What costs you can cut back on during tough economic times: Feature Article
First, buy less on credit: You are going to cut back a lot of expenses here if you do not buy on credit because you will not pay as much in interest. When times are tough every dollar counts, so instead of spending your hard earned dollar on interest payments, you can use it to buy more groceries, or save for big purchases.
Second, if you are going to use a credit card, use one with low interest rates and no annual fees: If you are going to use a card, and pay interest, make sure it is as small of an interest payment as possible. Shop around, and look for the card offering the best terms.
Fourth, never shop without a list. If you go shopping to find something to buy, you will find too many somethings. Instead, go to the store with a list, and do not buy anything not on it, avoid sales, and avoid buying stuff conveniently as you can usually find it for less.
Five, pay with cash. If you want to cut back on costs you have to eliminate the option to purchase stuff you can't afford. So, leave your credit cards home, and use cash for planned purchases. Use credit for emergencies only.
Six, borrow or rent items you may not use often. For example, if you only use a drill here or there, do not buy one, borrow one. If you need a truck and can't find someone who will lend you one, then rent a truck from a local home improvement store.
Seven, don't try to cut out things you can't cut out. You won't save money by cutting in one area if it means spending in another. For example, if you buy fewer groceries, and have no food in your house, you may have to eat out. This is usually far more expensive than grocery shopping.
Okay now that you know some good basics for cutting back during economic times, let's get to some specifics:
Entertainment: This is probably the most easily trimmed expense area of spending, and one of the best places to cut back during tough times because it does not affect your basic living. The following are a few great tips for places you can cut back without feeling too big of a change in your lifestyle.
Television or Satellite service: Most people have an upgraded television package, and most people do not use or utilize everything they are paying for. So, look at your package and see if you can go with a cheaper one and still get what you want. For example, the difference between a $90 package and a $75 package might be movie channels. Are you watching $15 worth of movies a month?
Cell phone: Most people pay for more minutes than they need, more features than they need, or a fancier phone than they really need. For example, to add internet service to your phone is $20 a month on most provider plans. Are you using it enough to justify $240 a year? Most people can get internet service at home for the same price, or get internet at a café or library, or somewhere else for less. If you are paying for extra features, cut them out and save.
Home phone: Just like with the cell phone expense cutter above, most people pay more for home phone service than they need to. If you are paying for internet, consider getting a VoiP service, it is way cheaper than regular service, usually includes a lot of services, and long distance for one low price.
Long distance: If you are not calling long distance very often, do not pay for it. Buy a calling card. Borrow your neighbor's cell phone that has free long distance, etc. There is really no reason to pay for long distance on a home phone unless you call long distance every single day, and don't have a cell phone with long distance service.
Internet: If you do not use your internet a lot, get dial up. It is slower, but it can cost as little as $5 a month instead of the average $35 to $50 a month for internet service. If you need faster service, then bundle.
Magazines: Get rid of subscriptions you do not really read cover to cover.
Books: Go to the library instead of buying. If you buy a lot of books, sign up for book clubs and memberships offered with the major chains like Borders and Barnes and Noble. This can usually save you about 40% on new release books.
Newspapers: You can get news online, so if you are paying for internet, do not pay for newspaper too, or just get it on days you plan to read it. If you only take time to read it Sunday morning, don't pay for newspaper service all week long.
Movie rentals: This is a great area to cut back in. If you still want to rent movies, use movie rental options like Red Box where you can get promo codes for free rentals or only pay $1 day. Then be sure to return the move by the following day. If you want to rent from other places, be sure to check online and in mailers for discount coupons. You can almost always find a rent one get one free coupon, which if you are renting 2 movies a week can save you $200 plus dollars a year.
Food: When times are tough it is easy to look for security in foods. Comfort foods start to become a staple. If you want to cut costs you should carefully consider this area. You should still choose healthy food options, as feeling healthy when times are hard makes everything just a little bit better.
Eating out: This is one of the easiest ways to save money and cut costs when times are tough. Eating out costs significantly more than eating in does, and usually involves more waste. If you are eating out a lot, cut back to at least half of your current amount, and gradually limit eating out to special occasions. This saves so much money, and you will find that once you commit to doing it, you can find a lot of pleasure in cooking or preparing your own meals, and more importantly, you enjoy eating out far more when you do it.
Groceries: If you want to cut back on groceries there are all sorts of things you can do. Let's start with the tactics almost any expert would recommend to someone who is looking to limit their grocery spending. The first is to never shop when you are hungry. This is sure to lead to you purchasing far more items than you need, and usually results in waste. If you buy too much perishable food you either give some away or you throw it away. Second, shop with a list. It is far easier to avoid "sale" items you do not need, and those tempting extras that fill the cart and add to the bill if you go with purpose rather than browse shop for whatever sounds good. Third, limit the number of shopping trips you take. If you are cooking and are low on something it is always smart to try a neighbor first, and repay them when you next go to the store, rather than run to the store for one or two things. Ultimately you can almost never get out of the store with only one or two items. Frequent shopping means increased spending, so plan a shopping day, a shopping list, and a menu for your meals so that you know exactly what you need and when.
Utilities: It is possible to cut back on utilities when you are trying to cut costs. The following are just a few simple utility cost cutting suggestions. First, you do not have to be energy misers, but you should be slightly more aware of how your actions affect energy costs. Start by taking slightly shorter showers. Be sure to turn off lights and televisions when you leave a room. Only wash laundry when you have a full load. Turn your thermostat up a few degrees in the summer,you will adjust and even two degrees difference in temperature can save you tons of money on your bill.
Debts: If you want to cut costs during tough economic times, do not get into debt. Debt is paying money to spend money, so you are spending money you do not have to for things. Instead, aggressively pay off any existing debts, and do not incur more. Wait to buy things until you can pay cash.