No. You don’t need steak and lobster
There are quite a few things you can do to save money on food. It’s easy to get used to certain brands or develop a habit of buying certain things like frozen dinners and snacks. But if you are looking do reduce your expenses you have to be mindful of what you buy from the super market.
First, pay attention to where you shop. Look for a farmers market, local produce store, or a dollar store to buy your goods rather than huge grocery outlets. Big grocery outlets like Ralphs generally carry big name brand stuff and may mark up prices a bit. You can save a lot of money just by looking for off brands. Also, hunt for as many things that on sale as you can. Couponing is another great option. Just be sure to make a grocery budget and stick to it, avoiding expensive snacks and frozen dinners and resorting more to home cooked meals is a great way of doing this. Also, never ever shop for groceries when you’re hungry.
If you do decide to treat yourself to a night out, hunt for the big specials. Foursquare is a great iPhone and Android app that you can use to look for the most affordable places in your neighborhood. There are also exclusive coupons you can get only through Foursquare, just show the waiter the digital coupon and they’ll redeem it for you.
Cut back on entertainment costs
There may be some things you feel you just can’t do without. But if you are really interested in saving you might consider downsizing to a basic cable package or none at all. Consider utilizing internet for all of your entertainment needs. With Netflix, Hulu, YouTube and other online cable TV phone applications there’s really no reason why you can’t get all your favorite tv shows online. Several networks have begun putting the latest episodes for their most popular shows online now. Plus, there are ways to stream sports games online as well. These methods may not always be in high definition, but when you consider that you’ll be paying only for internet this way, it is totally worth it.
While you’re at it, go ahead and cancel any other unneeded expenses. Go through all of your paid entertainment and consider, is it a want or a need? Granted, you could technically assume all entertainment are wants rather than needs. But be kind to yourself, you don’t necessarily need to boar yourself to tears in order to save money. Just cut back so that you have fewer monthly payments. Considering the fact that you can obtain pretty much all forms of entertainment through the internet, I recommend that service as the only service worth while to keep.
Keeping a watchful eye on overuse of utilities is a great first step. Never leave any lights on, avoid long showers, carefully plan errands to save gas, all the basic stuff. But you can also call your utility companies and get on a budget that will help you plan out your expenditures each month.
While you are working on getting out of debt you’re probably going to have to reduce spending on any hobbies as well. If you have any stores you are easily tempted to buy from it might be a good idea to stop window shopping for a while.
Sell what you can and make extra money on the side
Is there anything you own that you can part with? It’s understandable that you may have things lying around the house that have some emotional attachment, but seriously consider selling any items you have but never use anymore. You may find somethings hard to part with but search your soul. Is it really important to keep? Unless it is a family heirloom or a seriously rare collectible, probably not.
Also, don’t be afraid to try to make money off of your talents. It is a tough economy, in a world where no jobs are guaranteed or permeate and full time hours are hard to come by several several people are resorting to earning extra income through several outlets. They might make a little money here, a little money there. You might do house sitting, house cleaning, baby sitting, or pet sitting for the neighbors. Or you might have special talents like arts and crafts that you can utilize as well. Sell home made jewelry to co-workers. Or you might do a few graphic design gigs or program web apps on top of working a part time job. Whatever talents you have, capitalize on them! What many people fail to realize is that an economy like this is actually the perfect time for innovation and entrepreneurship, and it is that attitude that will turn things around!