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Cutting Costs & Saving Money in Hard Economic Times, some suggestions

Updated on November 20, 2010
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In hard economic times, people have to tighten their belts to survive against lower incomes and rising costs. Here are a few commonsense suggestions.

  • Use a budget. Oftentimes this standard practice is overlooked, but it really does help. Plan your expenditures. Sit down with a pencil and paper and make a complete list of all your bills and obligations. Try to follow your budget as closely as possible.
  • Buy used whenever possible. Thrift shops, second-hand stores, Salvation Army, DAV stores, etc. can save you a ton of money. And oftentimes there are gems hidden among the stones. For those who are squeamish about used items, only purchase things you can clean or wash to your satisfaction once you get them home.
  • Make cheaper substitutions. For instance, a bottle of inexpensive shampoo such as Suave or White Rain will fill two soft soap containers for hand washing and costs much less. The washing action cleans your hands, so you can relax about whether it is anti-microbial. You can even add some inexpensive lotion to the shampoo to help soften your skin. You can make your own cleaners and laundry soap as well.
  • Several times a week, have cheaper meals that include beans and whole-grain rice. Both items can be purchased in bulk and are full of complex carbs which create a feeling of fullness. They have the added benefit taking longer to digest, satisfying hunger longer. They are better for your health than fatty meats. There are great recipes for making tasty dishes.
  • Make your own gifts. A handmade gift is special, something you put your time and love into. If you are not particularly crafty, scour the internet for instructions and ideas. From crocheting and knitting, to handmade books and home-baked treats, there is something for everyone on your list.
  • Reuse and recycle. Before you discard an item, think about whether it can be put to some other use. For instance, I was in the post office a while back and noticed a lady mailing letters in envelopes she had made from old magazine pages. I was so impressed, I gave it a try using a standard 6” x 9” brown envelope as a pattern. You can’t write on them, but if you use a label, they make interesting and functional envelopes. And the paper is free! All you pay for is the tape. Your handmade envelopes should be standard sizes to avoid increased postage costs.

Add your own helpful money-saving hints in the comments section! Share your wisdom, and contribute ideas for stretching a dollar. Thanks!

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    • chspublish profile image

      chspublish 7 years ago from Ireland

      You're so right about all of above. I find growing my own fruit and veg really helps the pocket. Thanks for the hub.

    • Karen Wodke profile image
      Author

      Karen Wodke 7 years ago from Midwest

      Great idea. Sometimes the less expensive brands work just as well as name brands.

    • Alison Graham profile image

      Alison Graham 7 years ago from UK

      Thanks Karen for the helpful advice. I watched a program on UK TV recently on money saving tips and one of theirs was to make cheaper substitutions - for example, trying out a cheaper brand of marmalade, sauce and so on - and if you cannot tell the difference, switch brands and save - I have tried this out and put it to the test and am saving around £50 per month on my grocery shopping bill! Great advice, voted up!