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A lot of basic skills that were once common knowledge are now deemed old-fashioned or unnecessary, but we shouldn’t be so quick to discard them. If we took the time to learn how to do more for ourselves instead of paying someone else to do it, then we’d have more money and a greater sense of accomplishment that can’t be bought.
I personally practice a lot of these skills because I think it’s good to know how to fend for yourself if the need arises, and did I mention that they will end up saving you money? So here are my top 10 forgotten money saving skills (that you need to know now).
You can potentially get hundreds of tomatoes from one $2 packet of seeds, but how many tomatoes will that same $2 get you from the store? Gardening is a great way to save money if you can keep costs down by growing plants from seed and using natural soil amendments like I talk about here. If you’re new to gardening then you can also check out my top 5 Tips for Beginner Gardeners.
Knowing how to preserve your own food is an amazing money-saving skill to have especially when you grow it yourself. It also comes in handy when you can find produce at rock bottom prices. Canning, freezing and dehydrating are the most common food preservation methods. Here are some recipes to get you started: Slow Cooker Apple Butter, How to Dehydrate Jalapeño Peppers, How to Make Pumpkin Puree, Air Dried Apple Rings, Red Hot Cinnamon Apples, How to Dehydrate Tomatoes
Foraging is something that our ancestors knew way more about than we do today. If you don’t know, foraging is when you find food that is growing wild like picking berries on a roadside or dandelion greens in your backyard. I wish I knew more about this lost skill, but sadly my knowledge is limited. The best way to safely learn about identifying nontoxic edibles is to sign up for a local class or take a course on the subject. You could also find books from your local library, but I’d be leery of relying on photos alone as a lot of edible plants also have toxic look a likes.
Our culture is so used to spending money that bartering isn’t even on most people’s radar and I think that’s a shame! Bartering is when you trade your skills, time or goods for someone else’s. For example, I could crochet someone a hat in exchange for a couple of hours of babysitting or I could trade some of my surplus garden produce for piano lessons. Think about how much money you would save if you put this into practice more often!
Since clothing is so cheap and plentiful these days, sewing handmade garments is normally more expensive than buying off the rack, but having basic knowledge of mending and tailoring can save you tons of money. I don’t know how many times I’ve extended the life of my families clothes simply by sewing on buttons or mending seams.
To learn more about sewing, check out these free online classes:
Cooking from Scratch
It’s amazing how much money we spend on convenience food. I did the math and I spend $50 per month on yogurt and granola bars alone!! That’s insane considering I try to keep my food budget under $100 per week. So just by making those two items from scratch I could save TONS. Here are some from scratch recipes that you may want to try: Peanut Butter Granola Bars, Simple Pie Crust, Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits, Slow Cooker Pinto Beans, 45 Minute Yeast Rolls, How to Make Pumpkin Puree, Easy Peanut Butter Cookies
While my family doesn’t hunt or fish much, plenty of our friends do and I think it’s a wise skill to have in case you need to provide for yourself one day. Also, store-bought meat is expensive and being able to kill your own is a huge money saver! What would our ancestors have done without dear, wild turkey or fish to keep them going?
Keeping a few chickens may not save you much money, but in most cases the cost of feed versus the cost of eggs/meat evens out. You can keep costs down by letting them free range and by feeding them your kitchen scraps. You could also collect scraps from friends or local restaurants to feed to your hens, but make sure they are getting mostly whole foods such as vegetables, grains, etc.
Paying cash definitely seems like an old-fashioned skill these days, but it’s a great one to keep alive! Did you know that people tend to spend more when they use a card verses paying cash? Also, you can normally talk someone down on price when you have cash in hand.
Did your TV break? Go buy a shiny new one and put it on the card! Did the car break down? Trade it in for a new one and pay for it later! It seems like our culture tells us we deserve everything instantly, but by doing so we’re missing out on valuable life lessons such as patience, resourcefulness, hard work and gratitude. Not to mention that delaying gratification allows you to avoid paying interest and save even more money. The next time you want to buy something, ask yourself if you can find it cheaper, make it yourself or simply go without.
Which of these skills do you practice to save money? Do you have anymore to add? I’d love to know!