We all love the fine things in life…but there is peace of mind in maintaining a budget and living within your means.The great news is that you can still lead a comfortable life by adhering to a few simple strategies and guess what? You’ll have LOTS of extra cash in your wallet without the feeling of going without anything. It just takes a little knowledge and then a little discipline and all these things will become like second nature.
Buy in Bulk and Walk
Healthy food is NOT more expensive than junk food if you buy it right. Buy in bulk, use your freezer to stock up and don’t make it a priority to buy organic which can be a lot of cash.
Buy meat that is on sale (generally the most expensive item on grocery bills)and substitute other types of food that can give you protein once and awhile (beans for example).
Walking is a cheap and effective exercise for the busy. A nice brisk walk can also clear the head. Why not go for this option instead of a busy, loud gym that costs a lot of cash?
Garden and Cook
If you want to take your healthy lifestyle savings to the next level you can grow your own fruit and veggies in the garden or even inside the house, and cook your own food instead of dining out all the time. There are plenty of fruits and vegetables that don’t take up a lot of space.
You have access to thousands of recipes online and free cooking videos, and you can prepare meals for the next few days and keep them in plastic containers, and bring them to work. Growing your own fruit and vegetables, and cooking more can save you an extra 10% on your grocery bills.
Be a Bargain Hunter
Shopping for something only when you absolutely need it doesn’t leave you with a lot of options. For example, buying a big warm jacket during the winter means you’ll have to pay the full price, while you can buy one in the summer for half price.
Sometimes an exceptional opportunity presents itself, and the money you spend now saves you a lot more down the road. Depending on the discount or special offer involved, hunting for good deals can save you anywhere between 15% and 50% on a variety of items. One of my favourite stock up items is coffee. When it is on sale I sometimes save up to $6 a tin.
Educate yourself So You Can Buy Smart
Become informed. A higher price doesn’t necessarily mean better quality. With hygiene products like shampoos, tooth pastes and soaps in particular, there is no noticeable difference between reasonably priced and top of the line products, apart from packaging and marketing.
The more you know about phones, cameras, fashion and other areas, the better you will be able to judge whether a product is worth the price tag or not. By being an informed shopper, on top of looking for bargains, you can save another 5-15% while getting the same quality goods.
Bad Habits are a Complete WASTE OF MONEY
Are you a smoker, drinker or even excessive or extravagant eater? Everything in moderation is generally ok, but these items listed will generally rob you of your cash and eventually of your health as well. Anything excessive…even like impulsive shopping is a killer on the budget. Not only can ditching bad habits do wonders for your overall mental and physical health, which means spending less on medical bills, but it can help you cut your spending by another 10-30%.
Consider switching to a wood-burning stove
The heating bill is usually one of the biggest hit to everyone’s budget. When winter comes you don’t have much of a choice than to keep the house warm by any means available. However, even though some DIY insulation solutions can help you keep the place warmer, a wood-burning stove is a very cheap heating solutions and will last for decadences. Gettingquality firewood will keep the fire going for a long time and isn’t expensive, but will require some work to chop up and store properly. A stove will require an initial investment, but will quickly pay for itself, as it keeps you warm winter after winter, and will save you up to 20% on your heating bill.
Bundle Up during the winter
You can save on your heating during the coldest months even further if you dress for the season. A simple solution is to wear warm socks and slippers, and layered clothing, so that you can keep the temperature a bit lower and still stay warm enough. This can cut another 3-5% from your bills.
Limit Water Use
You’d be surprised at how much you’ll save on your water bill if you start turning it off while you brush your teeth or soap up during a shower, use a low flow to quickly rinse the dishes and turning it off until you’ve applied detergent and scrubbed them off and so on. You can also get more efficient shower heads and faucets. This can save you a nice 5-8% on your bills, depending how many people you have in your household.
Libraries Still Exist
Buying books can be expensive, while joining a library isn’t. A library also provides quiet workspace that can save you money compared to working at a coffee shop where you are required to buy food. Libraries have Wi-Fi so you can also use your computer. Depending on how much time you spend at the library, you can save some 5-10% on coffee shop bills.
Hand wash items and hang dry when possible. Drycleaning is an option that should only be used for clothing that has no other options. This can include suits and dresses lined with materials like acetate. You will save hundreds a year if you take the time to alter your dry-cleaning habits.
BOTTOM LINE: These simple and effective cost-cutting measures will allow you to shave a fifth or fourth off your monthly spending.
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