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10 WAYS TO MAKE YOUR MONEY STRETCH
March 25, 2016
It's important to regularly review your finances and your budget to ensure you're staying on track. While budget-busters such as gas prices are completely out of your control, there are other things that affect your budget that you can take control of.
Here are twelve easy ways to make your money stretch further:
1. Take a bottle of water and a snack wherever you go. You won't be so tempted to stop for high-dollar fast food, snacks or drinks.
2. Buy in bulk. Household staples such as paper towels, toilet paper, shampoo, cleaning supplies, as well as peanut butter, dried fruits, nuts, canned goods and spices can be purchased in bulk at a much cheaper price.
3. Learn to cook. One of the easiest ways to save money is by dining at home on nutritious home-cooked meals. Skip the dine-in, take-out and frozen prepared meals and instead learn to cook. You can make delicious homemade meals for a fraction of the cost of the alternatives.
4. Use your freezer. Freezing or canning what you don't use right away is a good way to shave more than a few dollars off your monthly grocery budget. Preparing food in large quantities and freezing the leftovers in individual servings is also a great to come home to after a long day. Just pop the meal in the microwave or oven and presto! You have a hot, home-cooked meal in minutes.
5. If there are not enough leftovers for a meal, freeze it anyway. You can turn a lot of small portions into a great weekly soup or casserole.
6. Use coupons. You don’t have to take couponing to an extreme to save money. Just watch your local newspaper and check online coupon or manufactures websites when making your grocery list. Consider shopping at stores that offer to double the coupon to save twice as much.
7. Price check before you buy. Impulse buys are an easy way to suck up the extra space in your budget. When you come across something and are ready to purchase, take a quick minute and google search the item online with your cell. You may find that the item is 10 to 30% less at another store.
8. Unplug all 'vampire electronics' when not in use. Electronics such as DVD players, coffee makers, extra clocks, TVs and radios, cell phone chargers etc. suck power even when not in use. Using power strips can make turning these off a snap.
9. Adjust the thermostat on your hot water heater. The default setting on most hot water tanks is 140 degrees F but the Department of Energy recommends that a tank be set at 120 degrees. This could save you up to 10% on your monthly bill.
10. Wash your laundry in cold water and line dry your clothes. Not only will this cut your energy consumption; it will also lengthen the life of your clothing.
Small changes really can make a huge impact on your budget. It’s not hard to make your money stretch if you put your mind to it. And best of all, once you get in the habit of doing them, you won’t even miss the more expensive things.