Whether you are living paycheck to paycheck, or just want to save up some cash for your next vacation, living on a budget presents challenges. You may have to cut back on what you eat, how often you partake in your favorite activities, and stop buying non-essentials so that you can pay your bills on time.
Fortunately, there are myriad of ways to save money. Here are ten ways to save money when you find yourself living on a budget.
1. Become an expert coupon cutter
Coupons are not just your grandma’s game. In this day and age, there are online coupons galore, as well as online forums where you can exchange coupon codes with other people. Saving a few dollars here and there adds up over time, and you do not even have to collect a newspaper to do it.
2. Buy generic brands
Did you know that the main ingredients in a name brand shampoo and a store brand shampoo are just about the same? Even if you are brand loyal, consider switching to generic brands. Everything from cosmetics to peanut butter is often less expensive when you buy the store brand version.
3. Bundle your services
Paying for telephone, internet, and television services separately is costing you more than it should. When you bundle these services with the same provider, the savings are often significant. Similarly, bundling your home, life, and car insurance with the same provider allows you to save.
4. Buy in bulk
Short on cash but rich in storage space? Buy your toiletries and non-perishable food in bulk. Everything from paper towels to pretzels are cheaper when you buy in bulk versus piecemeal.
5. Repurpose what you have
Do you really need a new end table? How about painting the one you already use? Repurposing furniture, clothing, and fabrics instead of replacing them will result in a significant savings.
6. Do not nickel and dime yourself
Paying for parking when you could have walked, winding up with a late charge on your credit card because you did not set a reminder, overpaying for coffee – these are just some of the ways you can nickel and dime yourself into debt. Pay attention to the small expenses.
7. Rethink your portions
When you splurge and eat out, do you need to order the full size portion? Or, when you do, could you save half of it for lunch tomorrow? Cut down on your food and drink portions.
8. Collect samples
Hotels often reward guests will free toiletry samples. Similarly, when you write to a company about its products a representative may send you some samples in the mail. These samples may be small, but they can help you save cash on your day-to-day essentials or even snack foods.
Gas and car maintenance costs will quickly deplete your cash reserve. Save some money by carpooling to work with a colleague or offering to share school pick-up duties with your next door neighbor. You can save more than just a few dollars each week.
10. Become more self-sufficient
Have some space in the backyard? Consider growing your own vegetables. Make your own cleaning supplies with vinegar and other items you already have in the house. Creating and growing things you would normally buy at the store is just good budgeting.
Budgeting is not always easy, and it takes dedication. Always track your daily spending and pay close attention to areas where it appears you could stand to cut back on your spending. With a little creativity, you can still live comfortably even when cash flow is tight.