When your income goes down for any reason, or just because you want to live more economically, there are many simple ways to save money. Some of these are very obvious, but it's surprising that we don't really practice them until we have to.
1. Don't waste. Find ways to creatively use your leftover food, such as making casseroles and stews. For day-old bread, make some delicious bread pudding. Make sure you have a full load of laundry before you run the washer. Turn out the lights when you leave a room. These little things add up.
2. Learn to sew and mend. You can have pretty clothes at a fraction of the price if you know how to sew. With a simple knowledge of basic hand stitches, you can mend clothes or sew on buttons also. How many times have you quit wearing a garment because it needed a small mending repair?
3. Buy generic brands when possible. Try out a couple at a time to see if you like them. Use coupons wisely. Don't let them lure you into buying products you wouldn't normally buy just because you have the coupon, unless you really want them.
4. Watch your laundry detergent and softener usage. Look carefully at the measurement on the lid or scoop of the laundry detergent, depending on whether you are using liquid of powder. Sometimes we are in such a hurry that we just fill it up, not realizing that maybe that measurement was for an extra large load. Another little trick I use is to only use half of the softener amount. It seems to work just as well.
5. Delay gratification. It is so easy to fall prey to impulse purchases. If you are short on money and don't really need the item, tell yourself that you'll think about it for a day or two. You will probably forget about it as soon as you get home from the store, and it would have been money wasted.
6. How many hours would you have to work to pay for that item? When deciding to buy something that is not a necessity, calculate your hourly income or your husband's. How many hours would you have to work to buy that product? Is it worth it? That is your decision.
There are many ways we can cut costs. Try to make it more fun by challenging yourself to find ways to live more frugally, and still live well. Be creative about it. You will be surprised at how much waste can be prevented, and you will be happier that your budget stretches further.
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