Cut your own hair (and other money saving tips)

By Jill McKenzie

February 21, 2017 12:00 AM

Learning new skills to save money
One thing about a major economic downturn, it reminds people that they can learn to do certain things for themselves.
Nowadays there is a how-to YouTube video for almost anything you could want to learn.
Better yet, learning from friends and relatives is great social time and gives you a sense of purpose.
Have you tried to learn to do some simple tasks for yourself and, in the process, saved yourself a bit of money?
Vehicle maintenance
Although not everyone has the space and tools to safely work on their vehicle, you can top up your own fluids and change your own wipers.
Check that changing your own oil doesn’t void warranty, and compare prices with local garages before you bother.
But if you can shave a bit off the cost of your vehicle maintenance, ask a friend with some know-how to teach you to rotate your tires, change the battery or grease your vehicle.
Remember to be safe, use the appropriate tools and don’t tackle a job that is too far above your skill level.
Home maintenance
If you own your own home, you will likely run into jobs that you aren’t sure about.
Even if hiring a professional, you might save some money by completing the demo on your own.
If charged by the hour, do the sweeping and cleaning up yourself and help where you can.
Watch YouTube videos or ask about classes at the hardware store to learn to switch out taps, install baseboards and some types of flooring, or other minor repairs.
You can also save a pile by setting aside a weekend to paint a room (or more) yourself.
Of course, you should first ask yourself if the home repairs are for safety and prevention of damage or merely for esthetics.
Putting a bunch of money into redecorating might feel like a “need” but, unless you plan to sell and it increases the value of your home, you will only be doing it for your own enjoyment.
You have to decide where your money is most needed.
Bake your own bread
Learning to bake bread and buns and other goodies is not necessarily a game changer for your budget.
If you buy your flour on sale and keep some baking done ahead of time, though, you can be more prepared and therefore not need to run to the store between grocery days.
This saves you the trip to the store, the cost of purchased baking, plus the cost of any impulsive extras you might buy.
Not only that, baking can be relaxing and it fills time that might otherwise be spent shopping or browsing online stores.
Mend your own clothes
There are also videos that can teach how to resew a seam, attach a button, change a zipper and shorten a hem.
Better yet, ask around and see if a neighbour or relative would like to show you how.
Many elderly folks are a fountain of knowledge and would appreciate a visit.
Be sure to offer a fair reimbursement for time and materials.
The cost of fixing a good quality piece of clothing is far preferable over discarding and buying new.
Skip the hairdresser
Some jobs are best left to the professionals.
But if you can stretch out the time between visits to the hairdresser, you will be money ahead.
Practice on your kids.
Trim your own bangs.
Touch up your own roots.
Go for a low-maintenance style.
The point here is not to put good local tradespeople out of business but, rather, to keep some of your own money in your pocket for emergencies.
Doing some of these jobs for yourself gives you a sense of busyness and productivity that can combat depression and give you a sense of pride.
It prevents you from being bored and wanting to go spend money.
It allows your kids to see you tackling that list of household jobs and teaches them not only how to do it but to have the gumption to try.
When safe to do so, include your children in what you’re doing.
It might take more patience to have a little helper along, but this time together will strengthen your bond.
It also prevents kids from growing up thinking they have to pay someone else for every odd job.
How can we turn them loose in the world with no practical knowledge or common sense?
It will only make it harder on them when they themselves face a down turn and have to learn all of these skills on their own later.
Being more self-sufficient will give you a sense of independence and will likely keep a few bucks in your pocket.
Rather than paying someone to do these jobs, try a little DIY.

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