Items you will need
So, you need to spend less money and save more. Doesn't every one? Maybe you think you've cut your expenses down to bare bones, but chances are you haven't. You can stop wasting your money, and start keeping more for yourself with these fairly simple ideas.
Evaluate your monthly expenses, and know exactly what you are paying for. Decide what you can do without, and what bills you can reduce. Are you paying for unlimited long distance service on your home phone and cell phone? Do you need both? What about that gym membership?
Ask for better rates. Call customer service with your cable or dish service, your phone company, even your credit card companies and ask them how you can reduce your bill. Many will go step by step through your existing plans and help you identify where you can save. Credit card companies may not as easily accommodate you, and you may have to speak with a supervisor, but, hey, it's worth a shot.
Reduce your energy usage by weather proofing your home, adjusting your thermostat, turning off lights, washing full loads, washing laundry in warm or cold water instead of hot, hang drying your clothes, etc. You should also use power strips with an off/on switch for the electronics in your house, insulate your water heater, keep your air filters clean, and consider unplugging that garage refrigerator. Many utility companies have tips for reducing energy usage on their web sites.
Keep food in the house. Buy staple items in bulk and cook homemade as much as possible. Sure, you can save a few pennies clipping coupons, but when you figure out what you are paying for a small box of rice mix compared to making it the homemade way, you'll see the difference.
Ask yourself if there is a better, less expensive way to do things. Is it less expensive to wash your own car? Will it cost less to sweep the patio instead of starting up that annoying leaf blower? Is it cheaper to make a vinegar based cleaning solution than to buy that 32 ounce bottle of cleaner for $5? You get the idea.
Force yourself to save. Before you spend any money from your paycheck, put some into savings and do your best with the rest. You have less to spend, yes, but you are building wealth.
Stop incurring more debt. Live on a strictly cash only basis.
Start paying down your debt. Beginning this month, start paying off at least one credit card by specifying your own minimum payment (preferably more than is indicated on your statement). Pay that amount every month, even when your monthly payment goes down, until that debt is paid off. Once it is paid in full, take the amount you were paying and add it to another payment you are making, and repeat the process.
Pay yourself. Every time you save money by washing your own car or hang drying your laundry, drop a few coins or a dollar bill into a savings jar. You can actually see your savings in cold, hard cash, and you'll be surprised how fast it can add up in a month.
Set up a monthly budget and stick to it. There are a number of online household budgeting tools available. Check out the Monthly Bills link under the Related Ads on the top right of this page to find one.