Cutting costs and tightening our belts â€“ these phrases have become nearly as commonplace today as they were in the Depression of the 1930s. Saving money is a habit that we all probably need to develop in order for our families to stay afloat in these economic times.
Of course, cutting costs is a huge, general statement and can refer to a number of categories. Here are some tips for saving money across the board.
- Consumers tend to choose cheaper, lower quality foods when they think of cutting costs, but there are ways to feed your family with healthy foods and save money, too. Remember that healthier eating results in a healthier immune system which results in fewer medical bills.
- Plan your menu around seasonal, local foods and buy in season when supplies are plentiful and prices are lower.
- Stop using prepackaged and convenience foods. You are not saving as much time as you may think and you are paying a higher price in health and cost. There are millions of food blogs on the Internet with recipes for everything from Nutella to Orange Chicken. While you are watching a favorite show, peruse the blogs and try recipes that look good. Most blogs have no problem with you printing a recipe for your own use â€“ just donâ€™t republish it on Facebook or another recipe site without checking with the blogger.
- Eat less. Most of the portion sizes in the United States are way too big. We have gotten in the habit of overeating to our own harm. The less food you eat, the less you have to buy. Donâ€™t starve your family, but try using the recommended portion sizes rather than serving dinner family style (in serving bowls).
- Drink water; itâ€™s basically free.
- Barter for babysitting and other services. If your neighbor makes great cakes and you sew, offer to do some mending in exchange for a birthday cake. Get to know your neighbors and the abilities they have. Bartering for services is an age old way to save money.
- Use layers of clothing and warm socks to stay warm and kick your thermostat down as far as you can. Keep it very low at night when everyone will be nestled under warm blankets. If you have a programmable thermostat you can program it to warm the house up an hour before you get up.
- Throw catalogs out immediately and stay off of your favorite Internet shopping sites! If you start â€œwindow shoppingâ€ you will more than likely end up buying something.
- Round up when you balance your checkbook. I usually have 30 dollars or so left in my checking account that I didnâ€™t know was there. Put this unexpected windfall in savings every month.
- You and your partner should agree not to spend over 75.00 without agreeing on it. If you canâ€™t agree, donâ€™t buy it.
- Wait 24 hours before making a non-essential purchase over $100.00. That will give you time to think about it and decide if it is really worth the money.
How do you cut costs and save money? Leave a comment with your best tips now!
photo credit: alamosbasement