Can't live within your budget? Here are some saving ideas that might help
A listing of ideas on how to save money and stay within your budget.
I know that spending today is on the rise. You work hard for your money, let it work equally hard for you!
Spending today is climbing hourly, or so it seems. No matter how tight a budget you create, there always seems to be something that costs more than you thought; or some unexpected expense that creeps up to throw your budget completely out of whack. With the economy so troubled, we all need to tighten our belts in an effort to ride out the wave of unemployment and low wages. Here are a few ideas that can help you feather your nest a little deeper so that those unexpected expenses don't seem to be so harsh.
Before we begin, how about a poll to see how you are faring in this tough economy--
Are you having trouble making ends meet?
Solar energy is a great way to save money.
Check out the possibility of using solar energy. Aside from the initial cost to install, solar energy is virtually free. You have to purchase the equipment and read all directions carefully before installing and then you have to keep the elements clean and clear for maximum performance.
There are solar panels you put on your roof, ones you can set up on your deck, and even ones that will work from a window. Solar systems don't have to be big to be useful and with solar energy your utility bills will take a dramatic drop (for the better).
Coupons are another way to save your hard earned money
Use coupons when shopping. With today’s technology it is easier than ever to get coupons for all of your shopping needs. Go to each company’s website that you purchase products from such as Kelloggs products or you can go directly to the store site (like Walmart) for coupons. Each website offers different options such as coupons, membership discounts, recipes and/or games. All you need is the internet and a color printer. (And be sure you carefully keep track of your passwords). The Sunday paper, magazines, store circulars, coupon sites are also great sources of coupons. And, if you like to eat out, many restaurants have sites that offer coupons and special deals to their customers or you can go to a site like restaurant.com. It takes a bit of work, but the benefits will definitely pay off in the long run.
If you are like me, even with coupons restaurants are way too expensive right now
But there are alternatives--
So buy your food and cook your meals at home. By cooking your meals from scratch, you are not only reducing the amount of chemicals that you and your family consume, but you are saving money as well. Best of all, you will have great tasting leftovers for the next day’s lunch. Check online for new and exciting recipes that you can tweak to your family’s tastes. Cooking light is a great site for recipes and ideas.
Buy fruit and produce while in season because they are abundant and usually cheaper. Farmer's Markets are great places to get your fruits and veggies at a good price, and you know they are fresh! Frozen fruits and vegetables are nearly as healthy as fresh, and when they are on sale, you can stock up for less.
Avoid “cherry picking” when you shop, though. Cherry Picking is when you go from store to store purchasing only the sale items. Although in the short run this seems to save money, you could actually be spending more in gas consumption. Instead, check out the sales and see which store has the most items on sale that you use. That one is probably your best bet for all of your shopping that week. Read the weekly flyers that usually come in the papers or in the mail, don't just throw them out or use them to start your BBQ. They will be your best guide to where you can do your best savings-shopping.
When you have large purchases to make:
Price shop for your large purchases such as refrigerators or computers. Check out stores pricing, online pricing (at sites like Amazon or ebay) and special sales and deals. Then, before you purchase, check out the items repair costs, durability, and energy rating by logging onto the Consumer Reports site or Consumer Digest site. This way you can compare the short-term and long-term savings of your appliance.
Before you actually make the purchase, there is one other thing you should do: check into refurbished appliances. Many companies that repair and sell these items will offer a one-year warranty on their work. You will get a similar warranty for a new one, so why pay the extra cost? Even name brand items can break down now and then.
Another trick is to check out generic brands, not only in large purchases, but in everyday purchases as well. Often the items are just as good but cost less because you are not paying for the name. There are generic brands out there for just about anything you want to buy and they will definitely save you money; but you should be careful to check out the quality of an item before you purchase to make sure they work properly.
Use consignment stores, flea markets and yard sales to sell your items and make money
Or to purchase items used
Take a moment to look around your home and find things that you don’t use and/or don’t need. These items can be sold at a consignment store to earn extra money. Some consignment stores will give you immediate credit for your items so that you can purchase items that you actually need. For example: your little angel has outgrown every pair of pants she owns. With little money for extras, you take all of her pants to a consignment store and get store credit of $25. You then shop for pants she can wear (and probably take home more than you brought in).
At flea markets (or yard sales) you can save money by buying used; but you can also offer a trade of something you don't use anymore. Or just rent a spot and sell your own things. The money will come in handy I assure you.
Who knows, you might find something you never thought you would ever see
DIY can save you thousands of dollars in home repairs and renovations
Many in-home projects are fairly simple if you know how to do them. For information on how to do it, go on line, go to the library for books on the subject, go to a do-it-yourself store like Lowes or Home Depot and ask lots of questions of everyone. Before long, you will be sawing, painting, hammering, and installing all on your own. Don't worry if you don't have the correct tools, you can actually rent them and return them when you are done.
And, if you stumble upon something that you really feel is above your abilities, shop around before you hire a professional. There are many groups out there that will give you a list of good professional's in your area. You can also go to the Better Business Bureau to see if they have a good rating; and there is always word of mouth--ask family and friends what professional they use.
These are a few ideas that can help you save money in your endeavor to 'make ends meet'
I have only listed a few, but there are so many more things you can do to save money and keep within your budget. Take the initiative to seek out your own savings ideas. And remember two specific rules:
- Read everything before you sign (and ask if you don’t understand)
- Research the item before you buy it especially if it is a large purchase like a new appliance.
- Oh yes, one more: If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is!
Saving money is not an easy task by any means, but it is worth the effort in the long run because once you begin, you don't stop; and you will eventually have a giant mountain of your own (okay, maybe not a mountain, but at least a mole hill.....)