hard-earned cash.
Plumbing. While designing and installing the plumbing for a house is quite an ordeal, most minor plumbing issues that arise in a house are usually easy fixes. Learn how to unclog a drain, fix a leaky faucet, stop a running toilet, and replace that leaky pipe under the sink and you are about 90% of the way to plumbing financial independence.
Carpentry Skills. You do not need to know how to build a table from scratch, but some carpentry skills will definitely come in handy. Learn how to patch drywall, hang something heavy (tv, mirror, etc.) on a wall, straighten up a hung door that has gone askew, and seal the openings to your house, and (barring a man cave addition) you will probably never need to call for help again.
Landscaping Skills. While its so much easier to call a landscaping service, the $100 a month for their services starts to get old quick. Learn to mow your lawn, weed, properly water and fertilize your grass, trim trees, cut back bushes, and adjust your sprinkler system and you will save money and have something beautiful to look at. Nothing beats staring out over your well-manicured yard at the end of a long day.
What do you think readers? What handyman skills do you recommend for saving money around the house? Let us know below.
Of all of our list of skills that will save you money, perhaps no single skill will save you as much money as the skill of cooking. Just think about it. You eat everyday. Unless you are one of those weird super low calorie dieters, you probably eat many times a day. That means about three times a day you have a chance to exercise your cooking skills and save money, or you have the opportunity to blow some money and probably your waistline in the process (more on this later). I mean, cooking is such an integral skill to have, houses are built with a room solely dedicated to preparing food. So, needless to say, spending a few spare moments learning how to cook will save you a lot of money.
Many people think that it’s simply cheaper to buy prepared food rather than learn to cook your own. That logic holds true in some other spending categories. For instance, modern times have made it cheaper in most cases to buy clothes rather than make them yourself. This logic fails, however, when it comes to food. Go ahead, Google search how much restaurants mark up their food. I’ll wait . . . Are you back now? SEE!!!! It’s insane! Cooking your own food is definitely cheaper than going out to eat all the time.
And if the pro column for learning to cook is not stacked enough, you should also consider the health benefits of cooking your own food. If you cook your own food, you not only avoid the restaurant price mark-up, you also avoid the out of control portion size. By preparing your own food you will eat less and you will eat better. Chances are you will eat more fresh fruits and vegetables if you learn how to do it yourself. Plus, let’s face it, well prepared home-cooked meals just taste better than their commercially prepared counterparts. Everyone is always aching for a “home-cooked meal” for a reason. I mean, that’s why we all love Thanksgiving so much, right?
So, are you convinced yet? Great! Now, starting off the development of your cooking skills can look quite daunting from the outset. As in the other articles of this series, we will discuss which skills to focus on acquiring to save cash.
Learn how to grill food. I don’t necessarily mean you should learn to cook meat on an open flame, although you should learn that too. I mean learn to apply heat to meat and have it come out in such a way that you don’t make yourself, or your guests, ill. Learn the proper temperatures to cook meat. Learn how to tell when it’s done.
Learn how to make pasta. Pasta dishes are a good place to start for someone starting out on their culinary journey. They are cheap, easy to cook, and there are endless variations you can make. Learn a couple of pasta dishes.
Learn how to cook eggs. Learn a couple ways to prepare eggs. Scrambled, fried, boiled, etc. They are a staple breakfast food and you if you learn to cook them well, you will impress people merely by preparing a good egg.
Learn how to pick and properly store produce. Fresh fruits and vegetables are a key part of a healthy diet. Learn how to pick the best produce at the market and how to store it so it stays fresh.
Learn how to bake a favorite dessert. While cooking healthily is nice and all, it’s fun to know how to prepare something that just tastes good. Pick a favorite cookie, brownie, or other recipe that you love, and learn it backward and forward.
Follow these tips and you’ll be well on your way to being a culinary master. So what do you think readers, any other cooking skills one should learn to save money? Sound off below.
Is there anyone more infamous than the shady car mechanic? You know the stereotypical story, you bring your car in for an oil change and by the time you walk out, you have been convinced that your car “needed” thousands of dollars in repairs to issues you never knew existed. Unfortunately for us, this stereotype is founded in reality. Yet, while there are many mechanics out there merely looking for ways to take your money, even the most honest mechanics can cost a ton. What’s even more startling is to look at your mechanic’s bill. You’ll notice that even though parts only cost $25, you were charged $300 for the mechanic to do the labor to install that part. That is where they get you, in the cost of labor.
Now, I’m not disputing that mechanics should be paid for their time and expertise, quite the contrary, I believe that they perform an important service to our society, I’m just saying that if you, as the savvy consumer, can learn some basic mechanic skills, you can get away with not having to pay $50 for someone to install your $10 air filter.
Here are the mechanic skills you should focus on to save money and keep your car running in tip top condition:
Learn to change your oil. Years ago, before the advent of Jiffy Lube and the 20-minute oil change, people used to change their own oil in their own driveways. Ask your grandparents about this, I’m sure they’ll remember. So what’s changed? Why have people stopped changing their own oil? Well, there are lots of answers to that question but one main reason is people don’t know how to anymore. As cars have become more complicated, people have stopped trying to do their own maintenance and repairs. And while this makes sense if you are faced with the task of changing out the car’s computer system, the basics of an oil change have remained the same for many years. Learn how to change the oil and oil filter. Doing so can save you big money. That fully synthetic oil you pay a mechanic $60-$80 for can be replaced for $20 if you do it yourself.
Learn to rotate your tires. Yes, its easier to get someone else to do it for you, but come on people, you just take off one tire and put it on somewhere else. Make sure you know the pattern for how to properly rotate your tires and you’ll be good to go.
Learn to check your car’s fluids and to top them off. Learn to check the levels of your oil, coolant, brake fluid, power steering fluid, wiper fluid, etc. There is no reason to pay someone to tell you that you don’t need to add more fluid.
Learn to replace your car battery. This can be a pain in the butt (have you felt how heavy car batteries are?) but it is completely doable for a novice.
Learn to replace your wiper blades. This is super easy and should never be something you pay for.
Learn to replace your car’s air filter. Again, super easy and not worth the $50 they’ll charge you to do it.
If you’re feeling adventurous, learn to replace your brakes. This is for the more advanced mechanic, but replacing your own brakes will save you tons of money when the time comes. Just make sure you do it correctly. Brakes are an important feature when it comes to stopping your car.
Learn these basic skills and you’ll only pay a mechanic for something that takes true expertise, not the basic routine stuff you could be saving money on. What other mechanic skills have saved you money? Sound off below.
Siam Park is famous for its unique attractions that are designed to please all tourists, regardless of their age. As soon as you step into this incredible fun place located in Tenerife, the Canary Islands, you will never want to return home!
The first thing that catches the visitors’ eyes is the outstanding white sandy beach and the excitement that can be seen on the people’s faces. Surfers will certainly enjoy the huge wave pool located in the vicinity of the Wave Palace, while those who want to become surfers will be pleased to find out that Siam Park features a surf school. And where could you possibly learn more things about surf than in the largest water park from Europe, best known for the highest waves ever generated by a wave pool (about three meters high)?
Siam Park at AttractionTix is also known for its unique sculptures that represent mythical creatures, but also for the wide range of animals such as seahorses, monkeys or elephants, which have inspired the building process.
Other main attractions of Siam Park are its outstanding slides such as Jungle Snakes, The Naga Racer or The Dragon. Jungle Snakes consists of four winding slides that will certainly provide loads of fun for both children and adults. However, if you think you deserve something more thrilling, you can try experiencing another famous attraction called The Giant, which basically consists of two identical bowls where you’ll get to experience the force of a cyclone, thanks to the powerful centrifugal force.
Besides, you can have a great time drifting along the Mai Thai River and enjoying the amazing sights of the park, including the stunning aquarium, the waterfalls and the exotic islands.
In case you decide to take a break from the adrenaline pumping attractions and spend some quality moments with your friends or relatives, you can visit one of the restaurants and bars featured by Siam Park. The Tea House is located in the vicinity of the Sea Lion’s lake, and is a good choice whenever you want to have a snack or drink good tea or coffee. Besides, at the Beach Club Restaurant you have the opportunity to try some amazing dishes designed to please all tastes.
Once you visit this water park, you will certainly like to buy some souvenirs for your friends or relatives. Luckily for you, Siam Park features a floating market inspired from the Thai villages, where you can find a wide array of special gifts and many other items such as sunglasses or sun creams. What’s great about this floating market is that it was constructed with traditional Thai materials, such as bamboo.
Siam Park is one of the most appealing water parks, and its unique features turn it into a perfect holiday destination. Tourists will have the time of their life by discovering all the attractions from this park. Check out other great holiday destinations at AttractionTix.
The second skill in our series of skills to help you save money is perhaps the most obvious, but also the most important of the five skills: financial skills. While learning about finances may be boring to some people, it is time well spent. Here are the skills you need to acquire to save money and make yourself a financial genius.
Demystify finances/economics. Perhaps the greatest hurdle to being a financial ninja is fear. Let’s face it, for many people, finances are scary. They can be obscure, technical, and full of terminology which might as well be a foreign language. Most people bury their heads in the sand and ignore their finances because of this fear. One of the first things you can do to gain the financial skills necessary to save money is to get past this financial threshold. I have found that one of the best ways to stop this fear of all things money is to immerse yourself in the world of finance. Take a look at the Wall Street Journal. Read books on various financial topics. And there is always my favorite, financial podcasts. I listen to Planet Money, produced by NPR, at least once a week. They discuss deep economic and financial issues but they make it accessible to us lay people. By putting your toe into the world of finance, it becomes a lot less scary and lets you have the confidence to make better financial decisions.
Learn to budget. Perhaps the greatest financial skill you can acquire is to learn to budget. You not only need to learn to budget, but you need to learn to live by a budget. It can be too easy these days to simply spend away in blissful ignorance of where the money is going. By keeping track and watching how you spend money, you can put that money to better use. Nobody got rich living beyond his means. A budget will keep you on track to financial success. Learn how to track your finances and predict how much you’ll spend monthly. There are plenty of websites and software that make budgeting much easier. Use these to make the budget habit stick in your own life. By learning this skill, you will save money simply because you will be more aware of your finances.
Learn about credit. There are two sides to credit: one which will help you and one which will hurt you. If you learn what credit is, how it works, and how to properly use it, it can help you save money when buying a house, buying a car, or buying anything else on credit. Learn how the system works. Learn about the three credit reporting agencies. Learn what your credit score is and what it means. The more you can figure out the enigma that credit is, the sooner you can have it working for you rather than against you.
Figure out investing. Investing is what grownups do with their money. As you become more solidified financially, you will find that investing is how you will prepare for your financial future. Learn about the stock market and how it works. Learn about mutual funds, annuities, and other financial tools created to help your money grow. The more you can learn about how to make your money work for you, the faster it can grow.
Learn to plan for retirement. For many people, retirement seems a LONG way off. Unfortunately, it can sneak up on you before you know it. If you can gain the financial skills necessary to plan for retirement now, you can save money and secure your financial future. Much of this preparation will overlap with learning about investing (because like I said, investing is what grownups do with their money) and will serve your overall financial health. Planning for retirement now will give you financial freedom and peace of mind for the future.
Ok readers, what advice do you have for learning all things finance?
Our tech gadgets and devices become more advanced all the time. But one thing that doesn’t improve is their life expectancy. Laptops tend to last on average no more than 2-3 years. Nevertheless upgrading to a new computer is a costly expense.
If you’re a Mac user like I am and think your old machine is slowing down, here’s a look at my top signs for recognising that it’s time for an update.
What’s your operating system?
If your laptop isn’t able to run the latest operating system it will limit your access to apps and functions. Programmes like iCloud allow you to link up your mac with your Smartphone, but your Mac needs to have a an Intel Core 2 Duo, Core i3, Core i5, Core i7 or Xeon processor in order to run Lion 10.7.2. If you’re not too bothered about being able to access iCloud, keep in mind that Apple has stopped releasing security updates for some older mac models.
One of the most common complaints with older machines is a battery that’s unable to hold its charge. It’s a pretty common symptom that your Mac might be reaching the end of its life. While Apple does offer a replacement battery option, it’s not the cheapest solution. Also if your battery is past its prime, other system components might be nearing their end also.
Functions running slowly
When your most used apps and functions start running slowly, it’s usually a pretty common way for your computer to explain that it’s struggling. If you have tried the usual methods of speeding the machine up – like running a defragmentation programme or clearing up your hard drive – it may demonstrate a more underlying lack of compatibility.
Finding the right resale price
Macs retain higher resale values than other PCs, meaning it’s important to pick the right time if you intend to sell. Selling too early and the temptation to buy the product new is too great, but sell too late and buyers are usually persuaded to check out the latest releases and their improved function. It’s a balance you need to strike in order to find the best rate. When I wanted to sell my Mac last year, I found it worthwhile looking online to compare prices. If you sell with an online auction it’s not always easy to guarantee you’ll find the best price.
When repair price isn’t worthwhile
Other than cases of extreme damage, generally speaking most problems with a Mac computer can be solved. The question of whether to repair usually comes down to cost. From minor problems like sticky keys to structural issues like a cracked screen, all repairs come with a price tag. You need to consider whether the damage is an isolated symptom, or If it’s part of a series of problems. In many cases the cost of repair can be better put towards the price of a new model.
I’m Debbie Conway – a Mac enthusiast. I love all things Apple related and wanted to share some tips that I learnt when I discovered it was time to sell my Mac last year. When not blogging and using my Mac to earn a living I love nothing more than walking along the beach in Brighton where I live.