Does money flow in and out every month? Is saving quite difficult? Learn a few simple ways to save money on your monthly expenses.
All of us would love to be able to save a little extra money each month on our household expenses. The reasons could be anything from replacing an old electrical appliance to putting away money towards your annual family holiday. For some people, the money they save might be used to do some charity work. Saving money usually makes people think of having to compromise on their happiness. Whatever the reason for saving may be, making the effort to save money every month need not be a traumatic experience. Here are some tips on how to save money.
Going out to eat
Almost every family eats outside, at a restaurant, on a regular basis. Having a meal at a restaurant can be quite an expensive affair. This is not just limited to restaurants that are considered fancy or upscale. Even a meal for a family of four can set you back by quite a handsome amount.
It is not difficult to save money on your eating out bills. Start by making a list of how often you and your family eat out, and how much the bill comes to. Also, include the amount you spend when you order food at home like pizzas, burgers, ice creams, etc. Once you have an idea of how much you are spending, then you can start to calculate where you can save money.
The most obvious way to save money would be to eat out less often. For example, if you and your family go out for dinner twice a week, try reducing it to once a week or on a fortnightly basis. It might seem a little difficult at first but if you are saving with a specific goal in mind, you will be more determined to stick to your plans.
Another area you could save money on is to cut down on purchasing food during your lunch break while you are at work. Try taking a home-cooked lunch instead. This will not only be cheaper, but is also a healthier option since processed food generally has a high salt and fat content. Extend this idea to your children as well. Instead of giving them money so they can eat at the school canteen during their recess, give them healthy snacks like sandwiches, fresh fruit, and salads.
Shopping for groceries
Grocery shopping is another area where it is easy to lose track of how much money you are spending. Before you go shopping for groceries, make a list of the items you need to purchase. If you stick to your list, you will avoid making any impulsive purchases as you are sticking to buying only what you need.
Check your local newspaper to find out if the grocery stores are offering discounts on any of the items on your list. This is a great way to save money on your regular shopping, besides allowing you to make a few other purchases if you feel you are getting a good deal. Some stores even have coupons that you can use to save money on your purchases. Avoid buying pre-packaged or ready-to-eat foods. These are more expensive and less nutritious than buying the ingredients you would need to prepare the same dish at home.
Nowadays, taking the entire family out to the cinema for a movie can burn a hole in your pocket considering the ticket prices at your nearby multiplex. If you add in the cost of snacks and cold drinks, the price you pay for an evening's entertainment skyrockets higher. The situation is almost the same if you decide to take your family out to an amusement park.
You do not have to cut out going to the movies completely. You could keep your trip to the cinema as a monthly occasion so that your family does not completely miss out on the fun of watching a movie on the big screen. For the rest of the month, rent videos or DVDs of movies and watch them in the comfort of your own home. Designate one night of the week as 'game night' on which the family spends an evening playing games like scrabble, monopoly, carrom, etc.
If you want to take your family out for the day, consider taking them for a picnic. This is a great way to save money as you will only have to pack the eatables. You will also get to spend some quality time with your family and bond with your spouse and children.
Saving a little extra money each month does not require you to make any big sacrifices. A few subtle changes to your lifestyle are all you need to accomplish your saving targets. Remember, a penny saved is a penny earned.