Many people are suffering financially and they are looking for strategies on how to save money. This is an open post and I invite others to please pay it forward and share their tips. We all have to help one another through these tough times and learn how to be happy with less, right?
You may find yourself sitting around the dinner table wondering how you are going to make it through the economic recession. While it's important to make contingency plans in case of a loss in pay or even time off of work, there are some important proactive steps you can take to lower your budget.
Rather than thinking of your budget costs as a sacrifice (though they are), you can come up with creative solutions that might even be broadly beneficial to your lifestyle. It is said that companies truly learn who they are during tough times - the same can be said of households, as families often come together as they seek inexpensive ways to save during a recession.
One great way that you can save is by having family meals instead of eating out.
A creative way to do this is to assign each night of the week to a different family member - that individual gets to plan a menu around a budget, including shopping for the ingredients and preparing the meal. While it might seem convenient to eat out all the time, the costs can quickly add up; even if you are able to keep costs low at fast food establishments, you have to make sure everyone is eating healthy and getting their nutritional requirements.
You'd be surprised how many creative, low cost ideas there are to cook home meals - when you're working on a budget, you can get creative with the recipes, and make sure that everyone has to include all the basic food groups (vegetables, protein, grains and fruit) as well. You can find a wealth of recipes on line at sites like the Food Network (see FoodTV.com) where you can find lots of meals on a budget.
How about an online auction like EBay or a garage sale?
If you go through your house, there are probably a lot of unused pieces from furniture to old clothing to unwatched ****** that aren't being put to much use. Hold a family challenge to see who can raise the most money by selling what they no longer need on eBay - you can auction off nearly anything that's in good condition, and can donate part of the proceeds to a local charity.
Offer your children incentives to go through their old clothes and toys by rewarding them with an allowance based upon what they raise - this will help teach them valuable financial lessons, while also making it fun for them to learn about money. If you favor the more traditional route, you could also hold a garage sale. Either way, you're bound to unlock some hidden value that will go a long way towards helping you earn some side income.
Do you really need to drive you car all the time?
If your family has multiple cars, consider carpooling to save money - that way you can leave early, drop the kids off at school, then drop your spouse off all before you get to work. By taking a single car, you can save quite a bit on gas which can add up over time. If you have multiple cars, consider selling the one that gets lower gas mileage - it might take some adjustment, but you're bound to grow closer as a family as you work to save in tough times.