It is a tight economy, and even if you have a good household income everyone is looking for ways to save a few dollars here and there. Here are 10 ways to do life on the cheap without much effort.
1. Become a coupon clipper. Many online websites now have online coupons that you can print off to use for everyday items. Also look for coupons and specials from your local grocery store, as well as newspaper coupons that are printed weekly.
2. Shop at your local dollar store. There are many dollar stores around your neighborhood and many offer name brand products for just a buck. Even if it isn’t a brand you have heard of, I have found many of the products to be good tasting and decent quality. Even if it saves you just a nickel, it’s worth picking up a few items at your local dollar store.
3. Re-Use your ziploc bags and throwaway containers. Clean, rinse, repeat. Your sandwich bags are even worthy of a cleaning. Throughout the course of a year you can save yourself a handful of dollars just by reusing your plastic items.
4. Carpool with coworkers, friends or family. If you are headed to family get together, work, or on a vacation, figure out ways to fit as many people as possible into one vehicle. Be sure to use the honor system and return the ride to your driver, or consider giving some money towards the gas expenses.
5. Cook and bake at home. It’s easy just to pick up a bag of Swiss Cake Rolls at the store, or order in chinese, but when you figure in leftovers and tip, it’s often much more resourceful for you to cook at home. If you don’t have the funds to grocery shop, there are a few websites where you can enter the ingredients you already have at home to come up with a tasty new recipe.
6. Streamline your errands. Let the yellow pages become your friend, and find out if the post office you’ve been going to, your grocery store, and other regular errands are the most convenient to your daily route. If you make an effort to plan ahead before you leave, you are bound to save yourself several gallons of gas in a week’s time. If you’re like me, and forget what errands you need to run, always keep a tablet and pen handy.
7. Borrow, barter or trade with friends. If you want something new, and are not sure you can afford it, consider borrowing it, bartering it or trading something for it with a friend. Sometimes you can even find a craigslist offer for items you may want to sell, and items you want to receive. Be innovative and figure out ways to get the items you want by using the skills or items you already have. Need a grill for a cookout? Borrow from a neighbor. Need a new couch? Consider trading the hutch in storage for it. Need someone to fix your plumbing? Consider using a trade you know to do in exchange for the repair.
8. Find creative second jobs. There are many direct sales and work from home programs available. There are many minimal skill part time jobs that you can pick up and work when you are able to provide yourself with some extra spending money.
9. Cut the frills. Do you need the ultra fast high speed internet? Why not go for the medium grade high speed internet and save yourself $10 a month? How often are you using your gym membership? If it doesn’t justify the monthly expense, get out of your contract, or put it on hold until you are able to use it. Lawn man coming twice a week? Why not mow your own lawn and get some exercise in the process? There are a few ways for you to cut small expenses that will make a bit impact in your monthly budget.
10. Be creative. As I always say, living life on the cheap requires creative thinking. Come up with ways in your personal life where you can save even just a few cents. Minimal changes can often make the biggest different in your monthly budget.