Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Living on a Budget

Being a stay-at-home mom of three, I have really learned to stretch our pennies to make them count. As if a single-income budget isn't hard enough, recent rises in prices have made it even harder to make ends meet. I've learned a few things that have really helped out with saving money, and I thought that I would share them with you!

Getting rid of credit cards is the first step. Yes, credit cards can be great in emergency situations. Yes, cash is getting used less often than in the past. It doesn't matter, though. If you want a card for online shopping or for traveling, start with a prepaid card. These are available at many banks for less than $5, and they can help insure that you only spend the money you have. This way, you avoid high interest rates or years of unnecessary debt.

Trim your budget by using coupons whenever possible. Better yet, by generic when possible. The items are just as good, and they can end up saving several hundred dollars a year on bigger purchases!

Get rid of the unnecessary. In other words, if you are spending extra money for features you don't use on your phone, for book clubs or music clubs that you don't really need, or other special, but not really used bills, get rid of them. After all, why spend money you don't really need to spend?

Buy off-season. Shop for clothes and Christmas presents year round. If you find an outfit on clearance that you won't wear until next season, but it's at a great value, go ahead and buy it at markdown prices, rather than paying full price a few months later. However, keep in mind that this does not mean you can buy more than needed. Don't go overboard. The idea is to save you money in the long-run, rather than leaving you with things that will never get used.

These, combined with many other budgeting tips you can find online, can help you save a ton of money. Remember, money is good; debt is bad!

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