New to couponing and saving money? Overwhelmed? Part 3

7 Jan

5. Make Simple Budget Cuts

Once you have simplified your life, set goals, gotten your home organized and made a budget, you’re ready to get more intense about saving

Start with simple things that will make an impact: Do you have memberships or subscriptions you’re currently paying for but not using? Can you renegotiate some of your bills to get a better monthly rate? Could you cut back on costly regular expenses or come up with alternatives?

After looking at your regular expenses to see if there are things you can cut or renegotiate, if you’re still struggling and need to come up with more breathing room, I’d suggest that you consider doing things which might be more extreme (I will post more on those at a later date).

Start slowly adopting a “Never Pay Retail” philosophy. Living frugally doesn’t mean you never buy nice things or never pay for anything new again (though buying used and saving the difference is better in many instances), but you can save hundreds of dollars per year just by committing to use some coupons for items you purchase, planning ahead and buying items you will need soon when they are at their lowest prices and looking for creative ways to save on things you plan to buy.

For instance, if you include a “date night” or “dinner out” category in your budget, you can stretch your money farther by watching for restaurant coupons and deals and purchasing restaurant vouchers through Groupon or Restaurant.com to local restaurants you frequent.

Living on a budget doesn’t mean you have to eat beans and rice for the rest of your life.

 

6. Remember to Take Babysteps

As you start looking for ways to reducecut costs, it’s easy to get carried away and try do everything at once. If you’re not careful, you can find yourself completely overwhelmed trying to menu-plan, stockpile, print coupons, clip coupons, organize coupons, shop at multiple stores, play the Drugstore Game, sign up for freebies, read great blogs…  and many other things.

Take babysteps! Pick one new skill to learn per month and don’t feel guilty over what you aren’t doing yet.

7. Don’t Compare Yourself to Other People

Sadly, sometimes we can spend way too much time worrying about what other people are doing or not doing and try to base what we do upon that. Don’t compare yourself to other people.

We’re all in different families and situations. We all have different goals, different needs. What works for one family isn’t necessarily going to work for another family.

Maybe your family has food allergies and you need to have a larger grocery budget than your frugal friend without food allergies has. Or maybe you enjoy going out to eat often so you have a higher “Dates and Eating Out” budget, but you buy your clothes at the thrift store.

Whatever the case, determine what works for your family and then create your financial goals based upon this. If other people don’t understand or even criticize the decisions you’ve made, it’s okay.

Do what works for you and don’t worry about what other people think!

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