Squeeze more from your dollars

There are thousands of ways to save a little here and a little there. We all want to save money. For many families, every dollar needs to stretch as far as it will go. But how do you do it? Do you clip coupons? Should you work on a detailed budget where you watch each expense with an eagle eye, or perhaps chase credit cards that sport lower rates? How about trading in your gas guzzler for a more modest vehicle? The answer is — there is never just one right solution for everyone. It may take a combination of such approaches plus a change in our lifestyle or habits to get us completely in a positive cash situation. But we’re here to provide tips, and ideas as you work on your savings plans.

We will present some basic guidelines for spending less.

  • Prioritize. By developing a budget, reviewing it earnestly, understanding your spending patterns, thinking ahead and anticipating the unexpected expenses that can come your way, you’ll have a better idea about how you should be allocating your money. Trim the fat by starting out on paper: find out what is absolutely necessary, versus what is “nice-to-have”. Prioritizing your list will give you a good idea of which costs to cut.
  • Defer. Push out your unnecessary expenses and address them at a later time. Try to postpone, it doesn’t mean you need to say “NO” to spending. It just means “LATER”. When cash flow was good, a person may not have thought twice to bring out the checkbook or use the plastic. Today, all planned purchases are still in the pipeline, but will be staying there longer than usual.
  • Abstain. There are things you know you don’t need and really should never own. Those things are the stuff you forget about after delaying a purchase for 3 days. Give yourself 3 days to mull over a particular purchase before making it. Better yet, try for a whole week and sit and stew on the idea for a little bit. Chances are, you’ll forget about the item soon enough and you’ll also save yourself from additional clutter.
  • Substitute. A favorite thing to do is to find the exact replica of something. Beyond just looking for discounts and sales, practice “brand” substitution or look for affordable alternatives for products. By not buying brand names money can be saved. Comparison shop, do some research, look for deals, visit discount sites and locations.
  • The Budget Investigator will present many more additional ideas to squeeze limited dollars.