Ten things to do to cut back on your expenses

You may be saving and saving and realize it is still not working as well as you expect.  Review the situation from another perspective.  Maybe it is about how your money is flowing out. 

Just like fixing a leak, once you plug the “hole” where you money is flowing out you will find excess funds after all.  Below are ten ways you can do this:

1.    Waste not.  “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” has been chanted over and over again but now you should really make it your personal mantra.  Whether it is food or furniture, make it a point to never waste it. 
This means shamelessly packing up leftovers from buffet meals or dinners with friends, and doggy bagging what you (and the family) cannot finish at that restaurant.  If you feel funny looks coming your way from other diners, take heart in the fact that you probably have saved more money than they spent! 

2.    Make and pack a lunch.  You will be amazed at how much we all spend on lunch on a regular workday.  Make it a point to pack a lunch from home – if this sounds a bit much, do it for just one or two days in a week.  This is far better than skipping lunch. 

3.    Make gifts instead of buying them.  Unless it is something you cannot make, avoid buying presents for birthdays, farewells and other occasions.  Make it a point that you only buy gifts for weddings and anniversaries. 
For example, at children’s parties, instead of buying items for gift packs, have a handicraft session where they make their own craftwork and get to bring it home in a pretty package.  All you will need to buy are ribbons (which are relatively cheap) and gift wrap paper (which you can also make with coloured paper, some patterned stamps and watercolour). 

4.    Turn old clothes into dishrags.  There is no need to buy dishrags when an old t-shirt does the job of cleaning just as well.  Old, faded towels can be used as bathmats or dishrags to wipe your plates while old cotton shorts are great for wiping up the mess at the dining table after a meal.  You will find that you have saved yourself quite a bit by not buying special cloth to wipe messes!

5.    Save on energy.  Not only will you be saving the environment, you would also be saving yourself many, many pennies.  Using energy-saving lightbulbs, for instance, can save you up to 40 percent on your electricity bills, which in a year, can be a pretty astounding sum.  The bulbs may cost a little bit more initially but they save you loads in the long term.  With each bulb lasting up to 5 years, it is definitely worth that expensive purchase at the beginning. 

6.    Save water.  If it rains a little bit too often where you live, you may as well put all that wet weather to good use.  Leave a bucket outside and save all that rainwater.  You can then use it for washing the car, dishrags, bathmats or to mop the floor.  This is especially useful because you will never have to wait for the bucket to fill. 

7.    Save on petrol.  With petrol prices sky rocketing with the sky as its limit, you can save tons by walking or cycling short distances.  That quick trip to the neighbourhood supermarket for eggs can be done just as efficiently by brisk walking or going on a bicycle.  You will get the exercise (and eggs) you need without paying for gas or risking the environment with additional carbon emissions. 

8.    Expanding on the above point, the extra exercise you get by going more manual will save you on gym memberships.  Brisk walking and cycling gives you all the cardiovascular exercise you need and you will soon start seeing those pounds fall off naturally.  You can get more exercise by using as much public transport as possible, too as they normally stop off a little distance away from your destinations. 

9.    Make use of your friends.  If you like gardening, get seeds or shoots from your green-thumb friends.  Buying them from a nursery can be expensive. 
The same for your clothes – if you have a friend in a similar size who loves to shop, ask her for her old work clothes.  If they are not good enough for your workplace, you would have new home clothes so you never have to buy clothes for grocery shopping. 

10.    Pool your meals.  If you are single or have no children, pool your dinners with your family members.  Everyone can then save on having to buy or make dinner.  If this is too difficult, then just do it on weekends so at least you save for two days out of the week.