Cut your budget by half without being cheap!

 6 tips to save money

We all go through phases when we want to start saving money. It could be for an upcoming occasion, or maybe you aren’t having such a great time at work money-wise. Whatever the reasons, money saved is money earned. However, we don’t mean that you should be cheap and start starving yourself to save a few bucks! By carefully planning your expenses, you can ensure that you still have quality of life without going overboard and wasting money.

Here are 6 tips to save money without being cheap:

  1. Always have a list –

When you go grocery shopping, how many times do you end up buying things that just lie around at the back of the ladder? Before you head out to the grocery store, carefully check what all you have run out of and make a list. It also helps to create a weekly menu for dinner, so that you don’t end up buying things that will just go in to the dustbin. Once at the grocery store, resist the urge to buy things you don’t need. No, you don’t need to buy new underwear only because it’s on discount!

Buy things that are used up readily in bulk. Sometimes you’ll find many good offers when you buy in bulk – like you could get a ‘But 1 get 1 free’ offer on detergent. Similarly, stay away from offers that are of no use to you. It may be smart to pick things on discount but not if you never end up using those things!

  1. Buy on sale –

Only because you are trying to save money doesn’t mean you are no longer entitled to buying new things for yourself. However, curb the urge to buy something at full retail value. Instead, you could wait for seasonal sale and pick up those items at a great discount! Befriend a salesgirl at all your favorite brands and coax her to save one piece in your size for you. You’d be surprised to see how much you end up saving!

Another good alternative to buying clothes and shoes is to shop online. You can get discounts through the year and most online stores also offer you free home delivery, which means you didn’t even waste on fuel to head out and buy those things!

  1. Make small changes –

Saving money is not easy when you take stop steps at a time. Love your morning latte before work? Now instead of heading in to Starbucks, where you will be tempted to also buy that fresh muffin, make your own coffee. Invest in quality coffee beans and make your own coffee.

Also, pack your own lunch for work instead of heading out to lunch every day. You’d be surprised how much tastier and cheaper a sandwich is when you make it yourself and eat it for free! All you need to do is to keep a loaf of bread handy at home and create a quick lettuce and chicken, or eggs and mayonnaise sandwich every day. The extra time you are left with at work can go in to researching for other sandwich recipes!

If you drive to office, start a car pool club. You’d be surprised to see how many colleagues would love to save money on fuel by car poling.

  1. Cheaper ways to entertainment –

We all know that fancy dinners and wild nights at the hottest nightclub in town costs money. While we don’t say you give up these completely, reserve just 1 weekend a month where you go out and indulge. For the other weekends, find something else to do. You could join a local library and read books, or even be a part of a book club. If the outdoors appeal to you, plan hiking trips with friends for the weekend and go explore new places in your own city. It will give you a whole new experience without costing you much!

Also, if you just cannot do without company on the weekends, instead of heading out to expensive restaurants you could invite friends over for a home cooked meal. Learn how to make spaghetti and meatballs and rent a movie to stay in and have a fun night! You could even have a pot luck dinner so that you alone don’t do all the spending and cooking.

  1. Consider buying used items –

Buying used items can sometimes be a great choice. No, we don’t mean you should wear used clothes or shoes. But you must definitely consider buying used furniture, electronics and maybe even a car. Many a times, people give away new furniture at throw away prices because they have to move out. If you are in dire need for a new bed or a new couch, consider buying from these people. You’ll save a lot of money while not compromising on quality.

Many second hand stores will sell you books, rugs, small furniture pieces, knick knacks and even utensils. Check out these stores if you are looking for cheaper ways to re-decorate.

  1. Collect coupons –

Collecting coupons can be the easiest way to save money. You’d be surprised to see how often you come across coupons on haircuts, grocery shopping and restaurants in newspapers and magazines. Instead of throwing these away, collect them and use them to save money! Even a 10% discount at your salon will make a huge difference o the total bill when you get a haircut along with a hair color job and a pedicure.  Similarly, collect discount coupons for ordering in food and getting a discount at your grocery store.

These 6 simple ways allow you to save money, without really changing much in life. And wouldn’t it be great when you have a bigger bank balance at the end of 6 months? Then you can surely indulge and buy yourself a new bag or new shoes (also on discount) for being such a good girl!

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