by Anza Goodbar
(last updated November 22, 2011)
The current economy has brought about the need for many families to tighten their budgetary belts. It has become common place to evaluate our wants versus our needs. Many of us have determined there are certain things we can give up without feeling like our lifestyles have been yanked from beneath us.
When looking at ways you can reduce your cost of living to meet new reduced salary limitations or to start a savings plan, here are some simple things to consider:
Eating out. Many people eat out for lunch every day. An average person could potentially save $40 a week in dining out costs. Many families also eat out for the evening meal as well, especially if both parents work. Cutting back on the number of times you eat out monthly and cooking at home can save $200 a month or more. As a family, plan your menu; look for new and exciting recipes that are easy and nutritious. Use a crock pot so dinner is ready when you get home from work.
Buy out of season. If you have kids, look for clothes that will fit them in the next seasonal cycle. Purchasing clothing at the end of a seasonal cycle can reap savings of up to 80%. Some second hand stores will also let you trade in gently worn children's clothing in exchange for bigger sizes to accommodate your children's growth.
Take a look at recurring costs. Are there things like coffee, magazine subscriptions or costs related to entertainment that you could downsize? It is not necessary to give everything up, but perhaps by curtailing the number of activities or frequency could save hundreds of dollars a year.
Set a definite budget. Determine the amount of money you can spend on wants and stick to it. Everyone needs to be able to splurge once in a while. Be disciplined but allow yourself an occasional treat, within reason.
Take advantage of generic or store brands. When possible, substitute generic brands for name brands. You can same 20-30% off your total grocery bill. Cutting coupons can also add to the savings on items you regularly purchase.
Cutting back does not have to be drastic. There are a myriad of ways to save money and reduce your cost of living expenses. The most important factor is your attitude, decide what concessions you can make and stick to them!
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