Saving money doesn't happen by accident. Rather, it takes effort, practice, and the mastery of some money-saving skills to help you get there.
These skills can help you track your money, save more, and spend less – and who doesn't want that? Keep in mind that this isn't a comprehensive list. As you master each of these skills, you may realize that there are more that can help you further improve your financial picture.
One of the most important financial skills you can learn is the skill of deal hunting. This is more than occasionally browsing the clearance rack at your favorite clothing store. A deal-hunter will know the best time to shop for different sales, how to stack coupons and discounts, and the best places to score those deals.
A deal-hunter will take the time to look online and at local stores to find the best deal. Often, these frugal shoppers realize that spending more on an initial purchase for a quality item will help them save more over time. For example, buying the $100 pair of sandals that last five years instead of the $20 pair you have to replace each year.
- Wait to buy things when they are on sale and plans for major purchases.
- Take time to understand store discounts and the sales cycle to make the most of every purchase.
Start Using Coupons
Couponing is a separate skill from deal hunting. It is much more involved and it requires dedication and focus. When you become serious about couponing, you can reduce the amount you pay for everyday items. You may be able to save more than $100 a month on just your groceries. When you use coupons on other items, you may be able to save even more.
- Learn more about couponing through a local or online class.
- Find a coupon forum that will help you start to match the sales at your stores to the coupons.
- Using coupons is a serious time commitment.
Tackle Financial Tasks Yourself
Learning to handle your finances responsibly will also save money. It can help you avoid paying interest on credit card debt, avoid unnecessary bank fees, and invest well, which can build wealth in the future. Learning to understand legal, financial documents can help you determine if you are taking the best deal on your mortgage or choosing the best checking account. Taking care of these tasks makes you more aware of your situation and can help you make better choices overall.
- Read the fine print for each of your accounts. Check to see if there is a better option at your bank.
- Balance each of your accounts each month.
- Read the fine print when you take out a loan and compare it with other options.
- Consider consolidating your debt or transferring your balance to a low-interest card.
Master DIY Tasks
Paying someone else to do something almost always costs more than doing it yourself. You can save money by becoming a DIY pro.
Learning basic maintenance and repair skills can save you money when it comes to your car and home. Learning to mend tears and sew on buttons can help clothes last longer. Learning to shop and cook for yourself can also help you save a significant amount over the course of a year. Learning how to take care of your lawn and landscaping will also save you big.
- Sign up for a basic automotive repair class through your continuing education program to learn about car maintenance. Recognizing when the job is too much for you can also save you time and money since you will not damage your car even more.
- Consider taking a basic sewing class or a cooking class to help you learn how to master those skills.
- Find someone who is great at one of the things you are trying to learn and ask them to teach you.
Learn About Investing
It is important to understand investing and how it works. This allows you to be proactive about your retirement and your overall investment strategy. It can also help you know when you should worry about fluctuations in the market or when you should ride out the ups and downs. Once you understand investing, you may be able to save money by purchasing the stocks yourself through a brokerage firm that has low trading fees.
- Remember that investing is about long-term growth and trading daily may cause more risk.
- Be sure to consult with a financial adviser about planning for your long-term savings and investments to create a plan that will help you retire on time.
The Balance does not provide tax, investment, or financial services and advice. The information is being presented without consideration of the investment objectives, risk tolerance, or financial circumstances of any specific investor and might not be suitable for all investors. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Investing involves risk, including the possible loss of principal.