Over the past few decades the work force has shifted from mostly blue collar workers to white collar. One of the results is that many working class people no longer know how to do jobs that our parents would have considered simple tasks. As a result, people are often forced to pay people to do work they could do themselves – with a little learning and practice.
Photo by colros
What are the advantages of doing it yourself?
- Saving Money. When you do something yourself you avoid paying someone else for that activity or service.
- Stress relief. While this is a general statement, many people who work in offices find it therapeutic to accomplish a task with their hands.
- Satisfaction. Many find that the task will be much more satisfying when they accomplish it.
- You can customize the job according to your preferences.
What are tasks that are easy to learn that can save a lot of money?
An Essortment article says that the average American family eats out three times a week and a family of of four spends an average of $ – $ a month on dining out. Now, obviously many of these eating out occasions happen because of convenience. Nevertheless, in many homes neither the husband nor the wife have learned to cook in the home. Perhaps they know how to make a peanut butter and jam sandwich, but certainly nothing you want to eat on a regular basis. Photo by Mykl Roventine
So how do you learn to cook?
- Google it. Want to know how to cook some delicious spaghetti? There’s a video to show you how. Need help grilling the perfect steak? There’s a video to show you how.
- Cooking Shows. I suspect that if you’re not into cooking, you’re probably not watching cooking shows. However, those shows will teach you how easy and fun it is to cook. They will also encourage you to be creative when you cook.
- Visit a cooking friend. If you are part of a church, I can almost guarantee you there will be a member whose passion is cooking. Ask them if you could spend a day with them so they can teach you how to cook.
- Try it. The beautiful thing about cooking is that it is an adventure limited only by your own taste buds. Don’t think you need to be a master chef before you learn to cook. Once you learn something small, go ahead and start practicing. Here’s a spaghetti sauce recipe.
The average cost of an oil change is $. It is recommended that you change your oil every three months. Thus, on average you pay $ on oil changes a year. The cost of the items necessary to change oil is about $ . You could save 50% on oil changes by investing about minutes of your time.
How do you learn to change your own oil?
- Watch it. There are a ton of videos like this one that have a video explaining how and when to change your own oil.
- Help Someone. There are a lot of people who change their own oil. It would only take about an hour of your time (including transportation) to watch how they do it. Once you go home you’ll know how to do it yourself.
- Step by step article. Many sites online have step by step guides that can help you change your own oil if you have never done it before. As an example, there is this Edmunds article or the About.com article.
When my wife and I were first married I didn’t have the slightest clue about anything related to and associated with carpentry. However, I slowly picked up some skills along the way and now I have even built some of my own furnishings. You can save a lot of money on repairs if you just learn some basic carpentry skills.
Photo by The Library of Congress
How do you learn how to do basic carpentry?
- Get a book like The Everything Home Improvement Book: Everything You Need to Know to Keep Your Home Looking–And Working–Better Than Ever (The Everything Series) or How to Fix Everything For Dummies. The books are a handy reference when work needs to be done.
- Any time you do call a repairman, watch what they are doing. This is a great way to help the repairman be accountable and responsible for their work. In addition, you will learn what they are doing. The next time you have the same problem you may now be equipped to fix the problem.
- Ask someone who knows how to do the work if you can spend a day with them. Many of these jobs are learned best by watching and participating more then reading and studying.
William Perez with About.com shares the following average cost for paying for tax preparation:
Average forwith Schedule A and state return: $
Average forwith state return: $
Average hourly rate: $
How do you learn how to file your own taxes?
- Using a basic program like Turbo Tax can save you a lot of money every year when it comes time to file your taxes. The Turbo Tax Deluxe program costs about $ . The savings is not just in your ability to do your taxes, but in your knowledge of the taxation system. When you do your taxes you will learn about deductions and tax filing procedures that will save you taxes in the future.
- If you currently use a tax professional, the next time you get a completed tax form look over the forms. Especially if your financial situation does not fluctuate very much, you will find year after year you just add new numbers to the same lines.
What other jobs do you do yourself to save money?