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Living on a shrinking budget: 10 tips

If you’re like most other people in America, you’re living budget is decreasing as the days go by. Here are a few tips for making your money last without having to completely sacrifice the things you enjoy.

1. Learn how to cook/bake at home- That $50 meal could have bought your groceries for a few days. I’m sure your cooking isn’t that bad.
2. Get off your high horse- This is for all of you who enjoy “the finer things in life.” There off-brands for a reason. Maybe you could afford the expensive, “superior” brands at one time, but if you can’t anymore, stop kidding yourself.
3. Plan ahead- Grab some paper and a pen. Now, before you go out on your day of errands, write out exactly what you need and where you need to go. Once that’s done, think about the locations of everything. Plan where you’ll go in accordance to that.
4. Find the scissors- This goes along with the high horse. If you need to use coupons, use them. That’s why they’re there. There’s nothing wrong with it and if done right, it can save you lots of money.

5. Buy used- I’ll agree, there are some things that you don’t want to buy used. Still, that leaves lots of other things that you can buy used, like furniture, clothing, purses and electronics. Check out thrift stores, Goodwill and Craigslist.
6. Invest in necessities- We all have our vices. For many Americans, coffee is something we cannot live without on a daily basis. You can find affordable coffee makers and everything you need to make your morning coffee, at home, for much cheaper than what you’re paying now. You’ll be surprised at how much you’ll save.
7. Share with friends- It’s nice to have good friends, it’s even nicer to have friends who like to share. Everyone has something to share, whether it be a talent, money or some product. If your friend knows how to cook and you don’t, ask her to teach you. In exchange, you can let her borrow a few of your books or tools or something. It can be just like the good ole days with bartering.
8. Find other hobbies- You might think that your hobby is going to Home Depot and spending $200 on tools, or you might think that your hobby is getting a manicure for $75. I’m sure you enjoy those things immensely, but there are better, more cost efficient ways to spend your time.
9. Have a garage sale- Everyone has extra stuff around the house that is never used. There’s really no reason to keep it. (Unless it has some sentimental value, if so then it’s excused.) It’s not as difficult as you think to just gather it up, put a sign in your yard and let people buy it from you. It won’t be as painful as you think either… especially after you begin to reap the reward ($$$).
10. Teach your children- It can be hard to tell your precious little child “No,” but sometimes you have to. It’s even more difficult when they’re used to getting what they want most of the time. Now’s the time to start some new habits of teaching your children to work for their money and teaching you to tell them “No.”

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