Life Skills You Need

There are just somethings that can’t be avoided in life. The old joke goes, “the only things you have to do in life is pay taxes and die”, while it’s funny, it just isn’t true. Being able to keep yourself fed, happy, clean and financially stable are irreplaceable skills that have to be developed. Here is a list of skills that everyone should have.

Cooking

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No matter what you think your life is going to be like, the likely hood of having a live in cook is very slight. It isn’t your partners job to feed you and your mother won’t be making your dinner forever. Learning the basics of cooking is an invaluable skill.


Cleaning

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You will likely make a massive mistake with bleach one day that will make you wish you learned how to clean your home safely. It’s always important to remember your high school chemistry classes because mixing cleaning products can not only ruin your counters or sink, but can potentially kill you. Always check labels and don’t mix bleach. Don’t forget knowing how to unplug a toilet! For some tips on how to keep your home clean, click here.


Budgeting

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There is a freedom to making your own money and living on your own, but not taking care of your finances can land you in a lifetime of trouble. A good general rule is to put away 10% of your earnings into savings. It can seem impossible to do this, and in a lot of cases for young people it is actually impossible to do this, but it is very important to have a rainy day fund. You never know when your car might break down, you might lose your job or your health could take a decline. Savings funds can be the difference between a bad month and losing your home.


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Basic Vehicle Knowledge

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If you own a car, you should know how to take care of your car. I’m not saying you should be able to fix everything, but knowing how to check your oil, tire pressure and assorted fluids is important. Knowing how to change a tire (and where your spare is) as well as understanding the symbols on your dash can be the difference between a simple drive to the shop or your car completely breaking down. Also, knowing what to keep in your emergency pack in your vehicle and when to change out supplies is essential.


First Aid

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Basic first aid is a must for everyone. Understanding the signs of a stroke, heart attack and other visible ailments is important but knowing how to disinfect small wounds and identify the difference between a child crying from a bumped leg vs a broken leg is invaluable. I do not advocate that anyone preform medical services without a medical licence, nor do I advocate for the “fix it at home method”, but knowing the basics to keep someone stable until medical help arrives and the basic symptoms of common ailments is important.


Sewing

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You don’t have to be able to sew your own suit together, but you should be able to put a new button on your shirt. Hemming, patching and small repairs will save you a lot of money and your clothes will fit better if you can do simple stitches to bring them together better.


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Home Repair

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Once again, I don’t expect you to become a Red Seal Electrician, but knowing where your water line shut off valves are, how your fuse box works and how to re-light the pilot in your furnace is important. If a line bursts, a fuse blows or your furnace goes out, you will be very thankful to know how to react and when it’s time to call a professional. Thankfully most taps are easily replaced by homeowners due to their simple design, same goes for toilets. Youtube is your friend and always chose to replace your wax seal with a goosenecked one (removal down the line will be much easier). Knowing when your fire alarm is compromised and if you have a monoxide monitor in your home will also help keep you safe.


Hygiene and Health

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While it seems pretty simple to take a shower and brush your teeth, your health goes far beyond this. To reduce festering bacteria in your shoes which can lead to infections in your toes and open sores, wear clean socks and wash the inside of your shoes.

Taking a de-wormer will help protect your digestive system (do check with your doctor before doing so). Personal hygiene products for those sensitive areas are often more harmful than helpful.

Practicing safe sex with condoms will protect you from a lot of unwanted diseases. Seeing your doctor and dentist for check ups gets more and more important as you age. Getting your prostate and testicles checked professionally can not only detect cancer but other illnesses. Having Pap smears done is also a must. All of these things are important for your health and hygiene.

Very importantly, wash your hands often and don’t touch your face is you don’t have to. This practice will help protect you from a lot of nasty illnesses and reduce your likelihood of developing or worsening acne. Another good practice is to flush toilets after you have put down the lid to avoid having urine and fecal matter finding it’s way onto your toothbrush.


If you have advice and skills you want to share, please do in the comments. Though it asks for an email address, it is not require to post a comment, so please don’t hesitate to share your stories and advice.

Eva Blakeman – LIFE SKILLS YOU NEED

How To Budget

This is a topic we often talk about in passing, but we don’t actively teach. This leads to a lot of young people having issues saving money and keeping all their bills in check. There is a pretty basic way to budget, but it becomes much more efficient the better you track your own purchasing habits. Before we get to the budgeting, we should talk about debt.

Often young people have student debt and credit card debt. Most financial institutions have free access to financial advisors so it’s always worth talking to them about lowering your interest on your debt. In my case, we took a student loan and turned it into a line of credit with much lower interest, saving me a lot of money in the long run.

The best rule of thumb with a credit card is to avoid using it, and always pay it off completely every month. Unfortunately, life happens, and often the amount of debt is higher than the income needed to pay it back in a one month period. Banks are run by people, and they are willing to help you as long as you are actively trying to pay back your debt. You can often talk to them about your minimum payments and setting up payment plans.

Another thing to be aware of is that if you are a member of a credit union, your savings account can gain a small amount of interest for you without giving up access to your funds by investing.

Being able to budget well means you need to know what each month costs you. Keep an eye on how much fuel you pay for in a month, the cost of your groceries and other costs that vary but are seen on a monthly basis. The more you are aware of how much you spend, the easier it is to manage it.

You can always call your phone, internet companies and discuss cheaper plans. Your utilities providers are often willing to give you a new lower rate if you call them. Buying only what foods you know you will need for the week will reduce food waste and money dripping through your fingers. It takes self control not to grab a bag of chips or what ever your snack food is, but it is worth it to keep your budget down. Limiting your driving time or carpooling can really help your budget and being mindful of what you need versus what you want is always something to keep an eye on.

The basic set up of a budget sheet starts with your income after taxes (the amount that actually goes into your bank account). Then you remove every cost you have and determine how much you have left.

Example Of A Budget

Your computer almost certainly has a budgeting spreadsheet template if you want to keep track of your money manually. You can always write it out and there are apps that connect to your accounts and track your spending habits available as well.

Even if you have less than a couple hundred dollars left at the end of the month, do your best to put it into a savings account. Oil changes, flat tires, rent increases and life happens. You will thank yourself for putting away as much as you could.

That is how to budget. If you are young and struggling know that the people at your bank will go out of their way to help you if you ask. Students often get discounts of their insurance and in some cases their rent. Ask questions, ask for help and you will in a better spot.

Great Manuals For Creative People

I started my collection of manuals many years ago, they take up most of one of my bookcases. I love learning and I think a lot of you do too! I picked out four of them that I feel any creatively driven person should read. Also anyone who wants to get better at photography, graphic design, screenwriting and who wants some motivation.

Some of these are books I got while I was in college getting my diploma in graphic design and photography. Save The Cat is a book that was recommended and Tools Of Titans was staring at me from its shelf, daring me to take it home. Unfortunately I left a copy in another province, so I had to buy another copy.


If you want some motivation, lifestyle habits and advice from successful people across all sorts of careers and life paths. It isn’t meant to be read cover to cover, rather to be read casually, stopping and starting anywhere you want. I ignored this at first and found it difficult to read, then I decided to listen to what Tim Ferriss had written about how to easily digest all the information by skipping around and found it to be a great tool in helping me develop healthier behaviours and treat myself and others a little more kindly.


Could you pick a better title? I remember getting this book in college because it was on the reading list, and laughed audibly when reading the title. After many years of doing graphic design, I understand the title much better. It goes through how to deal with customers, especially when they push for free services or unethical services. How to find a job as a designer, branding and a lot more. It is not a step by step process as to how to do these things, but rather a brutally honest explanation of how the process itself works.


Processing…
Success! You’re on the list.

As you can tell by the sticky notes in the book, this is one I’ve reached for enough times that I just sticky noted the pages I wanted to re-read again. This book goes through the basics off all common forms of photography, lens recommendations, lighting for different situations, best print options, and most importantly, how not to screw up shooting a wedding. I would recommend this book to any aspiring photographer, and to a lot of more experienced photographers who have become a little complacent


Save The Cat. Widely believed to be the best book on screenwriting available. This is written more as a narrative than it is an instructional manual. You can sit down on the couch, read the whole thing and not realize you have just inhaled knowledge. It takes you through the basics of screenwriting, how to plan a story, section your story and take it from thoughts to the page.


What more can I say? These are great books, all are still in print and you can find all of them in a bookstore near you. If you have any books to recommend for me, I would love to hear about them! Please comment down below with your favourite book for creatives!

Entertaining Education On Youtube

If you’ve been with me for a while, you know I love learning. I went to college, I went to trade school, I constantly research topics that interest me and I love listening to CBC radio. I read manuals for fun and I love to read my partners essays for his university courses. I don’t think there is an age where we need to stop learning, in fact I think we should ensure we learn constantly throughout our lives as it makes us more understanding of the world we live in, the people in it and ourselves.

SciShow

Hank Green – SciShow

SciShow is a science channel, created by Hank Green, that lists its resources and cites all sources. Hosts of the show teach about a massive variety of scientific fields, and the information is always delivered in an interesting and accessible manner.

Crash Course

Crash Course

Crash Course, a Hank and John Green creation, teaches us about the history of science, artificial intelligence, sociology, biology, ecology, etc. It’s a longer form and very structured in it’s lessons.

Vsauce

Vsauce

Vsauce has been teaching concepts on YouTube for many years and it is my best resource for understanding physics. Information is always given out in a theatrically entertaining manner.

If you have entertaining education that you very much enjoy, please share them with me in the comments below!