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How to Stretch Your Paycheck

Sep 12, 2008
Do you run out of money before your next paycheck comes? Do you want to save money but don't know how? If this describes you, you are not alone. There are millions of other people who are experiencing the same situation.

Instead of constantly being discouraged, empower yourself to do something positive about your situation. There are many budgeting tips you can try that will ease your financial difficulties at least partially.

Do you buy coffee or a newspaper every morning? It doesn't sound like much but these two minor expenditures add up significantly by the end of each month. Try putting the money you would normally spend for these items in a jar each day. By the end of the month you will be very surprised by the amount in the jar.

Do you eat out regularly? If so, you are throwing away a lot of money. Restaurant costs are exorbitant and increasing along with everything else. Eating out can take as much as 40% of your budget for food! If you love to eat out, plan one evening a week to enjoy the experience. It will give you something to look forward to but will not break the bank.

Are grocery costs wiping you out? Buy in bulk. Warehouse and discount clubs have drastically lower prices than regular grocery stores. Go once a month (Always have a list and stick with it!) and stock up on non-perishable foods like canned goods, boxed foods, and sodas, and household items like toilet paper, Kleenex, cleaners, etc. The savings you enjoy will be substantial.

Another way to reduce your grocery costs is by planning your meals each week. Take time on the weekend to plan for the following week's meals. Every night before you go to bed take the ingredients for the next day's meals out of the freezer and put them into the refrigerator. By the time you get home from work, everything is thawed and ready to be cooked. Another idea is to actually cook the food on the weekend for the next week and freeze the food. That way you will have your own "TV" dinners all ready to eat.

Reduce or eliminate buying magazines, especially the ones at the check-out counter in the grocery store. (They are there for a reason.) Each one can now cost up to $6 per magazine! If you subscribe to a lot of magazines, try to cut back. Each magazine subscription averages around $25 per year. If you are subscribing to 5 or 6 of them, you can save up to $125 per year.

Save money on your energy costs by doing simple things like turning the lights off when you leave a room, don't run the dishwasher until it's full, and keeping your thermostat at a constant temperature. These are small things but they can add up to large savings on your energy bills each month.

Try to involve your whole family by asking them for ideas on how to save money around the house. By asking for their input, they will be more aware of the situation and more willing to do their part to help save money. Plus, they will probably have some great ideas!

By following the budgeting tips listed above, you will start on the path to saving money without making any drastic changes to your lifestyle. The extra money you have at the end of each month will encourage you to continue the efforts you and your family are making.
About the Author
Debra Gropp enjoys working on the Internet by doing everything from paid surveys and working for affiliate programs to blogging about her interests. Her articles pertain to some of the subjects she is most interested in, ways to save money, hobbies, work from home information, and diet, fitness, and health-related information.
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