Frugal living can be a challenge. Most people don’t have a lot of money to spend though they must maintain a certain standard of living. Basic costs of living include a house or rent payment, a car or other transportation cost, food, clothes and utility bills. These are basic must haves for everyone. While you might think that you can’t cut back anymore than you have already, here are some easy-to-follow ideas everyone can use in their life to save money.
Make a meal plan. This might be difficult to follow at first, but it will save so much money in the long run. Look at grocery stores’ weekly fliers and figure out which stores have great sales on items you use. Plan your meals around what is on sale. If something is a really good price, stock up on it. Buy just enough that you can make do until it is goes on sale again. When you are making your meal plan, don’t make your meal plan terribly strict and don’t forget to include leftovers. They will probably stack up and are a great solution for a busy night when you don’t have time to cook. If you are the type of person who can be a finicky eater at times, make your meal plan flexible where you have 5 meals picked out for the week but you which night you have each meal on is not set in stone.
Establish one day of the week as your errand day. While this might seem an almost impossible for parents with kids, try to do all of your shopping in one day. This might involve dropping off your kids at soccer practice and running around while they’re occupied, but it will save you time, money and gas, in part because if you’ve got 90 minutes, you’re going to get organized to maximize those minutes. While you are buying your week’s worth of food, pick up a bag of candy, a couple bottles of soda and maybe a few other ‘back up goodies’. Keep these items in your pantry, away from young eyes, but close at hand for those times when your child informs you, as you’re putting them to bed the night before that they need 2 dozen cupcakes for treat day and treat day is less than 12 hours away! While that trick won’t work every time, try to store what you can.
Use coupons. Coupons are great money savers, in some cases allowing you to buy more of something you need, for less. A great coupon resource is one of the many coupon websites out there. Two great websites are www.coolsavings.com and www.upons.com. They both have tons of free-to-print coupons.
Visit websites whose focus is frugal living. When you have mastered the basics of saving money, visit www.mommysavers.com and www.frugalvillage.com. They are both great websites that help people who are living frugally, providing great tips and insights into saving money and stretching a dollar; they can give you ideas to help you save even more money than you thought possible.
When you are living with a tight budget, focus on staying within your budget which will allow you to not be anxious about money. Pay the bills first, of course, and make sure that you are saving money where you can. Examine your spending habits, cut down where and when you can. Have a garage sale, perhaps or pick up an extra job for a short time to make a little extra money. Use the great tips and suggestions in this article to live frugally, happily.