Running a household is no less difficult than managing a business. Just like a business can’t be managed without a plan, one can’t run a house without a budget. And with the costs of all items spiraling upwards, making a budget is the only way to run a household and keep your sanity intact at the same time.
If your grocery bills are sky-high and you want to do something to cut costs, help is at hand. These simple suggestions will help you bring down your expenses.
Analyze Your Spending Habits and Expenses
If you want to keep your expenses in check, you need to know how much you actually spend every month on everything. The easiest way to do this would be to separate your expenses into different categories. Most households spend money on the necessities that include food, gas, rent, and other utilities; loans and bills; recreational activities such as trips, movies, etc.; and long-term savings.
Calculate how much you spend on these things and subtract the total from the household income. If you get a negative number, you obviously need to cut down on your expenses. If you’re trying to save money for something, figure out how much you need to put aside every month to get what you want.
Make a List
Making a list will help you separate your wants and needs. You can’t do without the items you need, so list them. The wants might be things that you can easily do without.
By making do without the non-essential things, you’ll be saving money to get what you really want. And that’s exactly why you’re making a budget! Remember to take your list with you when you go shopping. Avoid shopping for things not mentioned at all costs.
You can also consider cutting down on your bad habits to save money. Drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes not only affects your health, but these things contribute to your expenses too. Giving up on alcohol and cigarettes will keep you healthy, thus helping you save on future healthcare expenses.
To stay on budget or to spend as little as possible, you’ll need to act smart. The easiest thing to do is to keep track of the days and times when your local store offers discounts or holds a sale. Stores also offer discounts on select items on certain days. Note down your observations for future reference and plan your shopping trips accordingly.
Also check out all the stores in your locality and find out which one offers maximum discounts on various products. You can buy supplies from different stores instead of buying everything from one place. Stay away from corner stores and stores near gas stations; they are the most expensive ones.
Compare the prices of fruits and vegetables too so you get the best deal. Purchase staples, sanitary products, toiletries, etc. in bulk to save some dough. Be sure to only buy as much as you need; you don’t want to buy more than you can use before it goes bad.
Ask your store for special schemes or store saving cards. Using such cards can add to your savings. Always look out for advertisements in newspapers for special discounts. Some stores may not advertise their special prices; checkout the higher and lower shelves for unadvertised deals.
Use Coupons Wisely
True, it takes a lot of trouble to clip coupons and store them. But if you take the pains to do this chore diligently, you can easily save up to 20% on your bills.
Look for coupons in the mail, in newspapers, store flyers, etc. and save them for future use. But be sure to use coupons only for items you need to buy. Don’t buy things you don’t need at all just because you are getting a good deal.
Look for Alternatives
If you look hard, you’ll find plenty of things available at lower prices. You just need to be open to trying out other brands. Remember that most of the times, branded products are just the same as generic ones. Try a store-branded product; you may not notice any difference at all.
Of course, there’ll always be a few things that you can’t compromise on. But try out alternatives for as many items as possible and you could save a lot of money.
When trying out new items, you might want to consider purchasing smaller sized packs first. This way, if you don’t like something and want to discard it, you won’t be wasting a lot of money. Also try out freebies for certain products; if you like a product, you can buy it in bulk.
Minimizing your waste can help you spend significantly less. But how do you do that? It’s simple- cook less food if you happen to throw unfinished meals every day. You can also cook large meals and store them in the freezer. Thaw only as much as you need to eat.
It will also help to store any leftovers in the fridge for consumption on the next day. You can also use leftovers to make new and tastier meals! Look up recipes on the Internet and you’ll find interesting things to do with your leftovers.
Armed with these suggestions, you’re sure to get your expenses under control. Do keep in mind that spending less money doesn’t mean eating food that is of low nutritional value. Always make sure you’re purchasing healthy stuff instead of unhealthy items.