If you’ve resolved that 2014 will be your year financially, take heart that there are many things, small and large, that you can do to improve your finances. You don’t have to go extreme to make a real impact on your finances. In fact, with careful planning, you can live the same lifestyle you are used to at a fraction of the cost.
Here are some smart choices you can make to conserve your funds:
1. Use coupon and rebate sites. If you buy things on the internet (and who doesn’t nowadays), make sure to take advantage of the many sites out there that offer coupons or discount codes. Try to never make a purchase without using an online code or getting free shipping.
Also take advantage of rebate sites like Great Canadian Rebates. Typically, with these sites, you go to the rebate site first, then are redirected to the online store and earn a rebate. This can add up surprisingly quickly if shop online frequently.
2. Find cheaper ways to get the services you need. If you have a land line still, consider switching to a service like Ooma Telo. You’ll pay less than $5 a month for home service, including long distance calls. If you still have cable television, can you cut the cord and pay for Netflix streaming instead? At only $8 a month for Netflix, you’ll save over cable.
3. Save on groceries. Feeding your family a healthy diet is important, but there are ways you can do that on a budget. If you don’t already, consider shopping at a discount grocery store like Aldi or Food4Less. Another option is to calculate how much your regular repertoire of meals costs. Try to make the meals with the lowest cost per serving more often than the other ones that are pricier.
4. Embrace minimalism, to a point. Many of our financial struggles come from our culture of excess. Even if you’re a shoe connoisseur, how many shoes do you really need? Do you need more than five? Sure, you may want more than five, but focus on what you need. Asking yourself before each purchase if you NEED something is a good way to cut down on excess consumption and save money.
5. Consider buying used. This concept may take a while to get used to if you haven’t bought used, but with diligence, you can find what you need used and save 80 or 90% off the price of buying new, especially for tools and household goods. This principle also applies to cars. Considering the loss of value in a new car when you drive it off the lot, buying used makes sense. Let someone else take the financial hit.
Utilize some or all of these strategies, and you’ll find your bottom line improving faster than you thought possible.
What strategies do you use to keep your expenses down?