Poor Man Survival
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Tips to Tighten Your Belt in Tough Times
by Marianne Giullian
The following tips are provided by Dollar Stretcher Newsletter-always an excellent source of useful ideas and resources for saving money. However, there are many like myself who live a fairly debt-free, frugal life but the number one budget killer for us is government expenses. We live in MI and they continually raise their fees and taxes.
The registration & plate renewal for one of our ten year old vehicles arrived this week – it nearly doubled! Our water bill for two of us is $3,000 annually. Our auto insurance is the HIGHEST in the entire nation. Our property taxes are the 9th highest in the country…yet, we get very little in return: poor roads, overpaid bureaucrats and state politicians, failing schools & overpaid school administrators [especially in Detroit], an over regulated & costly set of permits and fees on everything we do on our own property, etc.
Small savings can avert a crisis. Save money by spending less with these 8 helpful tips.
Benjamin Franklin said, "A small leak will sink a great ship." Small things can really make a difference. If you consistently spend more than you earn, even if it is a small amount, it will create stress and financial bondage. On the other hand, Benjamin Franklin also said, "Little strokes fell great oaks." Focusing on spending less than you earn makes money available for saving or reducing debts.
This reminded me of a recent newspaper article that stated how people are combating higher prices by cutting out small things. Even if it is a small amount, it will add up over time to bring a greater feeling of peace and financial freedom. In a recent newspaper article, it said that people are spending less on the small things to handle the rising costs of things. The following ideas can help you save money by spending less in different ways.
- General Things: Do your own work instead of hiring someone else to clean your house, cook your meals, fix your car or mow your lawn. Get rid of a storage unit. If the items in the storage unit are valuable to you, they should be in your home. If not, you are wasting a lot of money storing things that probably aren't worth the price you pay to store them. Get rid of cable television or gym memberships. De-clutter your home and sell the things you don't want. Take care of what you have. For example, regular brushing and flossing your teeth could save you hundreds of dollars in dental bills.
Gasoline: Consolidate trips by planning ahead of time to do your errands on the same day. Carpool. Remove excess weight from your car. Get information ahead of time by calling on the phone to save you a trip to the store if they don't have what you want or if it isn't in your price range. Slow down as it is more fuel efficient. Inflate tires properly. Buy gas at the cheapest place in town. Walk or ride a bike or use public transportation.
- Make Things Last Longer: Use half the amount of soap for laundry and for the dishwasher. Wash clothes in cold water if there are no visible stains. Wear your outer clothing more than once if it doesn't smell or isn't dirty. Tear dryer sheets in half. Wash your hair every other day.
If your spending has put you in debt, start taking the steps to financial freedom today!
- Utilities: Lower the thermostat and wear a sweater. Take shorter showers. Unplug the things you aren't using. Run full loads of laundry and dishes.
- Entertainment: Go to a matinee instead of a movie in the evening. Find free concerts in the area. Check out books, CDs and DVDs from the library. Have a potluck dinner instead of a dinner party. Find out who has the best prices to rent DVDs in town and go there for your rentals.
- Eating out: Go to lunch instead of dinner. Split a meal. Find out about restaurant specials. Leave kids at home. Drink water instead of soda. Get food to go instead of eating at the restaurant and paying a tip. Eat half of your meal and take the rest home for another day.
- Clothing: Buy second hand. Trade prom dresses. Always buy on sale. Buy off season. Have a clothes swap.
- Groceries: Do your own cooking. Make your own bread, tortillas, bagels, crackers, etc. Find less expensive alternatives. For example, make spaghetti instead of lasagna. Use cash when you shop so you can't go over your limit. Stop buying junk food and soda. Use half the amount of meat or cheese in recipes. Don't be loyal to one store. Buy produce in season. Buy store brands. Take your lunch to work or school. Don't buy precut veggies or shredded cheese. Instead, cut or shred it yourself. Eat hot cereal instead of cold. Go shopping less often. Don't waste food. Instead, eat your leftovers.
Take the Next Step:
- Little things do add up. Pick one of the above ideas that you're not currently practicing and start this week. Then start something new next week and so forth. Before long, you'll notice the impact that these little things are having on your big financial picture.
- Discover dozens of additional ways you can cut monthly costs and create a little more wiggle room in your budget with The Dollar Stretcher's Guide to Trimming the Budget and Cutting Expenses.
- Am I a good candidate for credit counseling?
- Stop struggling to get ahead financially. Subscribe to our free weekly Surviving Tough Times newsletter aimed at helping you 'live better...for less'. Each issue features great ways to help you stretch your dollars and make the most of your resources. Subscribers get a copy of Are You Heading for Debt Trouble? A Simple Checklist And What You Can Do About It for FREE!
Share your thoughts about this article with the editor.
NOTE: Unlike many folks, we rarely take expensive trips, we don’t go to any of the many casinos here in MI, we don’t participate or attend major league sporting events [going to a Tigers game with a family requires an expenditure of $200!]…Our free time is spent relaxing or fixing up our cabin, working in our garden, reading, cooking or watching a DVD.
Building an Emergency Fund
There's an old saying that the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time (not that I want to eat an elephant!). So when we decided we really wanted to create a six-month emergency fund, we used that principal. We broke it down into smaller amounts that equaled one month's worth of expenses. Even that felt like a hard target, but we were determined to do it. We're on month number two now. We celebrated with a special dinner when we had the first month saved. Looking forward to our next celebration when we get to month two! >>Cindy & Ralph
It’s TIME to take back control of your life,
and the lives of those you love.
You see it at the checkout counter in the supermarket. You look at groceries on the conveyor and your head says “…about $50 or so.” Then the cashier asks for $85.
You’ll see it in the rising cost of commuting through tolls, taxes, and gas (which is due to skyrocket very soon).
You see it in your children as they are indoctrinated to believe that climate change is the greatest threat to humanity, and socialism is actually OK.
You see it in popular media and culture as the United States, the only hope for liberty on the planet, is diminished, demeaned, and quietly erased from the history books to make room for a new global order.
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- Simple Tips for Starting Your Survival Garden
· A Cataclysm Awaits Us: Experts Warn Of “Worst Case Scenarios” Unfolding With “Danger Zone” From Summer Through November
Things are aligning socially and politically for what could be a very difficult summer
Things are aligning socially and politically for what could be a very difficult summer
Yours for better living,
Bruce, the Poor Man
A Final Note…
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