Given the current state of the economy, families are looking for ways to stretch their dollars as far as they can go. The only way to effectively do so is to cut back on expenses in certain areas. While it may seem like a difficult task at first (after all, it is very easy to get used to living a certain kind of lifestyle), with a little planning and some regimenting, you really can make a dollar stretch out a whole lot farther than you might actually think.
Here are some basic frugal living practices that will have a positive effect on your family’s bottom line. You will reap the benefit of some of these practices right away, and it may take a little time to feel the effect of others; but at the end of the year, you will certainly find that there is more left over in your savings account than ever before.
Spend Less At The Grocery Store
Food is a necessity in life, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend an arm-and-a-leg feeding your family. Your family’s food bill can quickly eat into your monthly and yearly budget. With some careful planning, you can effectively cut back your food bill and put those dollars you would have otherwise spent at the grocery store into something else (such as your retirement fund).
In order to cut your food bill, take a look at how you spend money on food each week. Do you go out to eat a lot? Do you give the kids money to buy lunch at school and do you buy lunch at work? Are you really using everything that you buy at the grocery store, or are a lot of the items you purchase impulse buy? Eating out can really put a dent in your budget, and so can impulse buys. Put the reins on your food spending by planning ahead, shopping for what you really need and by brown bagging it instead of hitting your favorite diner.
It’s a Friday night and you and the family are looking for something fun to do together. Hitting the movies seems like the perfect idea, and it certainly is a good option – in moderation. Take a look at how your family spends money on entertainment. An outing to the movies can cost a pretty penny, and making such an outing once a week can really drain your budget. Sure, it’s alright to spend cash on your entertainment once in a while, but to be kind to the budget, consider free or inexpensive activities. Put your creative minds to work and use resources to find things to do. The World Wide Web is a wonderful resource for finding free or inexpensive goings on in your area.
Surely you’ve seen those coupon cutting shows on TV. There’s a reason they are all the rage; because cutting coupons really can save you money. Grab those circulars that come with your weekly newspaper and start clipping. However, instead of wasting your time cutting coupons you don’t really need, only clip those that you will actually use. Use your grocery list as a guide to effective coupon clipping.
Do it Yourself
Get in the “do it yourself” mindset. Sure, it may be easier to hire someone to care for your landscaping; doing it yourself will really cut down your expenses. Plus, you’ll feel a sense of pride knowing you did it on your own.
Turning up the heat in the winter is so tempting, but when the oil bills come in, you might run to turn it off! You don’t have freeze your family out to save money on your utilities, just use them wisely. For example, instead of setting the thermostat to 75, set it at 71 and wear sweaters and socks. Remember to turn off lights and appliances when they aren’t in use and put a time limit on TV viewing and video game playing (which is good for the budget and the eyes).
Once put into practice, you’ll notice an increasingly positive impact on your bottom line, thanks to these budget cutting tips.
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