Living on less is no longer an option. Rising costs for property taxes, gasoline, and food coupled with either being unemployed or “waiting for the ax to fall” may already be your reality. It is up to you to choose to deal with this new reality as best you can. Your choice to adjust your attitude will go a long way in helping you survive a poor economy.
Here are some things that you can do to reduce your costs. In case you have not noticed, you can always find less expensive solutions!
First, stop throwing away money! By reusing those things that you normally send to the trashcan such as bread bags, frozen vegetable bags, the bags from inside cereal boxes and other plastic bags you can actually save money. When finishing the item in a bag, simply invert the bag and wash it out, allow it to dry and you have a freezer bag.
By doing this simple thing, you are 1) helping the environment and 2) giving your budget a chance to breathe. Use plastic wrap, freezer bags, and aluminum foil (all of which can be reused repeatedly) to store leftovers or break large packages of meat into serving-sized portions. Although this seems like a trivial way to save, why spend money on products that are unnecessary?
Check your cupboards, pantry and refrigerator; there is an abundance of reusable plastic margarine tubs, coffee containers, and cottage cheese containers. When you are done with them, make every attempt to re-use them; if you cannot re-use them, recycle them. If you cannot recycle them, give them to your local senior citizen centre or the local boys and girls club. Why purchase plastic food storage systems when you have a supply of plastic bowls with lids available free of charge? Who cares if they don’t stack neatly, or aren’t color-coordinated with your dishes?
Kidney beans, black beans, navy beans, butter beans, tofu, peanut butter, eggs, cheese and seeds can provide needed protein and simultaneously shave 5% off your grocery bill, and still feed your family without compromising taste or quality. Eat plenty of dark, leafy greens, which are rich in iron and provide calcium. Add beans, nuts, or seeds to salads, soups, stews, and omelets to add protein.
These are just some tips to help you on your way to becoming a smart money manager during tough economic times. Remember, reduce, reuse and recycle your way to a better budget, and spend money on foods that pack a protein punch without depleting your wallet.