|Nancy Twigg is a speaker and author who loves inspiring others to live more
simply. Adapted from Nancy’s newly revised book, Celebrate Simply: Your
Guide to Simpler, More Meaningful Holidays and Special Occasions (www.celebratesimply.com).
Visit Nancy online at www.countingthecost.com
Ben Franklin once said, "Beware
of little expenses. A small leak will sink a great ship."
Five dollars here, ten dollars there
-- these little leaks may not seem like much at the time but added
together, they can make a serious dent in your attempts to control
your cash flow. Here are some quick reminders for stretching your
dollars by controlling the most common areas of budget
1. Grocery shopping - Try
switching to a "cash-only" system for grocery spending.
Buy in bulk if doing so saves you money. Use coupons only for
products you would purchase anyway. Stock up when there's a good
sale. Look for items that are reduced for quick sale. Try to
postpone each shopping trip as long as possible by creatively using
up leftovers and whatever else you have on hand.
2. Eating out - Make going out
to eat a treat for special occasions only. To keep costs down, use
dollar-off or buy-one-get-one-free coupons. Order a less-expensive
appetizer as your entree. Save money by splitting an entree with a
friend. Skip the extras like appetizers and dessert. Drink water
(plain or with a twist of lemon) as your beverage.
3. Clothes shopping - Get in
the habit of checking clearance racks often for bargains. Avoid
trendy clothes; go for durable classics that never go out of style.
Shop at thrift stores, consignment stores and yard sales. Trade
good-condition clothes you no longer wear with a friend. Save money
by keeping your wardrobe simple: stick with basic mix-and-match
pieces in coordinating colors.
4. Entertainment costs - Use
dollar-off and buy-one-get-one-free coupons. Look for free
activities to entertain yourself. See a matinee or second-run movie.
Ask about specials during non-peak hours. If you go with several
other people, ask about group discounts. Plan potlucks and
rented-movie nights with friends rather than going out for dinner
and a show.
5. Impulse spending - Pack
snacks ahead of time rather than buying from vending machines or
running through a drive-thru. Swap your old magazines with a friend
who subscribes to other publications. If you must have your gum,
candy or mints, buy them in multi-packs rather than individually
from convenience stores or vending machines. Use the
"24-hour" or "7-day" rule for unplanned
purchases: buy the item only if you still think you need it after
thinking about it for a while.