Many households are looking for ways to take a very thin budget and stretch it a little more. Past generations knew how to get by with very little, a skill that quite a few of us would benefit from if we are willing to take the time to learn how. Here are seven strategies from CB Online that worked very well during the Depression years and can still provide a lot of help today.
#1: Eat at home – In times past, most meals were prepared and consumed at home. Today, far too many of us rely on stopping by a restaurant or a fast food joint after work. Limit your meals out to once or twice a week and the difference in your wallet will soon be apparent. As a bonus, you’ll be in a better position to control your fat and carbohydrate intake and begin to get rid of that spare tyre.
#2: Use those leftovers – Preparing meals at home invariably means there are leftovers. Don’t toss them in the trash. Save them and find a way to use them in the preparation of another meal. During the Depression years, a family would start out with fried chicken on Sunday, and by Wednesday the leftovers were being used in soup. Keep a container in your freezer that is just for leftover vegetables or meats and when the container is full, make a pot of nourishing and tasty soup.
#3: Join a clothing exchange – One of the ways families used to help each other out during hard times was a clothing exchange. Essentially, this approach called for several households to come together and offer any clothing the kids had outgrown to the other families. Everybody usually went home with something they could use and it didn’t cost a cent.
#4: Barter your services – Perhaps you need the lawn mowed but can’t afford to hire someone for the job. Offer to bake your bachelor neighbour a cake if he will do the job. You get to use ingredients that you already keep around the house and he gets a home made cake for less than an hour’s job. Everybody wins and not a dime is spent.
#5: Walk – How many times do we hop in the car and go somewhere that is no more than five or six blocks away? Save the car for the longer trips and either walk or bike to destinations that are close by. You’ll get some much-needed exercise and curtail your gasoline consumption significantly.
#6: Get a spare change jar – The concept is simple. Any loose change in your pocket or purse at the end of the day goes into a common jar. When the jar is filled to the brim, the change is counted and the money used for something the family wants. Try this approach for buying a new TV rather than using your credit card and accruing interest while you pay off the balance for several months running.
#7: Save the credit cards for emergencies – Put your household on a cash only basis. People tend to be freer with their spending when custom plastic extrusions is involved. If a purchase has to come out of your bank balance, chances are you will think twice before proceeding. This approach helps to motivate you to consider the ramification of each purchase and save you from running out of money before the end of the month.
These strategies for saving money are only the beginning. Spend some time looking closely at your situation and identify some other ways that are relevant to your lifestyle. Keep in mind that even small changes in the way you spend money and use the resources already in your possession can save money and ultimately allow you to enjoy a greater measure of financial freedom.