Cutting expenses is essential for all households in an uncertain economy. The price of basic household items, local services, and food prices are rising a bit each month. Here are few ways to cut household expenses.
Cutting back on expenses requires first doing a bit of research. It is impossible to create a budget, without having some idea of how much money is actually going out. Use paper or online bank statements to see where the money currently is going.
Create a tentative budget for household bills, entertainment, food, and transportation. Start asking for a receipt when an item is purchased. Keep a hand written ledger of every item that is purchased for the next month. Go back over the paperwork at the end of thirty days to see if the projected budget was near the actual amount spent. This exercise may show that there are some areas where it is impossible to cut back, but will highlight other areas where there is more flexibility.
Many households have monthly services that are optional. Examples are cable television and gym memberships that no one in the family uses on a regular basis. Choosing to watch television shows online and work out at home is one way to cut back.
Trying to figure out grocery coupons can be a bit challenging for beginners. Serious coupon users will benefit from buying multiple copies of the newspaper circulars each Sunday. Clip each coupon and use online free services that help shoppers match up coupons with local sales. Use a baseball card protector to slide like coupons into. Secure the coupons by placing them into a three ring binder. Use dividers to separate the coupons by the aisles of the grocery store. Coupon Mom has a book published that describes how to set up a coupon binder in more detail. If this approach is too challenging, simply use online coupon clipping services and order coupons for the products that are purchased on a regular basis.
Coupons are not only for food and personal hygiene products. Pay attention to local advertisements in free and paid newspapers. Look for coupons that offer a discount for meals or fun activities. Examples are two for one dinner specials, bowling coupons, or discounted sporting event tickets.
Planning how leisure time is spent is the best way to avoid overspending. The entertainment budget will go further if coupons are combined with free activities. Pay special attention to local newspapers and websites that list free events. This could be concerts, local festivals, entrance to dance clubs, or free lessons.
Create opportunities for entertainment at home. Hosting informal potluck dinner parties, having friends over to watch movies, or for coffee and dessert are all low cost ways to avoid going out. There are ways to avoid paying full price for dinners eaten out, when the schedule does not allow for cooking. Purchasing hot or prepared deli items at the grocery store or ordering take out with a coupon is usually always less expense than eating out.
Many people who live within cities have the flexibility to ride on public transportation. Purchasing a bus or transit pass may be less than one hundred dollars. Many people spend several hundred dollars on gas for the month going to work.
Take time to calculate how much money is currently spent on driving during the week. If a credit card is used for gas, simply check the statements for an accurate amount. It is common for many households to live in the suburbs and commute into the cities for work each day. Finding people that are willing to also save money on transportation is not hard. Carpooling with other people who are going to the same destination can save hundreds of dollars a month in fuel costs.
Maintaining ones appearance is where many budgets take a turn for the worse. Regular salon appointments can easily cost a few hundred dollars a month. Receiving salon treatments at home or extending the time in-between appointments is one way to save.
Setting aside clothes in advance for work, romantic dates, or school helps to avoid feeling like there is nothing appropriate to wear. Stop shopping for clothes for leisure enjoyment. Limit shopping trips to buying essential wardrobe items that fall within the monthly budget.
It is common to purchase items that are already at home, because no one knows where the item is. Organizing office supplies, kitchen cabinets, personal care items, and clothing is important. Knowing where things are can save a great deal of money each month. Consider keeping a household organization notebook that lists where items are stored. This helps everyone in the household know where to find things.
Start actively looking for ways to spend less money. Use the money that is saved each month to help prepare for the future. This could be simply opening up a savings account and having a bit of additional cash available for emergencies.