Saving money is one of the most common goals people set for themselves. Not everyone follows through with it. Taking a portion of your income and moving it into a savings account is effective. It provides incentive to not touch that money. But what are you doing with the rest of that money? A great deal of money can be saved by monitoring two parts of your budget: food and entertainment. The best and easiest way to save money is to cut down spending. Some of the methods I am going lay out for you require dedication and discipline but in the long run, they are easy and effective.
Be Mindful of Your Pantry
If you’re like me, then you know that at the end of the month your food pantry is a mess. There’s a multitude of items past their expiration date and even more food that you might have even forgotten about. For this first tip I will explain how we can make the most of what we already have and avoid this from happening to limit the amount of waste.
- To start, take a look at your pantry, freezer, refrigerator etc.
- Take note of what is still good and what is not.
- Toss out anything past its prime and make a list of all the food that is still good.
- With your list of remaining food make a plan for the immediate future to use up all the remaining food.
- Collect recipes you can use for that food for your meals until the food is all gone.
As for the future, do your best to make a meal plan for you and your family. Make shopping lists for the grocery store and try your best to avoid impulse buying. Only buy enough food for the immediate future. I’m not suggesting you stop trying new things. After all, that is what makes life worth living. Just remember that wasted food is a waste of money in the end.
Make Healthier Choices
My next tip will not only help out your wallet but may also improve your overall health. Dieting can be very expensive, I know. I’m not asking you to abandon all of the foods you love. Instead I am suggesting that you make a few replacements in your overall diet that can save you a pretty penny at the end of the month.
Drink More Water
Water costs less than anything else you may be guzzling down. Filtering your water from your tap is the best choice. Even if you are buying cases of bottled water you will save money. Compare the price of a case of water to a case of soda. If you need added flavor, consider a few drops of lemon juice or even powdered drink mix like Crystal Lite. You will still be saving money vs. cases or gallons of soft drinks and it will be an overall improvement to your health. Remember: Your body needs water. It does not need soda pop.
Eat More Vegetables
Eating a salad with every meal will cause you to feel full faster with less on your main plate. Salad is generally quite cheap depending on which brands or packaging is available at your market. Vegetables don’t last very long in your refrigerator, so you will feel more compelled to eat it if you are committed to saving money.
If you don’t have much of a taste for salads there is a plethora of different type of dressings available that may suit your palate.
Make Your Own Fun
If you are accustomed to weekly nights out with friends this may be a tough sacrifice. Face it. Those nights out are costing you a bundle. Start by adding up how much you are spending per month on outside entertainment, drinks and meals. If the number makes you expel a deep sigh of despair then you may want to set a goal for yourself. Socializing is healthy. I am in no way suggesting you kill your social life. Start saving by limiting the number of times you go out per week. Set a maximum spending limit for yourself per night out.
You may also consider asking your friends to come over to your place to hang out instead of going out. You can be a good host and frugal at the same time. Drinks at the bar cost a lot more than drinks from the store.
Follow these simple tips and watch as your financial situation will improve. You can save hundreds every month by sticking to these guidelines. In my experience, drinking primarily water has tremendous health benefits. Your overall well being may be enough motivation to keep your good saving habits from going away. Pay attention to how much food you are buying and stay in a couple nights out of the month to preserve your income.
Refer to my previously published “Managing a Budget” article for assistance.
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