Cutting down on living expenses should be a goal for everyone, not just those who are going broke or are a little behind. There are some very simple things one can do to save money everyday.
First, eating out. Sure, eating out is fun and much easier than cooking at home. But, if you’re going out to McDonald’s to feed a family of four (two happy meals and two adult meals) you’ll be spending over $20. That’s $20 you could easily use at the grocery store and make at least two meals with possible left overs. If you go out once a week and spend $20 every time, you would save $86 a month and $1040 a year. That’s a road trip with your family. That’s a lot of Christmas presents. That’s a first time investment in an IRA. Take the advice and start cooking.
Second, clothing. Everyone loves name brand clothing, but is it really a necessity? Check out the outlet malls and, dare I say it, second hand clothing stores. If you’re crafty and know they’ll turn out great, buy some material and make your own clothes if you find it’s cheaper than buying the already made name brand item. If you have a friend that is about the same size, start a clothing exchange. That way you both have twice the wardrobe for no money at all. Start a clothing exchange in your neighborhood for all ages and genders. Free, free, free.
Third, bills. Electricity can be saved on by making sure that every light on is a light off after leaving the room. Sweat it out if you can in the heat without the air conditioning or at least have it a minimal level. Just think there were people who survived the heat before air conditioning was invented! When you do laundry, do a full load every time. If you only need one item cleaned – do it in the sink. If at all possible, bathe two or three children at a time. This and the laundry loads will make a decent dent in your water and electricity bill.
Fourth, miscellaneous. Skip the latte! You’ve heard that plenty, but try some other things. Make gifts for half the price of what you were going to spend. Skip the fancy furniture and check out second hand stores and fix the furniture up yourself. Learn how to shop on a budget. And always, always, always put 10% away first. You may find you’ll need it later if things get really tight.