I know that when your budget is already tight, it is hard to think of couponing or doing anything that seems like spending money in order to save. Here are a few ways I have been able to stretch a budget that is already tight.
Reevaluate your spending, look over household expenses and find ways to cut back. I have found that when things get tight I can look over our budget and find that things like phone services, cable, eating out and other expenses can be changed to save money or cut back all together.
With gas prices ever on the rise, our gas budget keeps having to rise to match the increase. Look for things to do close to home, visit a park, take a walk with the kids. I have found that when I am trying to keep my activities closer to home rather than traveling all the way to Seattle or other areas to seek entertainment that my gas bill is cut in half.
Make one trip a week for groceries or plan your shopping trips around times you will already be out and near the store you need. By not going out for special shopping trips every time a great deal comes up you could save yourself a ton of gas and time.
There are many ways to save on your grocery budget, and I think it is good to use more than one method of savings. I match store sales with coupons, play the drugstore game, and shop at winco for all my bulk foods. I have been able to significantly decrease our monthly grocery budget and leave extra wiggle room for other areas we want to spend in.
Make it from scratch. Generally you can make a lot of items healthier and cheaper if you are willing to put in the elbow grease and make stuff from scratch. Currently I make my own applesauce, jam, bread, and spaghetti sauce. I am always looking for more things I can do for myself to save money at the grocery store.
Again, make it from scratch. We do budget in a weekly dinner out but I can tell you that when things get really tight that is one of the areas that I cut back on. I have found many recipes for homemade takeout that taste delicious and I am always willing to try making it myself if I have a craving for some good take out and can’t afford to spend the money.
Clothes and Household Items-
Shop thrifty!! I go to consignment shops, thrift stores, craigslist and ebay to try to find what I need before I spend the big money at department stores. Many people have the items you are looking for in great condition for a fraction of the price. Sometimes you have to watch and wait which is contrary to our nature in this culture but it can pay out big when you find that item for a fraction of the cost.
Clearance sales are another way to find items at a great price. If I see an item I love I watch it throughout the season and when it goes on clearance snag it up at a great discount.
Clearance is a great way to buy gifts. I find this especially true for kids toys and clothes. There are also coupons that come out on coupons.com or the playsaver in the Sunday paper that can be matched with sales or clearance to get a great price.
Cut back where you can, I realize every family has different needs and priorities but everyone can cut back in some way. Our family doesn’t pay for cable or home phone but we can’t live without fast internet speed.
Call your utitity company and ask if they have any special rates, especially if it’s been a while. Cable prices tend to rise after about a year to astronomical amounts (hence the no cable here) but if you call they will offer their new package price which gives you the newest discount. It never hurts to ask for a discount.
Think outside the box, and be creative when a need arises. You will likely find that there is a solution that doesn’t cost as much as purchasing something new or paying full price.