Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Top Tips for Spending Less

When you have a budget or spending plan that doesn't balance, there are only two things you can do about it. You can earn more money, or you can spend less. Ok, there are three things you can do. The third being make more money AND spend less. Today I'm going to give you some ideas on spending less that have worked for our family. This is by no means an exhaustive list, just some ideas to get your creative juices flowing to help you come up with things more specific to you and your family.

  •  Plan your meals ahead for the week. This will reduce the amount of money you spend on convenience foods, take out and dining out.
  • Prepare a shopping list and stick to it! Doing so will help you to resist the temptation of buying impulsively.
  • Brew your own coffee at home instead of going to the coffee shop several times per day.
  • Pack a lunch. Even better, take leftovers for your lunch instead of buying over-packaged lunch meat.
  • When dining out, forgo the alcohol. A glass of wine or two will add $10 or more to your bill. Drink water instead. It's free, and something your body needs anyway.
  • Have one meatless supper per week. Substitute with another high protein food like beans or legumes.
  • At the grocery store, check the reduced produce cart. There may be some fruits or vegetables that you can use that day for your meal. Some reduced items are excellent for adding to your freezer stockpile, to be added to recipes at a future date.
  • Stock up on non-perishable items when they are on sale. I typically have a 3 month stock of toilet paper, sugar, coffee, laundry soap, toothpaste, etc. It is usually enough to last us until the next great sale on a particular item.
  • Buy used whenever possible. We can get clothes at the thrift store, often with the original tags still on them, for a greatly reduced cost. This is also a frugal way to stock your kitchen cupboards, or purchase craft items that you want to try before you sink too much money into it.
  • Leave the car at home, and walk or take public transit. If you are not going very far, you will reduce your transportation budget, and perhaps get some needed exercise.
  • Use a clothesline. In nicer weather, we hang our towels, comforters, and jeans to dry outside, instead of spending money on loads that usually gobble up twice the amount in the dryer.
  • Keep a notebook in your purse or pocket, and write down every penny you spend, and what you bought. You'll be amazed at what you actually buy, and how much you are spending needlessly.
  • Take advantage of free entertainment in your community. Libraries are fantastic resources of information of free or inexpensive things to do with your family.
January is the time for adopting new habits that will better your life. Try one thing you haven't done before to reduce spending. Take some time to think about all the things you could be doing. Make a list of spending reduction strategies you'd like to implement. Pick one that seems relatively easy, and do it for a week or two. Your budget will thank you.

1 comment:

  1. Great list Eboo!
    We do many of those things too.
    I don't think I could add another single thing to your post. It's a keeper for sure and would seriously direct someone towards the changes they need to make to start living within their means.