6 Easy Ways to Save Money without a Budget
“Help me save money!”
More and more Americans need advice on saving money but they don’t have time to create a budget. Also, budgets are rigid, complex and cause guilt, especially if you don’t stick to them. They make people anxious every time they go to buy something, trap them into a set spending schedule, and can cause confusion within the family financial system. Is frugality really worth all that hassle?
These are common objections against budgeting. While setting up a budget does require a little bit of work, it doesn’t have to be quite so complicated. In fact, there’s many ways to save money without pulling out the Excel spreadsheets and rifling through your receipts. So here are six tips for saving money without a budget:
- Always shop with a list – this will prevent you from buying unnecessary items and falling into the super market trap of buying products just because they are on sale. Don’t be an impulse buyer, stick to your list.
- Switch to store brands – read the ingredients on the store brand items compared to name brand – they are mostly identical. More than 77% of shoppers believe that store brands “are just as good, if not better than, national brand products.” Plus, just because you brought a certain brand for years doesn’t mean you can’t switch. You don’t owe those brand producers your loyalty. Don’t be emotionally attached to a brand.
- Eat out less – For the money it costs to feed three or four people in a restaurant you could be feeding that same amount for a week. Plan menus, and treat your family to healthier foods. Use a crock pot to save time. If you do go out, use coupons and go out for breakfast or lunch, it’s less expensive.
- Wear your clothes longer – don’t listen to the onslaught of advertisements telling you what to wear or what’s in style. Do you really need 10 pairs of shoes? If you don’t need to replace your jeans or shirts, why by more? It may make you happy to buy something you want but the happiness is short lived compared to the expense. Stick to the classics, and build a wardrobe that will outlast the fads and trends. Put that extra money into something that will be useful in the future, like an emergency fund or retirement.
- Buy in bulk – you can buy your paper products, cereals, nuts, coffee, shredded cheeses, batteries, certain laundry brands and medicines, dried goods such as pastas and beans in bulk and save a ton. Buy them in moderation when they’re on sale. Store them in the garage or in a closet. Make sure to rotate oldest products to the front, so that you can use the oldest items first.
- Do it yourself – try painting a room or two instead hiring someone. Mow your own lawn instead of hiring a landscaper. Read up on “how-to” ideas on the web or in the library. Do-it-yourself projects can be a lot of fun. You may surprise yourself. But don’t take on projects that you can’t handle, it will cost you.
Also, go online and do a search regarding the best time to shop for specific items. You’ll be surprised at how much you can save by purchasing large appliances in October rather than in another month, and you’ll also receive great tips on super market items. So get your list ready. Buy only what you need. Make sure that you’re getting the full value of your dollars spent.
This is a guest post from Kathryn Katz, a Certified Personal Finance Counselor who works for Consolidated Credit Counseling Services in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Their non-profit agency helps families through financial crisis using credit counseling, debt consolidation and financial education.
Photo credit: auntsmack4u
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