Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Spend less part 2: Learn some new skills

It always saddens me when I see people without what I consider to be very basic life skills. Sewing buttons or tears in clothing. Cooking a simple meal. Doing laundry. (I once had a friend ask if I would help her put her dirty clothes in the dryer. Not only did she not know how to do her own laundry, I don't think she even understood the concept.)

Got those skills down, you say? Awesome. It's time to go to a more advanced level. One of the most useful things you could learn is how to cut hair—specifically your own. I have never paid for a haircut in my entire life. It's far easier to cut long hair than it is short, but if you're feeling adventurous, get a buzzer and start messing around. Mohawks, Chelseas, and just plain old buzzcuts are totally sweet, and garner a great deal of attention (if you can handle that.)

You too could look this awesome.

If you don't trust yourself with scissors, make friends with a beauty student, or call around salons asking if they need hair models—a lot of apprentice hair stylists will cut and style (and even color) your hair for free to get practise. I got an awesome free haircut from Vidal Sassoon this way.

Other skills that have the potential to save you money include:
  • electronic building and repair (you most likely have a computer—start by figuring out what all the sparkly stuff inside it does.)
  • sewing, cooking, and baking (you know, home ec stuff)
  • handicrafts—especially building stuff. Even if it's just a stack of free boxes that you turned into a coffee table. Still a free coffee table.
There are tons of how-tos and learning resources online—start using them! (Hey, maybe I'll even tell you how to do something eventually.) What other random skills have you found helpful in tough times?


  1. Yea, it is amazing how many people do not have basic life skills. Fortunately my single, working mom taught me how to do my laundry at age 9 or so. I also took a cooking class in Jr. High (cause I like to eat) so I have always had mad skills in the kitchen. Definitely saved me lots of money when I was poor.

    I also had my grandma teach me to sew when I was young, and grandpa taught me how to use tools. All this stuff has come in handy in my life.

  2. You're an example to us all. :D Me, I'm gonna hope everyone stays unskilled and then start charging 5 bucks a pop every time someone needs a button sewn.