You cannot always increase your income, but there are ways to change how much money you spend every month. Whether you are trying to save up money to buy a home or just want a little extra each month to cover unexpected expenses, these tips will help you reach your goals. Here is what the most frugal families recommend when you are trying to save.
Watch What you Use
Every time you toss something in the trash, you are potentially throwing away money. Start by taking a good look at what you use throughout the home. Are you putting leftovers in plastic bags or wrapping them in foil? You can save by switching to reusable containers that are easy to wash out. Rather than buying special bags for small trash bins, reuse the shopping bags that come home from the store as bin liners. When you see opportunities to recycle within the home, you are going to start saving money.
Double-Check your Entertainment
How much do you pay for those magazine subscriptions, and do you ever sit down and read them? Do you have to see the newest movies at the theater, or can you wait and watch them on DVD? There are plenty of ways to save on entertainment, and that money will start to add up. Look at the various memberships you have, and eliminate any that you are not using on a regular basis.
Start Buying Used
You may not like the idea of buying used, but it will help you save money. Let someone else pay for the depreciation on a car and pick one up at an attractive used price. You can also visit second-hand stores or online auctions to find cool name brand clothes for your children.
Smarter Food Choices
You can also start making smarter food choices. Instead of buying bottled water, pick up a faucet filter or a filtered pitcher. Rather than buying lunch every day, take your own lunch to save money. If you can heat food at work, then you can even take leftovers to save more. Make your coffee at home, and start cooking more from scratch to avoid the cost of convenience meals. Find time to visit the market regularly and ensure that you have food at home for making meals. When going out to eat is a treat rather than a necessity, you will save a great deal of money.
Drop Bad Habits
Smoking is a pricey habit, and so is soda. You can save money by drinking water and quitting the tobacco habit. Other pricey habits include tanning, gym memberships that go unused, eating out because there’s no food at home and using credit cards. Start dropping those bad habits to see your savings grow on a regular basis.
Save on the Bills
If you are carrying a great deal of debt then consider debt consolidation. Consolidated Credit, a debt management resource, can work with you to lower interest rates, reduce payments and help you get out of debt. It’s an easy way to reduce your monthly expenses, and you can put the savings towards household expenses, paying off bills faster or your retirement.
Reduce Energy Costs
Start lowering energy costs by making some smart changes. Create a charging station for your portable electronics. When nothing is charging, you can unplug it to save money. Shut down computers at night and turn off power strips to stop using small amounts of energy. Replace windows, or just use thermal curtains over them in the winter to block drafts. Add insulation to the home, and teach the kids to shut off the water when they are brushing their teeth. These little changes will add up to help you lower energy costs and save money.
Keep Goals at the Forefront
Whether you are saving for a nice vacation or a better home, keep those goals at the front of your mind. If you are trying to eliminate debt so you have more disposable income, then you can focus on the types of things you will do with that income. Put pictures of your goals around the house, in your wallet and attached to your phone. When you know what you are working towards, it is easier to stay on track.
Use a Budget
Keep track of your spending for a month, and then take a good look at where your money is going. This will help you pinpoint waste, make changes and determine how much money you really need every week for the market and other expenses. You can then blend this information with your available funds to determine what your weekly budget is. Once you know how much you can spend and on what, you will be less likely to accidentally overspend.
There are several great ways to save money and become more frugal. Even if you cannot ask the boss for a raise, you can still increase your disposable income levels by saving money in other areas. Consider debt consolidation to make bills more affordable, and use a budget to stay on track during the month. Eliminate the waste, and stay focused on your goals to start saving more and improve your financial position.