Has your life changed already? (see part one
) Okay, that may be a bit ambitious, but employing some of the tips from the first part of this article will definitely prepare you for the next steps. It’s all about starting the process and the rest will take care of itself.
To expand on the importance of planning meals, and not eating out, think of the last time you enjoyed a casual dinner out on the town. For me, I enjoyed chicken parmesan and garlic mashed potatoes. The meal was simple and delicious. The price? Well, that was less appetizing. For two breaded chicken breasts and mashed potatoes, our bill came to $26, after the $5 coupon. On first glance, this cost of this night out goes unnoticed, because we are used to spending this much, and often more. After determining that I could have made the same meal at home, for $5, or the cost of my coupon, I wonder if my time spent was worth it. After further review, I’d say it definitely wasn’t. We could have enjoyed the same dinner discussion with our friends, in a more comfortable environment (our house) and I would have had the opportunity to display my culinary prowess.
We have been programmed to believe that a $25 meal for two is a good thing, but when your budget
is tight this is a perfect activity to cut from your daily life. What will take the place of these weekly nights out you ask? Cooking yourself for one thing, but there is another fantastic activity that you can start to partake in....couponing.
Take the plunge, start clipping coupons.
is definitely something that takes time to get into, mostly for the fear of being thought of as a prototypical couponer (old, frugal woman), but it is okay and completely worth it. If we were shopping together and I told you that I would give you $0.55 if you bought M&M’s, and you were already planning to buy M&M’s, you would take me up on the offer, right? Well, there’s not much difference between that and clipping coupons, so just get over it and start doing it, and you won’t even have to shop with me. When you combine your meal planning sessions with coupon hunts (I agree, it is getting nerdier) you’ll be saving money in no time. As with everything, the more time you spend planning meals and clipping coupons the better you will get, so take those initial $2 savings as mini victories until you work yourself up to $20+ savings. You’ll get there.
Change your habits. You know how you start to decrease the amount of toothpaste or shampoo you use when you get close to the end of the tube or bottle so you can extend its life? Start using your products that way from your initial purchase and you will be able to double and perhaps triple the life of many of your products. Live by the motto, “Use it like it’s almost gone.” If you don’t know what I mean, take a picture of your first tooth brush of a new tube of tooth paste and one of your last use of that same tube, you’ll soon be on board.
As with so many things in our lives there are many simple opportunities for each of us to take better control of our finances and budgets. The most important, and most difficult step, is the first step. You have to make yourself tweak your lifestyle, but after you take that first step you will be on a much better path towards financial health. You certainly won’t be ready to tell your friends about how you are getting there (that takes a lot of time), but you will definitely be heading to a better place. Missed part one? Click here
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