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If your family is like my family, every nickel counts. We try to save money every chance we get, but it seems like as soon as we get a paycheck, it's already spent! Does anybody have some good money-saving tips?
This question is right up there with the question about weight loss so far as there not being a fun and easy solution that is very successful! I think that the first thing is to get real about how much money is coming in and how much is going out. Developing a budget-just a simple one can be very helpful, and often makes you feel a lot better too. For example a simple budget just might have a list of your monthly expenses with how much they are, and this can be right down to developing a line for eating out, spending money, clothes, household supplies, gifts, ect. Think of every way that you spend money and give it a line. Once you do that make a page for income. What are all the sources of income, where from, how much. Then compare your income to your expenses. If you are short some income look back over your expenses. I often can find ways to cut costs by cutting just a small amount on several different costs. It's the whole saying about every penny counts. Then if you are looking at cutting grocery costs you might consider coupons, a membership to a bulk buying store like costco or sams club, and revisiting where you are spending your grocery money. I think that for most people doing one grocery trip a week instead of daily can cut costs quite a bit. The problem-you have to take the time to plan ahead. I think it also really helps to watch the advertisements in the papers. We, for instance, watch the advertisements on soda. We won't buy it unless we find a sale where they are doing Buy two get two cases free-and the per case cost is reasonable. I think this flexibility is important.
These are just a few of my ideas. I am curious what others are doing to help cut costs.
My credit card company offers a "yearly statement"--all you have to do is ask for it. On the yearly statement, they break everything down in categories, so you can see where all your money is really going. Then add up your checkcard as well...Most of us spend WAY too much on groceries, and going out to eat. You can literally cut that in half by simply preparing your meals at home and by planning your meals out in advance. I once fed my whole family (That's 6 of us) dinners for just $18 that week. I started by buying a whole chicken and roasted it. One night we had roast chicken and veggies (which are cheap). Then I boiled the carcass and got tons of meat off the bones that I threw in a chicken and sausage jambalaya that we ate for two days. Then I used the leftover white meat and made chicken and dumplings and chicken noodle soup which lasted us for another two or three days. If you plan it right...you can do it.
Also, take a look at your car insurance and see if you can raise your deductible or if another car insurance carrier is cheaper. Also, consider bundling your computer and cable and phone to save even more money. All of those things can help and every little bit counts!
Thank you ladies... as always, very helpful solutions. One area we need to jump on is coupons... we rarely use them! We have a budget we have been sticking to, but especially during the holidays, it's tough to stick with!