5 (Reasonably) Painless Ways to Reduce Living Costs
As millions of Americans do their best to cope with the soaring cost of living, money-saving experts suggest some of the least painful ways to cut back on spending, bring in extra cash and strategize to balance the family budget.
- Stretch the Food Budget – Plan meals ahead based on what's on sale at the supermarket each week.
- Make a Meal, Do Double Duty. Last night's roast chicken can become the basis for today's taco dinner and maybe even for tomorrow's chicken salad.
- Go Vegetarian at Least One Night Each Week. Hearty vegetable soup and grilled cheese sandwiches, anyone? Spinach quiche or cheese-filled manicotti?
- Use Coupons. Check Sunday's newspaper. Take advantage of your market's loyalty coupons. Go to coupons.com for a wide variety of printable coupons.
- Buy Generic. You may be surprised to find little noticeable difference between branded and store-labeled products
- Pay Off Debt – Monthly payments and rising interest rates eat heavily into available cash. Make every effort possible to pull in your belt and pay off balances in order to save money and free up cash.
- Get a Side Hustle – Can you mow lawns? Walk dogs? Write resumes? Bake beautiful breads or cakes? Social media makes it easy to 'advertise' your services, and a little extra income can make a big difference in how far your money stretches each month.
- Cut Energy Costs – Set the thermostat a few degrees higher or lower and learn to live with indoor temperatures a little warmer or cooler than you'd like. Replace old weatherstripping to block drafts, and close the curtains to block hot sun. It will add up to a difference in your bills.
- Call an Insurance Broker – If you've had the same auto and/or home insurance policies for a while, ask a broker how much you can save by increasing deductibles, requesting senior, good driver, or other available discounts, or even by switching carriers altogether.