Even though the economy seems to be looking a little better, at least on paper, the truth is that many of us are still reeling from the financial black hole that we have been living in the past several years. I don’t know about you but it seems like we have cut back and cut back until we can’t see how we can cut anymore. It’s tough for sure.
Still there is almost always something you can cut back on if you really have to.
Here are some ideas that you might not have thought of for squeezing the last drops out of your budget.
Save on Groceries
- Buy generic brands.
- Choose whole grain breads, pastas, and other starches. They fill you up faster and you don’t need as much.
- Skip the meat once or twice a week.
- Beans and rice are still a frugal, nutritious choice.
- Plant a garden, even if it is just salad greens in a pot on your back porch. Every little bit helps.
- Learn to make pizza crust and stop ordering pizza out.
- Use your leftovers.
- Only use coupons for the things you would buy anyway.
- Learn to make your own vanilla (vodka and vanilla bean), meat rubs, and mayonnaise.
- Try to buy at farmer’s markets and local produce stands.
- Hunting and fishing means basically free protein.
- Keep an eye out for abandoned fruit trees, wild nut trees, and other foods you can forage.
Lunches and Convenience Foods Are a Good Place to Save
- Make snacks like cookies, cakes, and crackers from scratch. You can find recipes for anything with Google.
- Check to see if your kids are eligible for free meals at school.
- Pack lunches instead of buying them.
- Many local restaurants offer free children’s meals with the purchase of an adult meal.
- Popcorn is still one of the cheapest snacks ever.
- If you are really adventurous consider dumpster diving. You’d be surprised what stores throw away.
Cut Expenses During Free Time
- Cancel gym memberships and walk, bike, or do some other free activity.
- Drop cable and any unnecessary monthly expenses.
- Go to the matinee when you got to the movies.
- Keep an eye out for free activities like concert, etc.
- Drop your Internet and use free Internet areas like local restaurants, coffee shops, libraries, etc.
- Get a library card if you don’ t have one.
Clothes for Less
- Buy from resale shops.
- Find clothing on eBay or other online venue.
- Look for sales.
- Have a clothing swap with your friends.
Children Don’t Have to Break the Bank
- Use cloth diapers.
- Grind your own baby food.
- New babies really don’t need a thousand different things. Keep things minimal.
- Do not ever, ever, ever buy a used car seat. Always spend the money to get a new one.
- Breast feed if at all possible.
Slash Living Expenses
- Look around and see if you can get a better insurance rate.
- Check out other electric companies to see if you can get a better rate.
- Cancel caller ID, a second number for FAX, and other unnecessary expenses.
- Pay your bills on time and avoid late fees.
- Use water carefully. Dump the leftover water in cups into a large pitcher and use it to water plants or to fill the dog’s water dish.
Keep in mind that it’s usually the little things that make the most difference. They add up over time and you’ll find that you are saving more money that you thought you could.
What are some of your methods of cutting back? Leave a comment and let us know.
photo credit: kenteegardin via photopin cc