When you are living on one paycheck money can be very tight; you need to be able to make a dollar stretch. There are a lot of items, most bought out of habit not necessity, which would have little or no impact on our lives were we to cut them from our budget. You might also consider cutting fun money from your budget. The following are some lists of the items you can cut when living on one paycheck.
How to cut grocery expenses:
• Don’t buy name brands. It is a common misconception that name brands offer higher quality. This is not always true. Often times, a large portion of the price you pay for something is paying for the label. Store brand crackers, ice cream and detergent are just a few of the hundreds of items which are comparable to their name brand counterparts but cheaper.
• Don’t buy pre-packaged foods. Buying food that is already made is more expensive and, often times, less healthy. To save money and eat healthier, make your own spaghetti sauce, for example or buy chicken and marinate it yourself. You’ll be saving money and eating healthier, too.
• Buy in bulk whenever possible and appropriate. It might seem like you’re spending more money now, but the savings will help you long term. For example, many stores give better prices when you buy meats, pasta and paper goods in bigger quantities.
• Cut out bottled or canned beverages. This would include water, soda and most juices which are not frozen or in powder form. You pay more for the convenience of having these beverages ready-to-drink. This can be a fairly easy item to cut out of any budget.
• Shop with coupons for the grocery items you buy on a regular basis. Using coupons can go a long way toward helping you to cut expenses when living on one paycheck.
How to cut expenses for household items:
• Make sure the item is a need and not a want. Most people buy various items to have them as opposed to buying something because it is a necessary item which will be used. This can help you cut unnecessary expenses from your budget.
• Inventory your closet and those of your family members before you go shopping for new clothing in order to determine what, if anything, you actually need. Most people need enough clothing for one week’s worth of wardrobe changes. More than that, especially when you are on a one-paycheck budget, is unnecessary.
• Re-use items such as Ziploc bags or other storage containers. This will help cut down on your costs because you won’t be buying them new as often and it will allow you to put the money you’re saving toward other necessities.
• Shop sale items as much as possible as this will help you cut expenses, which is important when you are living on a strict budget. Unless you absolutely must have it, never pay full retail price for clothing, appliances or vehicles, to name just a few item categories. Plan ahead when you know a pricey household purchase is coming up then comparison shop before you purchase to make sure you know what’s out there and get the best price.
How to cut your household bills:
• Cut your energy bill by lowering your thermostat a degree or two in winter and putting the thermostat a degree or two higher in the summer. This can save you 10% or more on your monthly electric or gas bill.
• Look into better rates for your cable bill. Many times you can get a better deal by calling your current provider and letting them know you can get a better price if you go to their competitor. You can also get rid of your cable for good, downgrade your service or bundle your cable, phone and landline to save money.
• Look around for better rates on car and home insurance or raise your deductibles. A few dollars a month can go directly into a saving account for emergencies.
Use any or all of these great tip to reduce your expenses. Scrutinize your budget for unnecessary expenditures, items or services you no longer use or don’t use enough to justify the expense, or items you might be more of to get the bulk price or fewer and use them longer. All of these suggestions will help to reduce your expenses which will making living on a one-paycheck budget less painful.