Saving Money the Old-Fashioned Way: Forgotten Skills

A Greatly Overlooked “Secret”
to Saving Big Money

We want to share with you the easiest way we know of to keep more of your hard-earned money.

The answer is simple. Buck America’s throwaway culture by making what you buy last longer.

Select a vehicle you plan to keep for a decade: The biggest and best example may be in your selection of motor vehicles. We urge you to buy only vehicles that you plan to keep for ten years. Back in the good old days, it was a source of pride to by a new (and we mean new) vehicle every two years. These days, that way of thinking just doesn’t work anymore.
Piggy Bank

Try this fix before ditching your computer: One item that you can probably get more service out of is your laptop or desktop computer. For example, many people believe that if their computer is overheating, it’s time to get a new one, or at least to buy an expensive replacement battery. But in most cases, simply blowing the dust out of the air intake and cooling fan with a can of compressed air will cure the problem. Software updates will also keep you very much up-to-date even on an older model computer.

Fix broken furniture: If an appliance or piece of furniture breaks, instead of replacing it, see if you can fix it. If you’re already skilled with a set of tools, this is the obvious thing to do, but if you’ve never considered yourself exactly handy, you might feel at a loss. You don’t have to be, though, and many ‘fixes’ will be easier than you think at first, so at least give it the Old College Try.

For appliance repair, start on the internet: For a relatively small fee, you can find real-time help from a qualified technician who will walk you through the most common repairs.

But really, we want to talk to you about forming community fix-it groups. This self-reliance option is on the rise, and it’s a trend that you can easily get in on.


Three Big Benefits of Reaching Out
to Your Neighbors

The most tangible benefit of setting up a community fix-it group is that you’ll save money on costly repairs and replacements. But there are still more advantages to consider. Setting up a neighborhood or community fix-it group gives you the opportunity to learn and practice barter and negotiation skills.

Now, we’re not suggesting you try to squeeze every last bit of value out of your next door neighbor in an intense business-like negotiation. What we are saying is that face-to-face bargaining is a great skill to keep up in an era when we accustomed to getting most of our “stuff” from a store or by pointing and clicking on a computer.

Getting a Community Fix-It Group
Started in Your Neighborhood

First get the word out. Let your neighbors know you are interested in started a fix-it group. You might be tempted to make everyone feel welcome, but you may be better off focusing on those individuals who the skills you’d like to see in the group: electricians, people who know how to work on small engines, people who know woodworking, and people who know how to sew might make a good start.

Then, build a roster. Put together a list of people who are interested in participating and note what skills they bring to the group. Some might be interested in joining simply to learn, and that’s okay. That means they’ll be developing skills and greater self-reliance — always good traits to have in your neighbors.

Next, look for a home. To fix things, you’ll need to have access to tools and supplies. You may have a neighbor with a well-stocked workshop who is willing to host your fix-it group in his garage. If not, the local religious or civic organization might be able to give you access to its shop. Or you may be able to find a third-party shop to rent for cheap.

Set up a meeting time. Maybe once a week or once a month, get together with your fix-it group. Ask everyone to bring items that they’d like to fix. You work on them together, teaching each other and assisting each other, sometimes learning as you go if a project requires skills the group doesn’t have.

A final word: We’ve developed these options here for your consideration. But you can start small and even stay small if you’d rather by working with just one or two friends and neighbors. And you can definitely keep more of your hard-earned money by making a decision to make your stuff last longer and taking a personal stand against our throw-away society.