How you can live on less

I have a personal motto: “earning double or spending a half, it is the same thing”. We know many family members are working very hard to earn a living, but you can see the same people wasting their money on unplanned purchases. Well, if you work a half but you carefully choose to buy only what you really need and buy it for a good price, the result is basically the same.

So, are you ready to spend a half?

I have even a second personal motto: “until you have not spent the money, you will always have the chance to do it”. Basically, do not rush in buying what it seems a new extreme necessity. Cool down and think: Do I really need this? How much will I work to pay it off? Have I enough space for it in my house? Is the old item actually worn out, or do I just want something new? Do I posses anything doing more or less the same job o I just want something new? What do my family think about this purchase? If you will rarely use an item, would renting one suffice? Or if you anticipate using it frequently, would buying a good used one work just as well? Get into the habit of asking yourself that questions.

Useful Ideas

Here are some other ideas you can find useful.

If you realize that your family is frequently consuming a product, it could be a good idea to buy in bulk. On the other side, be careful not to overstock items that will eventually spoil.

There is a great variety of food available, and for sure you enjoy them all the times. But instead of choosing your food randomly, plan your weekly menu around what is on sale. Stock up on items that are on sale or in season.You are going to realise that it's not so bad after all.

Today it's very common to have a limited time to prepare our meal. Prepackaged food is becoming very common, and sometimes it really saves the day. In any case it should not be the our usual pattern. Would you like to cut the expenses? Buy basic ingredients instead of prepackaged foods. It's true: cooking from scratch can be an hard work. But the more you'll do it, the less will be the time you spend to make it. While you'll become more skilled, you will enjoy even more cooking by yourself. You will be surprised to realise how rewarding can be.

Clothes can be an other important chapter of our expenses. If you cannot find anything really on sale, slash clothing costs by purchasing quality used garments at resale stores.

The world is changing fast. An ideal place in which to live it cannot be anymore within a few years. Evaluate if traveling to areas where prices are known to be lower, if this is cost-effective.

Another factor to consider is the time you spend in malls and shops. The more is the time you spend in shops, the more you will find something you can waste your money on. In other words, cut back on how often you shop.

In order to develop a budget, the first requirement is to be resourceful. Get creative. For example, if you have two cars, could you get rid of one and consider carpooling as a valid alternative? To save on gas, plan as many errands as possible with each trip. The following are some other ways you can be resourceful:

- Take time for the manual: read the manufacturer’s maintenance instructions. If you apply it, you may prolong the life of your appliances.

- Have you the chance to plant a garden and grow your own vegetables? If the answer is yes, do it! Growing your own vegetables is both fun and rewarding.

- Probably you have clothing you use when you stay home, and more expensive clothing you wear when you go out. If this is the case, change out of your good clothing as soon as you come home—a practice that will keep them looking new longer.

Develop a budget

Many will agree on the ideas we mentioned before. The issue is to put them in practice in our daily live. If we constantly live in a hurry, it can be even harder. That's way the old advice to “put it on paper” is always valid.

Try to stick to following pieces of advice:

- Write down your essential monthly expenses. Don't this step: keep a record for one full month of all that you spend on food, housing (rent or mortgage), utility bills, car expenses, and the like. If you have bills that are paid annually, divide by 12 in order to establish the monthly amount you have to set apart.

- Organise your expenses into categories. These include food, housing, automobile, holidays, travel costs, and so forth.

- Figure out how much of your savings must be applied monthly to each category. Avoid to touch your saving set apart for coming bills.

- If in your family there is more then a breadwinner, write down the combined net earnings of all in your household. Subtract deductions such as taxes. Compare this with the expenses.

- Set aside monthly the amount needed to satisfy each category. If using cash, a simple way is to mark envelopes for each category. Then periodically place cash in the appropriate envelope needed to cover the designated expense. Be careful: if you use a credit card, do so responsibly! Normally a good budget plan is spoiled by the temptation to ‘buy now, pay later.’

In conclusion...

In time of crisis, people are forced to live with less. But still, we have our basic needs. The hardest thing is to adapt ourself to the time we live into. But with a little bit of wisdom in managing our money, it can really benefit us and our family members. So, do not give up: you too can learn how to live on a budget!


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