Money saving with the world wide web

19 March 2018

Practical skills are in danger of dying out, warned a recent survey that landed in my Inbox. It seems we millennials are far less likely than our older peers to know how to carry out certain tasks.

According to financial provider, Phoenix, these ‘lost’ skills include:

  • changing a tyre;
  • eating food that you’ve grown yourself;
  • changing a fuse;
  • sewing or repairing clothes; and
  • reading a physical map.

Looking at the data (see below), I feel slightly ashamed to say that while I know a fuse is something to do with electricity plugs, I have no idea what changing one even means, let alone how to begin doing it. It feels like one of the impossible challenges you might come up against on cult television show, The Crystal Maze, with the older generation laughing in front of their screens at us young’uns’ inability to get our hands on a coveted crystal because we can’t understand these pesky plugs. The same goes for changing a tyre.

However, perhaps we shouldn’t be comparing different generation’s expertise, but instead looking at how we can use our own individual skillsets to save money.

The report, for example, goes on to say that “tech-savvy” millennials are still more frequent and proficient online users, and I think that’s something we can use to our advantage – particularly when it comes to cutting costs.

If ever the occasion arose when I needed to change a fuse or a tyre, and my boyfriend, parents, friends or anyone else I know wasn’t around to help me do it, I’d simply find a ‘How to…’ video on YouTube. DIY retailer B&Q, for example, has a whole host of such videos on YouTube as I found out when pondering the best way to fill a hole in a wall – the joys of being a homeowner!

When it comes to saving money on my supermarket or high street shop, again the internet comes to my rescue. While older  generations are more likely to grow their own fruit and vegetables in their garden or allotment – and don’t get me wrong, this is something I’m looking into doing now that I finally have a garden – I’ll always scour the internet using the likes of VoucherCodes (whose app I also have on my smartphone) to find money-off deals.

MoneySavingExpert also has a great stash of supermarket coupons for individual products listed on its website, plus Moneywise has its own top 10 voucher codes each week

Again, looking at the lost skill of map-reading, on the plus side at least I’m saving on the cost of buying physical maps every year – AA Road Atlas Britain 2018 costs £8 on Amazon. Instead, I just use Google Maps on my phone for free with my inclusive data allowance.

This even works in other countries around the world, as long as they’re included as a free mobile roaming destination by your mobile provider. In the EU alone, data roaming is completely free so long as you don’t use it excessively.

Finally, we’ve got mending your own clothes, which is a skill I do have and utilise to save money on taking items to seamstresses or buying entirely new outfits (other than when it involved replacing a new zip, which was entirely beyond my capabilities). But as a millennial, the internet can come to our cash-saving rescue again with free online tutorials.

To conclude, I don’t think it’s fair to trade one skill off against another – when it comes to saving money it doesn’t matter how we do it – so long as we’re able to. But perhaps what us tech-savvy millennials should be grateful for, is Tim Berners-Lee creating the amazing internet of things that is the world wide web, which enables us to access a realm of money saving tools, tips, advice and ideas at just the touch of our fingertips.