Some simple tips to help you reevaluate your current household spending.
1. Stop buying unnecessary items. Think twice before you throw something in your shopping cart and ask yourself if it’s REALLY an item you NEED or just something you DESIRE. You will be so surprised at how many things are not something your family really needs to survive. When you wake up and really pay attention to what you’re buying and snap out of “auto pilot shopping”, you will be truly amazed at what you can save.
2. Shop second hand.
I know some people turn their noses up at this idea but if you’re looking for ways to save then you have no reason to shy away from gently used items. Second hand stores are great and you can find real gems if you look hard enough. There are enough wealthy people in the world who get rid of clothing and items after limited usage just because something better comes along. The items are usually in next to perfect condition when sent off to the second hand store and waiting to be collected at less than half the regular price.
3. Stop trying to keep up with the neighbors.
Some people can afford to have that gourmet coffee each morning and afternoon that cost $5.00 a serving. Good for them. The rest of us really can not and if we think about how much that adds up to at the end of the month it’s scary. Make your lunch instead of buying out everyday because that also adds up to a ridiculous amount over time. It takes a little self control and discipline but it’s well worth it in the end when you have more money in your pocket for important necessities. Who cares if the lady across the street has 50,000 Christmas lights on her house and they twinkle and dance and make your heart sing with joy! Your house doesn’t have to be the same and no one expects it to be, those darn lights are expensive. One simple rule – live simple, it’s that simple!
4. Prepare meals in advance.
Instead of picking up take out on the way home from work because you’re too tired to cook, take something you made out of the freezer. Here’s a good tip I learned over the years – make HUGE meals and freeze the left overs for another meal down the road. Do this a few times and you will have a freezer full of possible meal options. You can also make cooking a fun family activity on the weekend if you have older kids who are willing to lend a hand. Prepare a few good meals for the coming week and freeze them. Another possibility is to use a slow cooker. Stews and chillies are easy to make and takes little time to prepare, the slower cooker does the rest. The best thing is you get to come home to a hot meal that is ready for you and your family to eat, no fuss, no mess.
5. Are your kids draining your pockets?
Are you a yes parent? Admit it if you can’t say no to the wants of your children and assess the reasons why. It’s not healthy for them or you to always give in and give and give without making them work for it. If you have teenage kids let them prepare the meals when they get home from school or during the weekend. Kids like to feel important, and then you can reward them with the money they deserve. They will think twice about asking for everything they see, or money all the time if they know they have to work for it. They will also appreciate more the things they essentially bought themselves, and you will be teaching them how it works out there in the real world!
Saving money means taking a good hard look at your current spending habits, and making some simple changes. Admitting that you are not made of money helps as well. Keep life simple by not over spending, at the end of the day it takes away a lot of unnecessary stress.
Published in: Personal Finance