2 More Compelling Reasons to Boost your Skills/Knowledge Repertoire, Part 2

This is the second part of a four-part series that, I hope, will inspire and fill you with ideas for learning new skills that will help your family thrive in an uncertain world.

3. Money is tight, but you have options with skills & knowledge

image by stuartpilbrow

If there’s one thing a Survival Mom is good at, it’s finding creative ways to live abundantly on a tiny income, and a Survival Mom equipped with financial savvy is worth her weight in gold. When there’s not even a spare dollar for new school clothes, she can pull out the sewing machine, grab some left over fabric from an old project, and design customized outfits for her kids.

Years ago I had a friend named Jan who was a master at clothing her kids in beautiful, expensive outfits she found at yard sales. Sometimes I wondered if those kids ever wore the same outfit twice. I do know she was able to save enough extra money every year for a great family vacation. She put her bargain hunting skills to work, which provided options her family wouldn’t have had otherwise.

If there’s a baby in your family, who needs expensive disposable diapers when you’re an old pro at using cloth and making your own baby wipes and lotion?   Five bucks worth of yarn can be turned into a delicate baby blanket, nicer than the ones on display at the baby boutiques. Frugal Survival Moms make their own baby carriers and construct solar powered breast pumps, just in case. Okay, I’m joking about the breast pump.

image by Violette 79

When it’s mealtime, frugality and creativity go hand in hand when you know at least twenty different meals that combine rice and beans in so many flavor combinations your family is fooled into thinking they’re eating gourmet meals every night. You manage to make oatmeal so delicious and enticing that when your kids are offered Cap’n Crunch, they say, “Ewwwww!!!”

There are dozens and dozens of skills that will help your family save money.  A lot of money.

4. Scarce services or products aren’t a problem when you can duplicate them
Economic recessions cause many thriving businesses to shut their doors, and when they do, the community loses important services and products. When this happens, the tendency of most people is to respond with, “Oh no! How will we get along without ______?”

It’s a good feeling to know that your family doesn’t have to rely on others for every little thing when you’ve been learning how to take care of more and more of those, “little things”.  If the beauty salon closes its doors or the gourmet bakery goes bankrupt, what’s the big deal?   You just pull out a pair of scissors, watch a few YouTube instructional videos and then grab the slowest kid for your first try at a haircut. With

image by surlygirl

just a little practice you’ll wonder why you ever thought you needed Super Cuts!

And that gourmet bakery?  Master a to-die-for fondant, learn how to wield a mean decorator bag, and it could be your lemon meringue cupcakes that people are lining up to buy. All the not-so-handy moms in the neighborhood will be asking you to make a special birthday cake for their little sweeties.

If you’re wondering which skill to tackle first, keep track of the various businesses and professionals you hire and consider if there are any skills you could begin learning.

Action step

Go through your family’s expenses over the past two months.  You probably keep track of expenses anyway, but this time be thinking of what you could learn or what skills you, or another member of the family, could learn in order to save money.  At the same time, are there businesses you use on occasion whose services you could learn?  Remember, the more you know, the less you and your family must rely on others.

Coming next:  Sometimes skills enhance the lives of others!

There may be links in the post above that are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission, which does not affect the price you pay for the product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. 

© Copyright 2011 The Survival Mom, All rights Reserved. Written For: The Survival Mom
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I'm the original Survival Mom, and have been helping moms worry less and enjoy their homes and families more for 5 years. Come join me on my journey to becoming more prepared to handle everyday emergencies and worst case scenarios.

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  1. Liz Long says

    Flowbee. It takes a little practice, and it's pretty much just useful for boys, but it's cheaper than going to Super Cuts with your boys. Like electric clippers, though, it's not much help for girls since they're really for short haircuts. The Flowbee doesn't leave a mess on the floor like clippers, but it's also a little slower (IMHO) to get a good cut.

    I used to sew enough in high school that I actually had a small business of my own making clothing for the local Renaissance Faire – using my mom's sewing machine. The first machine I bought myself was a Singer, just like mom's. Sadly, Singer quality is no longer just like it was when Mom bought hers and it didn't last many years. I had SERIOUS sticker shock when I looked at new machines at a fabric store. Well over a thousand dollars?!?!? Um, NO! I found a cheap little Singer at Target that looked like about what I need. I checked review on amazon and took it right back and bought a Brother for less than $90 with good reviews from Amazon. And a case to help keep it safe from my children. I'm only explaining this much to help anyone who knows they want a sewing machine but isn't sure where to start looking. :-) http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000F7DPEQ

  2. Guest says

    If you want a older singer,just keep checking yard sales and thrift stores.I,ve managed to find two good ones this way.For two machines I spent $40,and one was in a sewing cabinet.Singer has the manuals online.Some are free downloads and some you have to pay for.

  3. rightwingmom says

    I can count, on one hand, the number of times I've paid for my 2 sons to get a hair cut. My oldest was asked to say the offertory prayer at our church recently. The night before, he asked me to trim his hair for the occasion. Going to a barber shop or salon is not even a consideration in our house. :)

    When my DH and I got married, his youth pastor's wife gave us a copy of "The Complete Tightwad Gazette".
    It is a wealth of information on living a frugal lifestyle and an entertaining read! http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Tightwad-Gazette-A

  4. Tricia says

    If you can find any schools still offering sewing, sometimes they sell the sewing machines. My friend bought hers from the high school when she graduated in 1979 and uses it almost daily. That is quality.

  5. Jan says

    Learning simple skills can really save money! My husband cuts my hair and does an amazing job, I get compliments about it. I sew some things for my kids, but I am not very talented when it comes to sewing. I can dress up old jeans! I cut of jeans into capri's or shorts for my girls. Then I add ribbon, edging, etc. It looks really cute and is a good way to salvage jeans when they still fit in the waist but are not long enough. My son tears his jeans up. I hem them with matching thread and you would never know they missing the knees the day before.

    My mom had a Singer Sewing machine for 35 years. She had to buy a new machine about 4 years ago. A repair center searched for about 6 months for the needed parts. They could not come up with any. That had been a problem for about 10 years. It was taking longer and longer to get her machine fixed because spare parts were not popping up. She sold her machine to the repair company and bought herself a new machine. But she misses that old machine! Her OLD treadle Singer is in need of new needles, those are hard to find too.

  6. Nana says

    I still use my mom's Singer that she bought in the 50's! All the parts are metal, not plastic, but are hard to find when something needs to be replaced. I was so surprised and blessed to find an old machine that is identical to hers, which I have now to use for spare parts. That may be something to keep an eye out for if you have an old wonderful machine. Maybe Ebay or Craigslist might be good options to look for an old machine like the one you love.

    I purchased a new Janome Magnolia 7330 last year after doing a lot of research, and I LOVE it. It does everything that I want in a machine, but it doesn't have all the bells and whistles that lots of other more expensive machines do. It is perfect for me.

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