Having a cash crunch? It happens to most of us occasionally. A couple things I’ve realized are (1) Worry doesn’t change a thing, and (2) It’s unlikely I will win the lottery. I’ve also learned that there are a few things I can do to ease the problem.
Hanging laundry. Yes, it’s time-consuming if you work full-time, and some places don’t have a place for a clothesline (or don’t allow one). If you can’t have a clothesline, do you have shower rods? In bad weather I hang shirts and dresses on clothes hangers and hook them over the shower rods. I also use clothespins to hang socks and underwear on wire clothes hangers. Clothes racks are also available at many stores and take up little room. This helps eliminate using the dryer so much. If you like, when the clothes are almost dry you can throw them in the dryer to finish drying, de-wrinkle, and soften.
Cut your dryer sheets in half. Half a sheet is adequate to soften a dryer load and it doubles the amount of dryer sheets in a box. Unless your clothes are very dirty, you usually don’t need as much detergent as it says to use on the bottle/box.
Use lower wattage light bulbs. Unless you do close, detailed work you don’t need 100 watt bulbs. Paying more for fluorescent or energy-saving bulbs will help in the long run, but not for faster savings. Make sure lights are off in rooms not being used.
Shop around for the best deals on phones, cable or satellite TV, Internet, and car and home insurance. Sometimes you can save a lot by changing plans or companies.
Take lunch to work instead of eating out. Sometimes employees will order food delivered to the workplace. Remember your goal and just say, “No thanks.” Avoid vending machines. You can buy the same stuff that these machines have for half as much at a grocery store.
Combine errands to save gas. If you can bank, pay utilities, go to the post office or library, etc., in one trip, it saves gas and time.
This is touchy with some people, but if you smoke, quit. Cigarettes are terribly expensive and cause a lot of health problems. Ask yourself which you’d rather have: more money or emphysema?
Eliminate junk food. Chips, soda, and cookies are not healthy and are expensive. Also reduce convenience foods. These are the prepared or semi-prepared foods that are boxed, frozen, or canned. Practice cooking more items from scratch. Crock pots are great for working moms and the internet is loaded with recipes. They also use less energy than a stove.
When you go shopping, always make a list of what you need. Then, stick to it. Impulse buying is a no-no. Make a meal plan ahead of time so you know what you will need. Make a list of non-food items as well. Take advantage of discount stores like Dollar General, Family Dollar, Dollar Tree, etc.
Visit thrift stores like Goodwill or Salvation Army. Yard sales, garage sales, flea markets, etc., have some good bargains. Just remember, don’t buy something you don’t need just because it’s a bargain.
Following these tips won’t make you rich, but you will notice a change in your finances. Look for other ways to save. There are a lot of things we could really do without or can cut back on. Some people cancel cable TV for a few months to catch up on bills. Others have garage sales to earn a little extra cash. If the cash crunch isn’t disastrous, cutting back on a few things for a short time will help.
I like to make a game of it. How long can I make a tank of gas last? How cheap can I make meals that still taste good? Make up your own challenge.
Visit frugal sites on the internet for good tips on saving time and money. Just Google the words “frugal living.”
Another good source of money-saving tips is The Tightwad Gazette, available in most public libraries.