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How To Pinch Pennies on a Budget

You may think that you are already on top of things by packing your lunch and buying groceries in bulk, but there is much more to making the most of your money without giving up the things you love. Once you have realized budgeting, coupons and sales are not the enemy, dive into our list of helpful penny-pinching ideas to learn how you can be thrifty on your own terms.

Keep Track of Spending to Make Your Dollars Go Farther

The first step to spending smarter is to write out a budget and keep track of where your money goes. This does not mean that you have to say no to every shopping trip or dinner and drinks, but it is important to draw a line between things that are absolutely necessary and those that are not.

Once you've pinned down your monthly bills and expenses, consider if there are any redundancies. Do you really need Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, HBO, Showtime and basic cable? If you can save $10-20 a month consolidating subscriptions and monthly fees, it can add up quickly. You can also try apps like Digit to find areas of your budget where you can save a few dollars each week.

While saving a few bucks here and there certainly helps, it is important to also be thrifty when you are spending more. If you can save a few thousand dollars when buying a car or making other large purchases by haggling or setting up an interest-free payment plan, it will make a big difference in your yearly bottom line.

When you do decide to go out to eat or shop online, embrace free options when you can. You can save on gas and enjoy the outdoors by walking, and free shipping options online mean that you don't have to drive to the mall or store nearly as often if you can afford to wait a few days.

Eat Like a King without Spending Like One

There are many ways to be thrifty with food without cutting back to ramen packets and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Eating at home, brewing your own coffee and doing anything you can to minimize eating out are all great first steps.

Check out grocery stores like Trader Joe's and Aldi for the lowest prices, and when you're there, spend more time in the produce and fresh food aisles than the frozen or pre-packaged sections.

Build a meal plan based on things you like to cook and eat that are in-season, and keep an eye out for coupons and sales online and in local newspapers. You can also use cash back grocery apps like Checkout 51, Ibotta or Savings Catcher each time you shop.

Stretch meats further by mixing them with grains, beans and other vegetables. You can also try one or two days a week meatless to save money without totally giving up your favorite tacos or steak. If something you want is on sale, buy it in bulk and save it for later.

Once you've tried all of these ideas, go all the way and make bread, salad dressings, granola bars, pasta sauce, spice mixes and other items from scratch exactly the way you like them.

Spring Cleaning and Elbow Grease Go A Long Way

Like food, there are many ways to cut costs around the house. For starters you can cut back on your monthly electric and water bills by using less heat and air conditioning, air-drying clothes and saving grey water from your shower and sink for water plants

Once your monthly bills are in check, give your house or apartment a thorough cleaning. If you find any clothing, appliances or other items that you no longer use, sell them to a vintage or second hand store for a few extra bucks.

If you need to repaint the kitchen or other home project, embrace DIY solutions whenever possible. There is a world of resources at your local home improvement store and online that can cut costs of hiring outside help.

Even the thriftiest shoppers can find new ways to save a few bucks locally while still making room for fun. Simply being aware of your spending and thinking twice before an impulse purchase can help you better prepare for lean times.

Try out some of these techniques and find out which work best for you so you are ready for all of the budget bumps in the road ahead.

Blog Author: Clay Pitsenbarger on behalf of Gillespie & Murphy, PA

You may think that you are already on top of things by packing your lunch and buying groceries in bulk, but there is much more to making the most of your money without giving up the things you love. Once you have realized budgeting, coupons and sales are not the enemy, dive into our list of helpful penny-pinching ideas to learn how you can be thrifty on your own terms.

Keep Track of Spending to Make Your Dollars Go Farther

The first step to spending smarter is to write out a budget and keep track of where your money goes. This does not mean that you have to say no to every shopping trip or dinner and drinks, but it is important to draw a line between things that are absolutely necessary and those that are not.

Once you've pinned down your monthly bills and expenses, consider if there are any redundancies. Do you really need Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, HBO, Showtime and basic cable? If you can save $10-20 a month consolidating subscriptions and monthly fees, it can add up quickly. You can also try apps like Digit to find areas of your budget where you can save a few dollars each week.

While saving a few bucks here and there certainly helps, it is important to also be thrifty when you are spending more. If you can save a few thousand dollars when buying a car or making other large purchases by haggling or setting up an interest-free payment plan, it will make a big difference in your yearly bottom line.

When you do decide to go out to eat or shop online, embrace free options when you can. You can save on gas and enjoy the outdoors by walking, and free shipping options online mean that you don't have to drive to the mall or store nearly as often if you can afford to wait a few days.

Eat Like a King without Spending Like One

There are many ways to be thrifty with food without cutting back to ramen packets and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Eating at home, brewing your own coffee and doing anything you can to minimize eating out are all great first steps.

Check out grocery stores like Trader Joe's and Aldi for the lowest prices, and when you're there, spend more time in the produce and fresh food aisles than the frozen or pre-packaged sections.

Build a meal plan based on things you like to cook and eat that are in-season, and keep an eye out for coupons and sales online and in local newspapers. You can also use cash back grocery apps like Checkout 51, Ibotta or Savings Catcher each time you shop.

Stretch meats further by mixing them with grains, beans and other vegetables. You can also try one or two days a week meatless to save money without totally giving up your favorite tacos or steak. If something you want is on sale, buy it in bulk and save it for later.

Once you've tried all of these ideas, go all the way and make bread, salad dressings, granola bars, pasta sauce, spice mixes and other items from scratch exactly the way you like them.

Spring Cleaning and Elbow Grease Go A Long Way

Like food, there are many ways to cut costs around the house. For starters you can cut back on your monthly electric and water bills by using less heat and air conditioning, air-drying clothes and saving grey water from your shower and sink for water plants

Once your monthly bills are in check, give your house or apartment a thorough cleaning. If you find any clothing, appliances or other items that you no longer use, sell them to a vintage or second hand store for a few extra bucks.

If you need to repaint the kitchen or other home project, embrace DIY solutions whenever possible. There is a world of resources at your local home improvement store and online that can cut costs of hiring outside help.

Even the thriftiest shoppers can find new ways to save a few bucks locally while still making room for fun. Simply being aware of your spending and thinking twice before an impulse purchase can help you better prepare for lean times.

Try out some of these techniques and find out which work best for you so you are ready for all of the budget bumps in the road ahead.

Blog Author: Clay Pitsenbarger on behalf of Gillespie & Murphy, PA

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