There are 4 main areas in which you can cut down on your living expenses.
Budgeting your allowance for groceries and food items can help you save a significant amount of money over a period of time. Start by eliminating some of the non-necessary items that you normally purchase, such as ice cream, or snack foods. Try buying baking mixes instead of ready made items, as these are cheaper, but still allow you to enjoy cakes, cookies and other goodies. Stretch more expensive grocery items, such as meats and cheeses, by planning 2 meals out of each meat purchase, rather than 1. Use pasta and rice as inexpensive “stretchers” to help your meats go further. Use coupons and take advantage of sale offers. Buy generic products, and buy pasta, cereal and other items in bulk, whenever possible.
Save energy, and reduce your utility costs. Turn lights and appliances off when not in use. Lower the temperature on your thermostat by 2 degrees, use a blanket or wear a sweater if it seems too cold. Have appliances tested to make sure they are working properly. A faulty appliance can cost you a lot of extra money in electricity. Look for lower rates and better deals on telephone service, cable tv, and internet connections. Never pay charges you don’t understand, and don’t accept additional services if you don’t really need them.
Reduce your transportation costs. Try car pooling instead of driving. Share transportation costs to and from work with coworkers. For children’s activities, such as soccer or basketball practice, try sharing the transportation costs with other parents. Walk when you can. It’s healthier for you, it saves on fuel costs, and it helps the environment as well.
Luxury expenses are one area where a little sacrifice can go a long way. Cut down on the things you can live without, dining out, for example, or going to the movies, theater and other such events. Try cheaper forms of entertainment, a day at the beach, a walk in the park, or even a cook-out in the yard. We all need to do things we enjoy, but consider whether it’s really worth the cost, and decide if there is an acceptable substitute for your usual routine.
Set a savings goal for each of these 4 areas. Most of us can save $20.00 or $30.00 a week on grocery bills, if we put a little forethought into what we buy, and where we shop. Another $10.00 to $20.00 a month can be saved on utilities, if we are willing to make a few sacrifices here and there. Sharing transportation costs can sometimes save you $10.00 to $20.00 a week, depending on how much you drive, and how often you can share these costs. Luxury spending varies, but most of us waste at least $20.00 a week on things we don’t need, or things we can do without. By limiting ourselves in these 4 areas, it is possible to save between $100.00 and $200.00 a month on living expenses.