When times are hard there are two ways to ease the burden. You can bring in more money or find ways to save money. Creating additional income can be difficult, but saving money is quick and easy. There are many small changes you can make that will have a huge impact on how much money you spend. Here are ten easy things you can do to save money and ease your burden right now.
1. Stop eating out. It’s fun and relaxing, but take a moment to consider how many groceries you can buy with the same $50 you would spend at a restaurant.
2. Fast food counts as eating out. Fast food is expensive and dining on it several times a week can really add up. Pay attention to how often you’re running through a drive-through and put that money towards groceries and home-made meals, instead.
3. Lower your grocery bill by buying what you need and will use. That great deal on apples is money wasted if the fruit rots and winds up being thrown away. The same goes for lunch meat, dairy products and other perishable foods.
4. Clip coupons for extra savings. Pair up the coupons with sales at the grocery store to lower your bill further.
5. Drive more conservatively. Lower your fuel cost by accelerating gently, coasting when possible and using the cruise control on the highway.
6. Lower your heating bill and air conditioning bill. Utilities must be paid, but you can lower the expense for them. Bump your heater down a few degrees in the winter and take the air up a few degrees in the summer. In cool weather open the curtains as soon as you rise and let the sun warm your home naturally. In the summer, keep the blinds closed as long as possible to reduce the heat coming in.
7. Avoid the stores and shop with a list when you must go. Impulse purchases will quickly eat into your budget. If you aren’t at the stores you can’t buy things on a whim. When you do have to go to the store, take a list and stick to it. Base decisions on what you actually need, not just what you want.
8. Double check prices before making bigger purchases. If you are in the market for a new camera or other item, take the time to do some price checking. Research reviews and price out the item with different stores. Buy with the company that offers the greatest bargain.
9. Keep your car longer. There’s nothing like that new car smell, but that great smell comes along with a large bill that must be paid every month. Keep the car you have, pay it off and enjoy not having a car payment for a while.
10. Skip the bottled water and the vending machines. They’re convenient, but that convenience comes with a price. It’s far cheaper to invest in a water filter and some travel bottles for water. Pack your own snacks and take your own crystal clear water for optimal savings.
Liesl H. is a writer working with the California Institute of Finance at CLU. Liesl has years of experience writing in a wide variety of industries including personal finance and education.