Are you looking for a way to quick-start or fine-tune your savings plan? Check out my SCORE method for my top 5 saving tips (and this has been updated from what I’ve taught at seminars for those of you who’ve attended).
Being budget conscious is not just for the poor anymore. Between a crashing economy and the heightened number of natural disasters, I think it’s safe to say that each of us could benefit from being more money savvy.
Just before our kids were born, my husband and I made a conscious decision that we would rather spend money making memories with our family rather than buying stuff that is quickly forgotten. But this hasn’t always been easy on a limited budget.
So what’s a girl to do? I had to come up with some practical ways to shave our budget. It just so happens that anyone, anywhere can put these principles into practice.
Regardless of whether you’re looking to pay off debt or just live more generously, there are a few, simple tips each of us can take to live both a fun & frugal lifestyle. Just follow my SCORE method: 5 simple tips to either get you started on the road to savings or just give you a quick tune-up in your journey.
Too many people don’t save money because they don’t know where to start! Focus your efforts one grocery or drug store, start pulling coupons for all your non-food items or just cut back on eating out. If nothing else, start keeping track of your spending so you know where your money is going each month.
Clip Coupons & Sign up for Store Reward Cards
Start gathering Sunday coupon inserts or asking friends & neighbors for theirs from their paper! The standard Sunday coupon inserts (Smartsource.com & Redplum.com), as well as many others (Coupons.com, Cellfire, Upromise) not only offer online coupons so you don’t have to buy the Sunday paper, but will also load them directly onto your store rewards cards!
Many stores today allow you to use competitor coupons, or at the very least, offer price-matching. Sign up online for emails from grocery stores across the country and even though they may not be in your area, most local chains will still accept their coupons. Also, many grocery, drug, & retail stores, as well as restaurants, offer reward cards. They cost nothing to receive, but can save you hundreds of dollars a year in special offers & freebies.
You can’t use a coupon or a rebate if you don’t know where it is. Make your system work for you: either clip and keep them on you or keep Sunday coupon inserts whole in a file folder at home. It also helps to have a central calendar so you know when offers expire or when free events are taking place. They say you can tell where a person spends their time and money by looking at their checkbook and their calendar. Do you like what yours say about you?
Not only will your health improve, but so will your budget. Start reducing the amount you eat, but also the amount you cook with. For example: use ¾ lb ground beef when the recipe calls for 1 lb or use halve the amount of sugar in a recipe.
*Watch my “Healthy Eating on a Budget” segment on Talk of the Town.*
Another great way to stretch your meat dollar is to add beans instead.
Use the same principle with paper products; make an effort to use less paper towel, napkins, etc. and instead switch to reusable cloths.
Now it’s time to put all these principles into practice! Plan eating out around coupons you have or “free night” offers. Communicate your savings plan to your family so they can join in (especially helpful if you’re all working together towards a goal – like a family vacation!) Stockpile when your family’s favorite items go on sale: the big jackpot when it comes to couponing is to wait for a sale, match-up store coupons with manufacturer coupons and then stock up! Don’t just buy 1 or 2 of the item, but enough to get you through the next 2-3 months until the item will most likely be on sale again.