Often, it’s the small expenses that add up over the months until they ruin the best financial plans. In this age of austerity measures, few families can afford to spend all their nickels and dimes for frivolous things. While the food budget is the first thing most people look to find ways to cut back, those small purchases can save big in the long run.
Create a Budget
Until recently budgeting wasn’t a concern among American families. But today, knowing where your dollars are going is one of the best ways to make every dollar count. All areas from food to investments must be looked at for potential savings.
Coffee in a Thermos
It’s become a tradition to pick up a morning coffee and newspaper on the way to work. Such daily purchases will burn a hole into your pockets over the long run. A better alternative is to brew coffee at home and bring along a thermos to work if you don’t like the office brewed stuff.
Bring Along a Lunch
There’s no shame in toting your own home made sandwiches to work. They are more healthier than anything you can buy at the deli counter, the chip wagon or the company cafeteria.
Thrift and Dollar Stores
Thrift and dollar stores used to be for the poor, but many people can take advantage of cheaper items than you would find at the supermarket. Spices, utensils and no name canned goods are just as good as any name brands.
Cook at Home
The American family has becomes used to eating out. Cooking is a lost art as few people feel they have the time to create their own meals. But home cooked meals are healthier as you know the ingredients you add to them. Prepared and prepackaged foods cost more.
Washing Machines and Dishwashers
Use a full load in your washing machine or your dishwasher. Today, you can get your clothes clean using cold water. You don’t need to waste power unless you have a full load of dishes to clean in the dishwasher. Better still, clean your dishes in the sink and hang your clothes to dry instead of using the dryer.
Turning down the thermostat saves during those times when you’re not at home or sleeping. You can save a lot more on heating costs when you use electricity during off-peak hours. Wear a sweater during cold temperatures.
Most every family can do without calling features. If you’re doing business at home, a land line may be justified. Most people can disconnect the telephone and rely on cell phones.
Barter and Trade
Well before cash was invented, everyone made do simply by trading stuff. Today’s family garage is loaded with items long disused. Most of it could earn money in a yard sale or bartered.
Pay Off Credit Cards
If you’re carrying a balance on your credit cards from month to month, you’re paying more in interest charges than you need. Paying off those charges and getting on a cash or debit system will save big over the long haul. The use of credit cards can make your life easier if you know how to use them.
Recycle and Reuse
Your car and appliances don’t need to be replaced every 3 years. Clothing can be passed down to the younger members of the family. You can shop for clothing at the Salvation Army and mix and match them to make unique fashion statements.
It’s one of the best ways to find what you want. Ordering is easy as many major department stores have an online presence. Shopping online will save you wear and tear on your feet shopping store to store.
With a little imagination you can find more ways to save on those little things you buy. All you need is the willingness to make those simple changes. You’ll be better off than most American families who are struggling to make ends meet.