With the right attitude saving is fun. Take a positive approach and dive in, you will be pleasantly surprised! Let's look at different ways we can all cut down on monthly expenses to reduce living costs and to get rid of debt.
Find free entertainment because it is important to have fun and relaxation time. Of course this depends where you live but it is possible to find free entertainment in most places. Many cities offer free concerts in parks, free art galleries and other public events. If you live in the country you could hike, cycle or gather with friends. It may surprise you what you can do for free.
If you commute to work you could consider cycling if the distance is not too great and weather permits. Cycling to work would certainly save on gymnasium fees! Alternatively you could share transport with friends or neighbours if they have the same route to work. Public transport could also be a better alternative because it is generally cheaper and there are no costs for parking. The good side of sharing transport is that the journey provides time to chat and catch up with friends. Perhaps one can even make new friends on public transport.
This is one of my favourites! Some people turn up their noses at buying second-hand but it can be a lot of fun. Find a flea-market or second-hand shop which appeals to you. People often discard perfectly good designer clothes or "junk" furniture which turns out to be valuable antique. Even if you don't pick up something valuable you will certainly find something you like and the hunt will be fun. You can turn the search for second-hand goods into a family outing.
Buying second-hand books just makes sense because it is possible to buy what appeals to you at minimal cost. Almost all villages, towns and cities have second-hand book shops. It is also fun to hunt for music which has been previously owned. If you are lucky enough to still own an old record player you will pick up records for a song. Browsing through a second-hand music shop is really nostalgic.
It makes good sense to buy "previously used" garments for children. It is possible to find beautifully kept designer kiddies garments at amazingly cheap prices and this goes for children's toys too. Children grow out of their garments so quickly that many children can wear the same little outfits before the garments start looking worn.
It is important to go out for meals. Shop around for quality restaurants which also have "specials" or cheaper dishes on offer. On sunny days pack a picnic and enjoy the outdoors either in a city park or in the country. Beaches are free if you are fortunate to live near one. Make a list of your favourite picnic spots close to you.
Make a budget
Drawing up a budget has many advantages. It is fun and challenging to try to stick to your budget and you will feel a sense of achievement when you succeed. Success breeds success and soon it will become easier to keep to the monthly budget. Don't be unrealistic; your budget should be realistic so that you are able to achieve your goals. If you are too hard on yourself it may not be possible to keep to the budget and you may give up before you have given yourself a chance to succeed. Ask yourself some questions:
- Can we exchange our car for a cheaper model to run?
- Can we give up paid television for free entertainment which will get the family out and about?
- Can we buy second-hand toys/ gadgets for the children/ grandchildren?
- How much can we put away as savings?
With a positive attitude you can beat the budget blues. You may even notice you have a better quality of life as you change habits... who knows. Happy saving!