Saving money is no easy task for those that are on a tight budget. While you may hear a lot of people saying that they need to save money for this or that, the truth is that most don’t even get to save half of what they were expecting by the time they need the money. There are only two ways to save money, either you increase your income or you cut expenses. There is really no way out. For those that have trouble finding ways to increase their income the best way is to cut expenses. Frugality is something that gives good results over time if practiced correctly and contrary to what many believe, it is not about lack of material things but about shopping wisely and saving money that can be used for other purposes.
I have heard stories about people that embrace frugality in their daily life, have normal incomes or incomes that are a little lower than the median income and through frugal tactics and smart shopping save enough to travel to different parts of the world. Like I said before, frugality is about enjoying life to the fullest and doing the things that you want to do in life. In order to start living frugal you need to break a few chains that may be holding you back. Consumerism is lifestyle that influences our everyday life one day after the other. Unless you are watching premium channels on TV you will constantly be bombarded with ads for mostly everything there is. Being frugal is about spending money on what really is important and avoiding the consumerist mindset so that you can save money and take control of your personal finances. This is quite the opposite of what the consumerist mindset promotes which is buying everything in sight, buy expensive clothes, items and the newest gadgets. A lot of people that have this mindset end up with piles of credit card debt, loans and headaches. Some statics say that a lot of divorces start with financial problems. In other words, have your personal finances well planned is important if you are single, married, engaged or even divorced.
If you are ready to start taking control of how you use your money here are some tips that will lead you in the right way. In this article I will focus on food related expenses. How you manage your food related costs is one of the basic steps of developing a frugal lifestyle. Believe it or not there is a lot of money to be saved by changing you eating habits and what you buy when you visit your local supermarket.
The first thing that you can do to save a lot of money is to stop eating out or at least reduce substantially the number of times that you eat out per week. You can easily save some of the food that you or your partner prepared the day before in the fridge and heat it at work. If you spend $7-$10 a day eating out during your lunch break this might save you a few bucks. Imagine that you save around $170 a month bringing your lunch to your work. The end result would be $2040 in your bank account per year that you could be using to cut down on debt, invest in stocks or just save it for a family vacation. And this is just eating out during lunch break; we are not counting miscellaneous visits to fast foods when we don’t feel like cooking.
Another thing is to avoid TV dinners and boxed pre-prepared foods. Not only are they loaded with preservatives. The portions are so small that many people eat two at a time or end up eating another meal an hour later. It is a lot better to prepare things yourself and avoid the cost of preparation that is embedded in the price of pre-prepared products. With the same amount of money that is spent on two TV dinners you may be able to prepare healthier food for three or four people. Or perhaps, save some to avoid eating out during the lunch break either way the savings pile up over time. Remember that having a little excess cash each month is a lot better than living with a monthly deficit that grows into a migraine as time passes.
You could also use coupons from stores and brands to save money on your next trip to the groceries store. This is a tried and true strategy that has been used by many. There is even a television program where people use coupons and end up buying $400 worth of groceries for under $100. There are many places to get coupons. A lot of people go directly to the websites of the companies that make the products and just print them out. They spend some time collecting coupons and then unload them the next time they go shopping for groceries. This is one of the most efficient ways to cut food related expenses besides bringing food to the workspace. Households that have more than three or four members will save the most money by using coupons when going shopping. While a coupons that save you twenty cents might not look like they are worth it all adds up especially when combined with those buy one get one free coupons. Imagine that you are able to save at least $50 dollars a month using coupons. This would be $600 a year and this is a conservative number. Some shoppers that use lots of coupons save more than $100 a month which is a lot of money on a per year basis.
In conclusion, there is a lot of money to be saved by cutting food related expenses. The thing is that saving money on groceries and food doesn’t mean that you and your loved ones have to go hungry to bed each night. On the contrary food prepared at home not only is cheaper it is also healthier which may also translate into less medical bills in the future. Life is full of choices and what choices you make will dictate most of the flow of events in your life. The rest is luck.