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Times are tight all around. I know we are not alone in this. Factor in one and not two incomes and things can be very tight. After our big Disney trip this past fall and general winter expenses, we realized all our bank accounts were doing was getting smaller. We had to do something and as quickly as we could. One of the first things I did was hit the internet. We also quit a lot of our spending and made a budget. Yes, until now we haven't really had a budget.
When I looked at the budget I knew we would be okay if we stopped spending much past our necessary expenses. We had wiggle room, but not much. We worked to make sure we only spent a certain amount each week. Then I realized our next problem, we weren't taking a set amount of money out on a certain day each week, we would just try to keep it low and only spend the cash as much as possible. We weren't tracking the money either.
Then I found a site that has helped me out a bit and we are now trying these new methods. In walked (well, I clicked to her somehow) The fun, cheap or free Queen. I now love her site. She has a ton of great tips and we are working on trying out her version of the envelope system. I will let you click on her link and see for yourself the full detail of her system. As for us, I have set apart a specific amount of money we can spend each month of groceries and for fun.
I also cut our costs by couponing. Coupons can be a great thing. Now, by no means to I even want to extreme coupon. That is just too much. I get coupons that I know I will use or for things we need. If I don't need that item, I don't get the coupon. Also, if i cannot get a good price even with the coupon, I don't use it. I know people that think they have to buy the product because the coupon is going to expire soon and they have to use a coupon if they have it. That is not the case! Let it go.
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We also use generic items whenever possible. As a family, we do not mind generic items, and usually I see no difference in taste or quality. I am also excited to start making more and more of the things we use and eat. We have been eating out a lot less. I already used regular household items like vinegar to clean the house, so that was easy. I am also going to try making more of the smoothie drinks that Hubby likes to get from the store. And since I won and awesome dehydrator (Thank you Happily Domestic!) I am going to try my hand at making jerky and other great little snacks. If we get good at making jerky, that can even help with some Christmas presents that we tend to give out each year.
We are going to see how we do at pinching every penny we can and paying off our debt sooner rather than later. Now, I pass the advice on to you....
How do you save money? What are your budgeting tips? Let's here it!
Until next time... Happy Penny Pinching!