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2014-06-11 17:44:58

5 Places to Cut Costs and Help Your Budget

Often people find themselves in financial difficulties because of poor money management.  After filing for bankruptcy or a proposal it is important to be aware of your finances.  Building and sticking to a budget can help with this awareness and allow you to achieve financial goals.  Below are 5 easy places to cut costs and stick to your budget.

  1. Groceries

How often do you get home to realise there is nothing easy to make and order a pizza because the whole family is hungry?  How often do you realise you have run out of milk and pop to the corner shop to buy it at 150% of the price it would cost you in the grocery store?

Things like this happen to everyone, but they add up to a lot.  The way to defeat this is organisation.  Make a family meal plan and do your grocery shopping with it in mind.  This way you won’t be throwing out food and you won’t come home and find there is nothing to cook.

OurGroceries is a great resource for cutting those trips to the local shop.  You can sync the same grocery list onto multiple family phones. If you run out of milk you can put it on the list, and your partner can see it and grab it on the way home.

2. Lunch and Coffee

If you spend $10 a day on lunch you are potentially wasting $2500 a year. Sometimes it isn’t feasible to pack a lunch everyday, but if you aim for just four days a week you could make tremendous savings.  You can even plan your lunches into your meal plan, make a little extra and put it in Tupperware straight away, then it is ready to go the next morning when you leave the house.

A daily coffee is another place you can lose a lot of money without thinking about it.  Consider buying a travel mug and making your own.  Or set yourself a weekly coffee budget and pay with a pre-loaded card.  Once the card is empty bring coffee from home for the rest of the week.

3. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

There are plenty of truly great thrift stores around and if you are committed to the search you can make some fabulous finds. The same goes for sites like craigslist.com and kijiji.com.  If you need a new dresser for your kid’s bedroom have a look around.  A second hand dresser and a can of paint tend to be a lot cheaper than, and just as functional as, a new one.

You can’t buy everything second hand, but a lot of things you don’t truly need to buy new.  There are also a lot of things that might be repairable rather than need replacing.  Look into the cost of repairing the item.  If it is less than 50% of the cost of replacement, consider it as an option.

4. Television

Do you really need it?  Cable can cost upwards of $60 a month for a basic package.  If you have an HDMI cable and a laptop/games console you can stream directly from the internet onto your television.  Most major networks post the newest episodes of their shows online and a Netflix subscription is less than $10/month.

5. Utilities

This is an easy one to cut but perhaps the one that requires the most conscious effort.  Make sure you turn off all of your lights and only use the air conditioning when there are people in the house are the obvious ones. While the weather is nice try drying your laundry outside, if you must use your dryer time it to be at non-peak hours.  Try setting a timer for your showers.  An egg timer works for some people or two songs on the radio for others.  Keeping your showers short will dramatically affect your water usage, especially if you can get the whole family on board.