Here are a few ideas to think about as we trim our budgets:
- Gasoline - for some of us this is one of the largest expenditures in our budgets other than housing. Although prices have recently gone down, don't be fooled into thinking they will stay for long. Now is the time to prepare for when the prices will go back up. Is carpooling an option? Walking or riding a bike? I'm always surprised at how fast the miles rack up in the car even just going short distances. Save money and walk (or ride a bike). The perk is you get your exercise at the same time!
- Food - trim your food budget by cutting back on expensive snacks and packaged foods, try not to eat out much and cut back on expensive meats and comfort foods. By simplifying your meals and returning to basic foods, you'll not only save significantly on costs but start to eat healthy as well!
- Limit Shopping - plan ahead and only go to the store once a week (or once or twice a month if possible). It's a fact that the fewer times you go to the store, the less money you will spend. If you run out of something that you use, try to do without until your next planned shopping trip. As you limit the number of shopping trips you make, you'll also cut back on the amount of money you spend on gasoline and food.
- Utilities - think in conservation mode as you use utilities. Turn your temperature down and put on a sweater or an extra blanket at night. Lower your water heater temperature. Turn out lights that aren't being used and switch to florescent bulbs where possible. Don't run the dishwasher until it's full. Take shorter showers. And so on. Doing this will not only save you money, you'll be preserving our natural resources as well.