There are many ways to cut the budget and save money. Today we are talking about the top five methods. Although all these tips are simple to do, some of them do take a little more time in the beginning.
Cooking From Scratch
You would be surprised at how much less your grocery bill is when you stop buying prepackaged foods and cook fresh. It’s also a lot healthier and tastes great.
Even baked goods are less expensive when cooked from scratch. All it takes is keeping flour, sugar, and other baking staples on hand. When you get an urge for a little something sweet you can whip it up!
You can also save by using frozen vegetables instead of canned. They taste just like fresh! Most frozen packages cost a little more than a can of food, but you get more than one meal from the package. Frozen entrees are the most expensive. You could pay around $10 for a well-frozen entree but why not buy a large package of meat that will last you more than one meal. This can be done for from 10 to 15 dollars.
Buying meats that can be used in multiple ways will save money as well. For example, a large roast can be served with potatoes and carrots and what’s left after the first meal can be finely chopped and covered with BBQ sauce. What a tasty sandwich this makes! It just makes sense to buy meats that will ‘stretch’.
When I quit my job I immediately started baking from scratch. Cookies and cakes are so simple to make and cost only a few dollars. I even learned how to make my own frosting! There are oodles of recipes online so you don’t need to purchase an expensive cookbook.
Run All Errands on the Same Day
Fuel can take a large chunk out of your budget if you aren’t organized with errands and work. Many people who work outside the home spend days off running errands and buying groceries. Try to do at least one errand after you get off work, as long as the stores are still open. It’s easy to buy groceries on the way home. It takes another 45 minutes out of your day but frees up your time for the weekend. However, there is an easier alternative!
When I worked outside the home I would order my groceries online from WalMart and schedule a pickup for the next day when I got off work. This is so easy and you will love it. When you order online you tell them what time you will be picking up (they give you an hour from your set time), and you simply park in the predetermined spaces for pickup and someone will bring your groceries to your car. This is a win-win situation for people that want to save time and energy. I’ve done this many times and never had a problem with them getting the correct items.
For those of you who spend your days at home, it’s important to be smart about when and how you run errands. Don’t go to town one day for groceries and another day to get your hair cut, etc. Schedule everything you need to do in town for one day. Map out your route for the best fuel usage and watch as your fuel bill declines!
Buy Meat On Sale
Meat is probably the most expensive part of any grocery bill and it doesn’t appear to be getting any better. Buying what’s on sale is a great way to save but there is also another tip I think you will love. Some stores have a reduced section for day old meat, which by the way is still perfect! The trick to getting to this gold mine is shopping for groceries before 10:30 in the mornings. After that, the selection is not as good and you can’t get all the meats you love.
I shop in United grocery stores and they have a 40% reduced meat section. That’s almost like getting meals half price! Once I shop from the 40% off and sale items, I then go home and make the menu for the next week, based on what I purchased.
Since I started cooking from scratch (no prepackaged foods), and shop the sales, my grocery bill has gone from $125 per week to $75 per week. Those are great savings in my book! Check out how to inventory that meat in the freezer.
Bundle Utilities for Savings
If you have never checked into the savings of bundling your utilities you need to start now! You can easily get your phone, internet, and tv cable/satellite bundled. I did this and practically got phone service for free. I live in the country and unlike some cities, our trash pickup is not included in the water bill. My husband and I used the same one for several years but noticed they kept going up on their prices. Soon the search was on for a less expensive service and sure enough, there was one. Our trash pickup has gone from $40 per month to $25. This may not sound like a lot to you but if you do this on 10 different bills you are looking at over $150 per month in savings.
Eat Out Only Occasionally
Eating out can really drain your finances and it’s not always the healthy option either. I know, it’s sometimes the easiest thing to do, but think of all the money you can save by just eating out occasionally. If you are a family of three or four you could spend up to $70 eating out just one time. Even fast foods are expensive. A hamburger, fries, and a drink at Whataburger will cost you almost $10 per person. It’s ridiculous what we all pay for convenience.
I know several families that eat out two or three times a week which adds up to over $500 per month they are spending on food. And that doesn’t even count what they purchase at the grocery store!
Don’t quit having fun or eating out, but be a little more selective in when and how you do it. You won’t feel deprived and will love all the money you have left at the end of the month!
It Only Takes a Little More Effort
and the Rewards are Great!
The pot of gold is not just at the end of the rainbow, it’s at the end of your budgeting your money and living a little smarter. I have personally used all five of these tricks for budgeting and they really work. The money you save can pay off bills, fund a vacation, or any other item that may be on your bucket list. Have fun with it and enjoy the adventure of living large on less.