Whether you’re cutting costs because you need to or want to, the process should be manageable and positive. These 10 tips can help reduce your spending this week without making major sacrifices or time commitments.
- Make a Budget.
Before taking action, sit down and figure out what you have to work with, then prioritize your expenditures. Making a budget is the most important thing you can do because then you will be able to understand where your money is going and where you can afford to make cuts.
- Create a Shopping List.
Sticking to a list will make you less likely to buy impulsively and forget necessary items, both of which can quickly increase the amount of money spent in a week. You will also save money on gas because you won’t be making as many trips to the store.
- Clip Coupons and Compare Prices.
Buy an additional copy of the Sunday paper and check through all the store circulars you receive. You can also find coupons online. If couponing isn’t your thing, spend a little time researching where you can get the most for your money.
- Shop Smarter at the Grocery Store.
Try cutting back on grocery shopping overall to use up what you have before purchasing more. However, if you need to make a trip to the supermarket, avoid going hungry and try to make some compromises. Find alternatives for those expensive items on your list. If you like organic food, consider buying only organic for the produce most susceptible to chemical residue. Instead of buying all organic.
- Pack Your Lunch.
Although it might not be the most enticing option, the money you can save by bringing lunch from home instead of eating out every day can really add up. To add variety, try getting your co-workers involved, too. Get a group together and pick a day for each person to bring lunch for everyone. You will save money, eat healthier and have fun at the same time.
- Cancel Email Deals and Sale Alerts.
Avoid the temptation of unnecessary shopping by unsubscribing to daily deal emails and other sale announcements. Get out of the mindset that shopping sales when you don’t need to shop is saving you money. Sure, you are going to spend less money that you normally would have, but would you have spent that money anyway.
- Buy Things Used.
You can save a lot of money shopping at thrift stores, yard sales or even on Craigslist and eBay. Stop thinking that everything you buy has to be brand new. And just because you are buying used doesn’t mean you are buying junk.
- Drive Less, Bike More.
Not everyone can cut out driving completely, so focus on making reasonable compromises. A lot of people cannot bike everywhere because of long commutes, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use a bike to get to places locally. Not only will you spend less on gas, but you will get more exercise too.
- Evaluate Your Utilities and Services.
Call your cable and internet providers to see if you can negotiate a lower bill. If not, consider reducing or cutting those services altogether. There are so many other options out there for less, like Netflix and Hulu. To keep your utility costs down, opt for fans instead of air conditioning and turn off all unused lights and appliances.
- Save Before You Spend.
Instead of rushing to the store on payday, consider the long-term benefits of reducing your spending today. Another way to cut spending is to adopt a ‘save-first’ mentality. Whether you store money in a separate savings account, an emergency fund or in retirement savings, make those contributions right away, before you spend a dime on anything beyond the necessities.
Finally, establish good habits for the future. Consider turning these immediate changes into long-term habits to keep your overall spending low. Don’t say no to everything because you are much more likely to give up if that happens. Frugal living isn’t about waiting for things, it is about spending less on the things that don’t matter to you as much, so you can spend more money and time on the things that do matter.