Having a tight budget is tough even when the economy is good, and when the economy is bad a tight budget is even tougher. Growing up poor has an advantage, not having excess becomes a way of life and you don’t expect frivolous material goods that you don’t need to survive. If you’re not used to living life that way it can be difficult to adjust from a large budget to a small one. Here are some tips which can help when you find yourself in a situation where every penny counts.
There are ways to curb your grocery expenses which can save you a lot of money and help you adhere to your budget. Coupons are useful, they can cut your grocery bill significantly and help you save at the checkout. Buying in bulk is often cheaper and provides more food for much less, which puts you ahead by providing staples such as flour, beans, rice and pasta. These are all goods which can be stored and used over time and have a better shelf life than most consumables. If you can get buy one get one free specials at your local grocer take advantage of these specials. Plan your meals for the entire week prior to going to the store, buy meat in large packs for large savings and split it into smaller packs for the freezer when you get home. This extra effort will save you money and give you a little back-stock to fall back on if you need to. Every penny you save will add up.
Dump your current phone plan if it costs you more than you can spare. Large phone companies service plans are slanted toward fleecing the consumer. They charge you exorbitant rates and even if you don’t use all your minutes you pay for them in most instances. Get a pay as you go plan or switch to a TracFone. A TracFone is small, cheap, does what it needs to and you can use all your minutes. Usually a phone card will last you for three months if all you do is use your phone to communicate when you need to. If this basic service will work for you, it could save you a good chunk of money each month.
Utility bills can hurt when winter rolls around. The price of fuel is high and it gets expensive to heat a home, use a stove, hot water heater and pay the electric bill. Why not use a feature provided by your utilities provider? You can get on a budget agreement and have each monthly bill be a set fee based on a prior calculation of usage. This saves you from the surprise of a huge bill when you least expect it and gives you a solid number to base your expenses on. Sometimes budget billing is not an effective means, it depends on the situation, but it is an option to look into.
By keeping track of where your money goes, you can know where any waste is and eliminate it or curb it. Keep track with a monthly calendar and budget a month out prior to that month which will allow you time to shuffle what you need to in case of an emergency. Knowing what you spend, where you spend it and how you can spend less of it will put you on the right track to survive on a small budget.