In today’s economy, everyone needs to look at cutting costs anywhere they can to make the ends meet. Luckily, there are many ways to make small stabs at their budget without sacrificing needs. Below are a few suggestions on how to beat that budget! Do not forget, when setting a budget, that paying yourself is as important as paying the light bill. You should always set aside a small amount to save for emergencies or special items you want or need. Just be sure to adhere to this and be very honest with yourself!
1. How to Stretch Your Food Budget
• Purchase in bulk, it is cheaper in the long run
• Plan to eat out only on special occasions or as a treat each week. Money spent on eating out usually will purchase two days of food for your home.
• Save coupons and purchase items from discount store. A can that contains a blemish still has the same food inside.
2. How to Stretch Your Insurance
• Increase the amount of your deductible. If your deductible is 500, raise it to 1000 or more. This will cut the monthly payment and unless you have an accident, you will save a great deal in the long run. Plan it so that even if you are in an accident, you'll break even.
• If a car is paid for, cut the insurance down to collision only. This will save a lot of money on the monthly insurance bill. If you have an accident, you will be responsible for paying for it, but if you're especially safe or live in a rural area, this might be well worth the risk.
• Carpooling will save on your gas bill and also save wear and tear on your car.
3. How to Stretch Your Toiletries
• Shampoos, conditioners, hair sprays, and gels sold at a dollar store or discount store are a fraction of the cost of a specialty store. Cheap shampoo consists of the same ingredients as high priced shampoos, but sometimes may take a little more since the cheaper shampoos are thinner. Spending a dollar on a bottle of shampoo and using a little more, will still save overpaying for the $25 dollar bottle.
• Use a barbershop to trim your hair instead of paying for salon prices. Most barbershops are capable of washing and trimming hair and usually have the same knowledge of styles as a salon does. The difference in the price each month, will allow treats to have nails done occasionally. Consider going to a Beauty School - haircuts and colors are a fraction of the cost at a normal salon, but the students are already well-practiced, or they wouldn't be on the floor.
4. How to Stretch Electricity and Water
• Unplug appliances that are not in use. A plugged-in appliance continues to use electricity, even not turned on.
• If using the oven to cook, go ahead and combine with cooking those cookies also
• Shortening your shower by two minutes will save water AND electricity because it cuts down on the amount of water it needs to heat.
• Turn off your hot water heater in the morning and turn it back one hour before your shower to cut your electricity bill significantly.
• Push up the temperature by 5 degrees in winter and down by 5 degrees in the summer. This will really show a return on your electricity bill. You will probably not notice a 5-degree difference.
5. How to Stretch Your Clothes
• Purchase the basics at a discount or thrift store. These are the same everywhere. Then, go to the specialty store to gather accessories or that accent piece to make the outfit special. You can also save money on clothing or accessories if you purchase them online.
• Trade outfits with your friends when you tire of yours. This will give you each a new wardrobe without paying for it. Or, consider buying clothes with friends and sharing.
Most of these savings are small, but add up to large cash and savings. Test this for yourself and you'll see that in a month's time, you will be able to save enough money for emergencies, special trips or even retirement. By doing your part, these savings will also help with the economy and environment, by using less electricity and cutting back on waste.