In difficult economic times, we all spend considerable time figuring out how to make our paychecks last longer without giving up essentials. Earning additional money can be difficult when part-time jobs are unavailable and temporary positions are too fleeting for reliable earnings. Your family can develop a checklist of 25 methods of saving money that can turn pennies into dollars over time. An important step toward saving money is to think about every purchase made on a daily basis and determine whether that purchase is important.
An easy way to save money is to cut down on expensive food purchases. You can pack lunches each day with affordable fruits, vegetables and small snacks that are more affordable per item than fast food. On occasions where dining out is required, choosing lunch rather than dinner portions equals a few dollars saved per meal. Another cost-saving tip is to create burritos, soups, and other items that can be frozen and enjoyed later when you don’t feel like making dinner. The best bet when saving money on food is to always make food rather than paying for the convenience of fast-food or casual dining restaurants.
Apparel, shoes, and fashion accessories can be costly for tight budgets. The latest fashions might seem out of reach but a few shrewd moves can yield an affordable wardrobe. A trip through the local secondhand store might highlight dress shirts, pants, and accessories donated by people moving out of the area. You can shop at your favorite retailer but simply wait after new releases to find shoes, underwear, and other apparel on clearance. As one season moves into the next, you can often find past releases as clearance items discounted 25% to 75% off initial prices. Families can keep kids clothes if they anticipate new members of the family or to swap with neighbors. You can also arrange a clothing swap with your friends and family to share fashions without spending a dime.
A few sensible changes to your household routine can also contribute to greater savings. Your heating and air conditioning system can rack up high costs during temperature extremes. You should lower your heating and air conditioning when out of the house while keeping use moderate when at home. The electric bill can be reduced by planning your laundry and dishwashing routine. A fully loaded dishwasher or washing machine is more cost-efficient than a hastily filled machine. Families with ample backyard space can grow their own fruits, vegetables and spice to avoid costly trips to the grocery store. This abundance can be shared regularly during potlucks with friends and neighbors that cut food costs for everyone. It is also possible to reuse plastic bags, bottles, and jars in the future, which cuts down on waste as well as the costs of storage products.
Commuting to work is not only wasteful in terms of time but gas money and tolls where applicable. These costs are felt not only by employees but employers that send out couriers, sales people, and other staff. You should consider public transportation options in your area to save fuel and avoid wear and tear on your vehicle. This review might yield ride-share schemes, commuter buses, and other services that are more affordable than commuting costs. Another approach is to ask your employer if your work could be done through telecommuting rather than driving to the office. Major corporations have been allowing IT professionals to telecommute for years and many tasks can be completed from home computers.
The workplace can produce major expenses for the average employee who feels a need to develop camaraderie with colleagues. You should consult with co-workers to reduce costs from birthday parties, group lunches, and other events. For example, a birthday lunch with gifts at a local restaurant could be an office potluck with a modest limit on gifts. You can also adopt cost-saving methods from the workplace in your personal life. These practices range from reducing printing costs by using electronic documents to shutting off lights when you walk out of a room.
You need not eliminate fun from your life when trying to save money. Most communities offer free concerts, festivals, and public events designed to attract broad audiences. These programs might be hosted at local colleges or high schools, providing educational elements to your entertainment. Your local library not only offers the latest books but magazines, CDs, and DVDs at no charge. The added benefit of using the library is that greater use will lead to higher funding for new acquisitions that keep users happy. You can also trade books, movies, and music with friends and co-workers to stay entertained on a budget.
A major cost for many families is the monthly expenses for cable television. Quickly glancing at your monthly cable bill might show unnecessary expense based on your programming tier. You should consider reducing your cable package at least one tier if possible to save a few dollars each month. You might be able to negotiate free premium channels or reduced rates on higher tiers when speaking with your customer service representative. Movie fans likewise might not like missing their favorite films as they reach theaters but second-run theaters offer affordable tickets for recently released movies. These theaters often sell tickets at least 50% cheaper than first-run theaters.
These cost-cutting tips should equal money saved even after a few weeks. You should focus on how to put aside this money to highlight the value of saving. A change jar where coins and bills can be placed each day will fill up quickly to reward thrifty behavior. The 52 Week Challenge requires participants to save $1 in the first week and add a dollar to each week’s savings for an entire year. This popular savings method equals a total haul of $1,400 for the faithful participant. You can also focus on more conventional savings methods like a basic savings account that will accrue relatively low interest over time. As you use these various cost-cutting methods, the amount you deposit in this account should rise each month.