|When you’re working to get out of debt, every penny counts. Here are some ways to find more wiggle room in your budget.
Evaluate needs vs. wants
Ask yourself that question about every purchase: do I really need another pair of shoes? Possibly. Or do I just want them? Put off purchasing the things you want and focus on what you absolutely need right now. Even for necessities like clothes and food, you can often find ways to spend less.
Brown-bag-it more often
Ever tracked how much you spend on restaurants? Take your lunch to work every day and you could easily save $30-$50 or more per week, about $200 a month. Make eating out a once-a-week event for your family rather than once-a-day, and you could save hundreds more. When you do eat out, use coupons. And investigate which restaurants offer free kids’ meals on certain nights of the week.
Don’t pay full price for anything. Take time to comparison shop so you aren’t fooled by advertising; smart consumers know what is truly a good deal. Shop consignment and second-hand stores, even garage sales, for clothing, furniture and appliances.
Don’t window shop to beat boredom
Wandering aimlessly around store aisles is hazardous to your budget. The temptation to make impulse purchases may overcome you. Instead, use your downtime to visit the library, volunteer, take a walk, talk to a friend, or attend free community events.
Make a list before shopping
For groceries, plan a week’s worth of menus and try to shop only once a week with list in hand. Stick to the list. Even track the cost of what’s going into your cart as you go along to make sure you’re not overspending. Knowing what you’re going to cook in advance also reduces the temptation to eat out again.
Investigate more ways to save
Find lots of books on thrifty living at your local library. Google “frugal living” and find tons of creative ideas for ways to cut spending and save.
Or make a free appointment with one of our certified counselors. They’ve helped thousands of people get on the path to better money management.