Budget Cuts

If you are in a position where money is tight you may need to look at some ways in which to tighten your budget. You may not know where to look in order to do this, so here are some suggestions:

1. Look for places where you are wasting your money without even realizing it. There may be a way to find a cell phone plan, long distance phone provider and Internet provider that are cheaper. You could even cancel your long distance and purchase phone cards to use. Maybe you should refinance your car and mortgage payments. If you have purchased memberships that you are not getting your money’s worth out of, then it may be time to cancel them. You will also want to call your utility company and ask them about budget payments. If that is not possible then try to turn the temperature down in your home just a few degrees and install devices that will save you energy whenever possible.

2. Keep an eye on your credit cards. Try to consolidate your balances in order to get an interest rate that is lower. If you have any automatic charges that can be cancelled, now would be the time to do so.

3. Plan family vacations that will not cost a lot of money. Whenever you travel you should try to drive somewhere local instead of flying somewhere. You should also look for hotel rooms that have a kitchen in them so that you can cook your own meals. You can also carry an ice chest with you. Take along your snacks and ingredients for sandwiches. If you want to try something new, you could always give camping a try.

4. Utilize co-ops as much as you possibly can. Create a co-op for anything that you can think of. A food co-op where each family makes a meal on a different night will save time and money. A co-op for babysitting will save on childcare costs, as you are able to trade babysitting duties.

5. Do not go out to eat at restaurants. Most families eat out at least four times each week. This takes a lot out of your budget. Make picnic lunches whenever you go on an outing, take snacks with you and make coffee before leaving home in the morning.

6. Keep an eye out for cheap entertainment. Try renting a movie or borrowing one from the local library instead of going to the theatre. If you do not watch TV that much you may consider canceling the cable. Have family game nights and try making presents instead of buying them.

7. Become a more knowledgeable shopper. Take a look at your food bill. You could save a lot by buying in bulk, buying generic, clipping or trading coupons and mailing in rebates. Take time to look through second hand stores whenever you are buying clothes, furniture, toys and other such items. If you are buying appliances then ask for the floor model. Another thing to try is skipping the pricey salons and going somewhere cheaper instead.

8. Above all, you need to keep a tight rein on your budget. Some people prefer to have cash on hand. In this case use an envelope system in order to divvy up your bills then place money in it each pay day so that you’re sure that you will have the money that is needed to pay that bill. If you prefer to use a bank account then maybe you should have two bank accounts: one for personal use and one for paying bills. Take a moment to add together your yearly total for all of the fixed bills and divide by twelve then drop that amount of money into the bank account each month. While it will take some time to implement these actions, in the end they will prove themselves worthwhile. You will soon see that you have more money available to you than you ever had before. Of course you do not want to go out and go on a shopping spree with this money so tuck it away somewhere safe for a rainy day.

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