If it seems harder and harder to stretch your paycheck each week, you're not alone. Every time you turn your head the price of some necessity has gone up; gas, groceries, utility bills. Even a gym membership costs more than it used to, as clubs offer more amenities. If you don't have the time to earn extra money on the side, then perhaps it's time to start budgeting. But it can take some time to learn how to stick to a budget. Here are ten simple ways to find some extra money in your budget.
If you're like most people, you love a good bargain. So take advantage of coupons. You don't need to pick up a Sunday newspaper to get them as coupons are readily available online. But only use coupons for products you already buy. Avoid the trap of purchasing something simply because you have a coupon. Buying items you don't need or use isn't a bargain and can put a drain on your wallet. When used correctly, coupons will help you save money.
Clipping coupons is an easy way to save money
Photo Source: Flickr/Hobbies on a Budget
Reward Your Health
Most people try to be health-conscious nowadays. So why not reward yourself financially for your efforts? Try implementing a Health and Wellness Jar. Pick up a ceramic jar. When you've finished your workout, put a dollar in the jar. Besides gym time, pay yourself for other activities such as taking a hike, practicing yoga, or getting a massage. It's an easy way to save a couple hundred dollars over the course of a year.
Pay yourself to stay healthy
Photo Source: Flickr/American Advisors Group
Who doesn't have a coin jar at home? Start making an effort to pool all your spare change into that jar. Once a month, empty the jar and roll your coins into wrappers. You can get coin wrappers from Walgreens, Staples, or even dollar stores. You'll be surprised how much it adds up.
Pocket your spare change
Photo Source: Flickr/Philip Taylor
Supermarket Sale Shelf
Next time you grocery shop, check out the sale shelf. You'll find items reduced in cost because either the box was damaged or the product was discontinued, among other reasons. These items are still good for sale, but these factors make them harder to sell to wary customers. The produce section should have a reduced rack as well. If you're willing to look past these surface problems, there are plenty of options for good deals.
The cable bill tends to be a hefty one. So why not cut your costs by subscribing to a cheaper package? There are probably channels you pay for but don't watch. Another option is digital television. Cutting the cord can save you tons.
Turn off the TV and downsize your cable bill
Photo Source: Flickr/flash.pro
Keep the Car in the Garage
Society certainly drives here, there, and everywhere based on all the cars on the road. That means a decent chunk of change each week goes towards gas. To cut back, why not try carpooling with some co-workers? Or, if you live close enough, you can bike to work. Leg power, after all, is free.
Pedal power is cheaper than gas
Photo Source: Flickr/Carlos ZGZ
Who doesn't love to go out to eat? The restaurant industry offers no shortages of eating establishments to choose from. But going out to eat a handful of times each month adds up. Instead, stay in and cook meals at home. The food will be more nutritious and you'll get some quality family time.
Eating out is fun but costly.
Photo Source: Pixabay
Skip the Brand Names
Next time you go shopping, pay attention to the cost differences between brand name products and the store-made versions. In some cases it's a few dollars per item, and there's usually no difference between the products' quality. Go with the store-made product and pocket the savings.
Add clothes to the list of items that seem to cost more and more. Discover consignment shops and thrift stores as an alternative. You can find plenty of deals on lightly-worn clothing suitable for work or play. Dress like a million bucks without spending that much. And, you'll be supporting a local business. Win-win!
Search for good deals on clothes
Photo Source: Flickr/Kimco Realty
Who doesn't like to hop on a plane and jet off to another part of the country? Well, airfare, hotel rooms, and car rental (plus spending money) can cost a pretty penny. Why not try a staycation with places close to home? Drive to the beach, explore a big city, or head to an amusement park. Plenty of options to have a good time that don't require shelling out thousands of dollars before the vacation even begins.
Have you developed any hacks for how to stick to a budget? Share them in the comments below!
Feature Photo Source: Flickr/401(K) 2012