The Best Savings Plan Ever and How To Find One

In order to have a proper budget, one must initiate a saving plan into their lives. To utilize on of these saving plans correctly, it is crucial to find the right one to suit your needs. There are multiple sources of these saving plans and our goal today is to bring them all together. We’ll go over what to look for in a plan, the sources of a plan, and how to properly use one. Let’s begin.

What to Look For In a Savings Plan

To start exploring what we should look for in a plan, it would be wise to first go over the definition of a “savings plan”. A savings plan is an investment where a person will contribute a certain amount of money on a reoccurring basis to reach a financial goal. This can be done on either a long term or a short term basis; it’s really up to the individual.

There are two major things that you should be looking for. Is the plan flexible and is it simple? Flexibility and simplicity are the two main factors that differentiate between a bad plan and a fantastic one. If the plan is flexible, it will be easy to add your own categories and goals to it. A plan is simple if it can be understood with just a basic rundown of it.

Where to Find a Savings Plan

You can find a savings plan just about anywhere online, all you have to do is one simple search. You can even find a plan right here at BudgetPronto. If you explore the site a bit or use the search functionality, you will most definitely come across many articles discussing how to budget your finances. Find one that suits your needs and stick with it! You’ll be thanking yourself years down the line that you decided to use a proper savings plan.

A Savings Plan can help you prepare for retirement!

There are several types of planes. There are 52 week plans, which is personally our favorite. Using a simple calculator or formula, you can make a 52 week savings plan online with only a few clicks of your mouse and a few pounds of the keyboard. There are also thrifty ones. If you like being thrifty, there are plenty on the internet for you to utilize. Heck! There are even savings plans for children. Basically, no matter what you are looking for in your plan, you will most likely discover it.

HOW TO USE A SAVINGS PLAN

Now this is where it gets tricky. Just kidding! There is nothing tricky about it if you found a one that was simple to use. Usually a plan comes along with a full set of instructions. Read through these to learn how to use one. The worst mistake that you can make is not using the plan for its intended purpose and messing up with all your finances. Just like you should use the correct tool for the job, you should always use the right savings plan for the money. Speaking of money: you’ll be saving tons of it!

Conclusion

So in conclusion, you should be looking for a savings plan that is simple and flexible. It should be easy to use and easy to change up. You can find a plan at BudgetPronto or by simply using Google (or your favorite search engine). Using a plan is also very easy, just follow the instructions. It’s as easy as pie, as easy as baking a cake and you’ll end up saving cash by doing it.

Save Money by Living on a Budget

We will start with the basics of how to live on a budget and it will mostly focus on frugal living in the USA and UK, with tips, tricks and strategies on how to start saving money. However, almost all of the strategies discussed here can be applied in other countries similar to the USA and UK as well. This article will cover the topics of budgeting, savings on food and housing, traveling on a tight budget, and some other tricks for happy frugal living.

When it comes to personal finances, learning how to start saving money is the most impactful thing you can do to change them in the short term. Our finances depend on three major categories – income, savings, and expenses. A monthly budget calculator is a free online tool you can use to track the change in each of these categories over time; hopefully the money management tools that we share will make a difference in your bottom line. Out of these three, savings get accumulated over time and if you don’t already have any, in the short term there is not much you can do about it. Income is a category that you can’t change in the short term either; you can change in the long term, and perhaps even in the medium term, if you look into ways to make some extra money on the side. Still, even finding temporary work is not easy. Therefore, it shouldn’t be surprising that so many people are realizing the need to learn how to start saving money. The monthly budget calculator can really help you to plan future changes in these categories easily and for free, especially when it comes to expenses and savings.

Cutting down on expenses is the quickest way to change the state of your finances and also introduce a positive change in your life so we will be sharing some great tips on saving money.

Using a Family Budget Template Saves Time and Money

family budget template

Managing a household is no easy task. Parents have to manage chores, raise the kids, keep things running and make sure to do it efficiently and cost-effectively. Budgeting tools can be really useful in helping parents manage household income and expenses better and easier. A family budget template is a simple but very effective tool to help parents do just that. There is a variety of templates available today – some come free of charge and some for a small fee. There are Excel spreadsheet versions, Google Docs versions, printable ones, online ones as well as computer and mobile applications. Furthermore, there are different types according to user preferences, primarily family budget planners and personal budget planners. Thus, a family budget template will be easy to find, but there are some things to keep in mind when you are choosing the right one. This article will help you distinguish exactly what you need from the wide variety of choice available on the Internet right now.

Setting Up a Family Budget Template

When it comes to budgeting, the more specific the budget is, the better the results will be. All of the family income should be assigned a purpose in the budget, be it to cover some expense, to be saved, or to be invested. In addition, if the expense categories are broken down in detail, you will have a better chance to spend money exactly as desired – based on plans rather than impulses. With a more detailed budget, you also have a better overview of exactly which type of expenses were bigger or smaller than the budgeted amounts. Thus, when you are looking for the perfect family budget template, make sure that it includes all the expense categories that are relevant to you in greater detail. For example, taking care of small children, teenagers or elderly family members all have their specific type of expenses that will reoccur on a regular basis. You have a much better chance of allocating money well and sticking to the budget if the family budget template has big family expenses like child care broken down into more detail.

The next thing to consider when looking for budgeting templates is the period of time the template is intended for. Weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly budget templates are all available, and it is up to you to decide which type of budget suits your needs best. You don’t have to choose only one – since they are very different, yearly budgets can be used in combination with weekly or monthly ones. Monthly budgets are most commonly used, probably because the budgeting doesn’t need to be done too often – only once a month – and many expenses like bills, rent and mortgage come on a monthly basis. On the other hand, weekly budgets can be very useful for special occasions, such as when you are traveling or doing something out of your regular routine. Yearly budget templates pay special attention to income and expenses that occur once a year, such as taxes, tax returns, insurance, and similar. You can use the information from the yearly budget and incorporate the costs and income in your monthly budgets as well. Thus, there are several types of a family budget template that can be used for different purposes.

right family budget template

The main reason why it is so important to choose the right family budget template is that budgeting can be quite challenging in the beginning. Many people find it frustrating to find out that it is not easy to anticipate the correct amount for all kinds of expenses. However, if the budget is tailored to your needs and provides sufficient detail, it will be easier to anticipate expenses. On the other hand, you don’t want to spend too much time customizing the family budget template, thus you need to start with one that includes most of the things you spend on and one you could fill in relatively easily. Filling in the budget template can be quite time-consuming at first, but that is the necessary cost of better spending and saving habits. If it was easy enough to do in our heads, there wouldn’t be a need for it in the first place! As it is, it is not easy to do these approximations in our heads – with everything else going on in our lives, it is be easy to lose focus. So why take on all that mental stress of planning and then retrieving information, when a computer could easily do it for you? Try to keep in mind that there is a learning curve when it comes to budgeting – within a few months you will probably feel like an expert compared to your friends who have never used such tools. When they see how much you have benefited from using a family budget, they will be begging for your advice and your family budget template!

How to Implement a Cash Envelope System

 

There you are, sitting in the drive thru at Starbucks. You already placed your order and they are making your venti caramel Frappuccino. You start searching through your wallet, gathering as many coins as possible. Unfortunately, you are a dollar and three cents short. It strikes you! You don’t have enough cash to pay for your delicious drink. That venti caramel Frappuccino…  In guilt, you pull out your credit card and pay for the drink with plastic. You just added more debt into your life. All this stress could have been avoided by using cash. Specifically, all of this could’ve been avoided by implementing a cash envelope system.

Implementing a Cash Envelope System

Set the budget.

So you’ve decided that it’s time to have a money system in place. With a budget that is properly adjusted, you’re months will seem so much easier. Your days will seem much less stressful. You know how much money you have and there is no way to spend more than necessary.

Incomes vary from person-to-person. It is up to you to figure out an amount that you are comfortable spending each month. This amount will then be divided into multiple categories.

Pick the cash categories.

It’s important to budget correctly for categories such as groceries.

The different cash categories are arguably the most important part of the cash envelope system. The categories are the framework of the system. To pick your categories, sit down with a pen and paper and record a list of all the expenses you have throughout the month. Start thinking! When I was first creating my system, my categories were as follows:

  • Automobile costs
  • Childcare
  • Rent
  • Groceries (mmm food)
  • Club Fees
  • Taxes
  • Utilities
  • Savings

In the same way that income varies, the categories will be different depending on who you are and what you do. Do you really like Starbucks? You can create a separate envelope dedicated to that.

Keep in mind that mortgage payments, rent, or just about anything that you’re only going to be paying once do not need to have envelopes.

Make or buy the cash envelopes.

The envelopes themselves are also super important. You’ll want one envelope for each category that you come up with. I’ve seen many people create their own envelopes out of office paper. Of course, you can just go online and buy the cash envelopes.

You’ll be stuck with these envelopes for a long time. You want them pretty, you want them perfect. Most of all, you want them to be functional. With making your own envelope, you are able to make it just the way you want it to be.

You can even do things like placing an index card on the front of the envelope and record all the transactions in and out of the envelope. At the beginning of the month you might put in $300, so you can record that as a transaction going in. As you spend, you record the money leaving the envelope. This way, you don’t need to constantly count how much money you have left!

Spend and adjust.

Your first month with your awesome envelopes will not be perfect. I know that mine wasn’t and nor were the experiences I’ve heard from family and friends. It takes time to get used to having limits. I highly recommend that you keep a notebook by your envelopes. You can use this as a personal journal; record the flaws and the positives of the system. What do you like most about it? What would you change?

If you felt that a certain envelope needed a bit of extra money, you should write that down. At the start of the next month, you can easily change around the cash that each envelope gets.

It is super important to enjoy your money. If a particular category feels like too much of a restriction, nothing is stopping from changing just how big that restriction is.

As the months pass, you will gradually adjust certain aspects of the system, making it your very own. One system might not work for another person, so having an individualize envelope system is crucial to making it work for you.

Benefits of Using Cash Envelopes

Spend Less Money

This is probably one of the major benefits of the cash envelope system. It is simply impossible to go over budget and it controls your mindless spending. With the system you are able to truly understand how much money you have. You realize how much money that you waste.

You don’t have to spend all the money in your envelope. In fact, you really shouldn’t. At the end of the month, you can take the remaining cash and put it into savings, investments, or grow your emergency fund.

Simplest Budgeting System

The reason why the whole cash envelope thing is so popular is because of its simplicity. Anyone can understand the basic principles of the system. There are no advanced spreadsheets; your budget will not be adjusting throughout the month.

What you have is a handful of envelopes. It’s a very tactile concept. You spend an hour setting up your wallets, and it’s good for the rest of the month. It’s all about setting and forgetting.

Impossible to Go Over Budget

As I said previously, it is impossible to go over budget. Everyone will have different meanings of “going over budget”, but for me I am able to stick to how much I put into the wallet. Of course, it is very possible to add some more cash ‘magically’ to your wallet, but cheating is no fun. You are only cheating yourself.

Controls your Mindless Spending

When you look at your money inside the wallet, you realize that you do not have as much as you originally thought. Having a credit card in your hand and having a $20 bill in your hand comes with two entirely different mentalities. With the credit card you are just spending an invisible number, with cash you can see and you actually physically spend the money.


Envelope Budgeting in Conclusion

It’s a great idea and you will not regret doing it. If you follow advice given by Budget Pronto and others around the web, you should have a fairly solid system set up in a few days.

Critically think! Some things may work for you and not work for others. Create something that you enjoy, as life is meant to be enjoyed and loving.

Go ahead, start your cash envelope system. What’s holding you back?

Saving Money on Groceries

saving money on groceriesFood represents a big fraction of most households’ monthly budgets. When people suddenly find themselves in financial difficulties, the food budget is the first to decrease because they immediately eliminate eating out expenses and start preparing all their meals at home. This, of course, results in considerable savings. But, when you need to start a really frugal living, there is much more you can do to save on food expenses.

Save Money By Smart Grocery Shopping

Saving money on groceries can be a great way to lower your expenses and allocate the money to a better use while at the same time paying more attention to what you eat. So, here are the best tips for saving money on groceries to get you started with a frugal food budget.

First of all, you have think about what combination of ingredients will allow you to have healthy, varied meals on a budget. The best advice here is to choose a few cheap staple foods for most of your satiation and chose a few splurges to add variety, flavor, and nutrition to your menu. Great staple foods are pastas, rice, quinoa, and legumes like beans and lentils, because they are pretty cheap, easy to store and cook, they are filling and they can often be found on discounts. Whenever your budget permits and you come across a great deal on one of these items you should definitely stock up on it. That way you will definitely be saving money on groceries over time. It’s worth noting that most of these foods are really healthy too, especially the quinoa and legumes.

save money on grocery
Fruits Supermarket Bananas Food Grocery Store

Now let’s focus on the “splurges” and how you can incorporate them in your menus while still saving money on groceries. When it comes to food, herbs, organic vegetables and fruits, good quality meat, and seafood are all considered to be splurges when you look at price to quantity ratios. However, many argue they are well worth the price because of the flavors and health benefits they provide. Herbs like parsley, basil, thyme, mint, chives, oregano and others are a great addition to many meals – for example, a teaspoon of basil can really elevate any plate of pasta. And they have powerful health benefits too. But also they can be really expensive if you buy them from the supermarket.

cheap grocery
Grocery Brussels Sprouts Cabbage Sprouts

When it comes to herbs, and even certain fruits and vegetables, the most cost-efficient thing you could do is to grow them yourself. Growing your own herbs, cherry tomatoes, onions, beans and other fruits and vegetables is very cost-efficient because the seeds, containers, and compost all together cost just a few pounds per type of plant. It doesn’t take up a lot of space at all to have a few windowsill containers for herbs and a few larger ones for fruits and vegetables of your choice. A lot of people, both living in houses with backyards and in apartment buildings with no balconies, have already realized the benefits from growing these plants and they are sharing their experience and advice online, so it wouldn’t be hard to learn what you need to know about gardening. And there is no better way to be saving money on groceries than to grow your own organic herbs, fruits, and vegetables.

Regarding fruits and vegetables, a great way to save money on these ingredients is to buy frozen ones. Frozen peas, cauliflower, broccoli, spinach and vegetable mixes are very easy to prepare and incorporate into most meals. They will add much-needed variety to a plain pot of rice, quinoa, or pasta. And, even though they are not fresh, they still contain a lot of their nutrients. Similarly, canned fish of any kind can be really healthy and nutritious, like canned tuna in water. Frozen vegetables are much cheaper than fresh ones, and canned fish is long-lasting and easy to store so it is possible (and worth it) to stock up when it’s greatly discounted. Thus, if you really want to be saving money or groceries, you should substitute meat with discounted canned fish and most fresh vegetables and fruits with frozen ones – but you can still use your favorite fresh vegetables and herbs for a really low cost if you grow them in your own garden.

How to Correctly Compare Grocery Prices

compare grocery pricesGrocery Price Comparison To Live Frugally

Over the past decades, we have all witnessed a shift slowly gaining momentum in the Western world, where people increasingly have the need or the wish to significantly change their spending habits. Among those people are students who want to minimize their debt, parents who are struggling with unemployment or cut backs, and others who just want to get out of the consumerist race and rethink their spending. If you find yourself in one of those groups, or in a similar situation, then this article is just for you because it will focus on cutting down your food budget with better planning and teach you how to compare grocery prices.

Food is one of the most important categories when it comes to a household’s monthly expenses. It isn’t necessarily that the food item is the largest one in the budget, that is probably rent/mortgage, but food expenditure is actually one of the easiest things to reduce without giving up a lot i.e. it is a relatively painless budget cut. This is because a lot of households waste a lot of the food the buy and by eliminating this waste they can save up to one quarter or more of their regular food expenses. For example, one survey showed that households waste over 7 million tons of food a year. Per household, this is the equivalent of $175.00 worth of food a month! With the average household spending about $200.00 a week on food, this already constitutes a 25% decrease in food expenses per month, even before taking in consideration the benefits from comparing grocery prices when shopping.

Outdoor Grocery Cart Trees

Analyze All Grocery Stores When Price Shopping

Some people think that doing an extensive grocery price comparison is not worth the effort. Who would even go that far to do their shopping? Well, a lot of people would actually find the time well worth it, especially those who are working with a limited food budget. There are two main reasons why. First of all, once the initial analysis is done, the inconvenience of shopping in different or far-off stores can be significantly reduced by proper planning. In other words, it’s not like you are going to be visiting many of the stores each week – rather, you will probably end up visiting the far-off stores once to twice a month at the most. Good planning ahead will help you make sure that your visits coincide with the deals you’re after and you will be able to maximize the usefulness of each trip.

The initial analysis of various grocery stores will show you where the ingredients you use the most are the cheapest and also each store’s notable deals on certain items. Depending on where you live, you might have to do this analysis by yourself or you could use a grocery price comparison website or app. If you have to do it by yourself, then it helps to know that most big supermarkets have their online websites where they regularly post all the discount deals and you can often subscribe to a newsletter too, so it is easy enough to stay updated on those. Smaller local stores probably won’t have a website, but these are still worth including in your grocery price comparison because they often have (cheap) products which are not offered at other supermarkets.

grocery price research

These products can add much needed variety to your meals on a budget, while still keeping costs low. Once you’ve done the grocery price comparison, it helps to make a general plan of where and when you get most of your staple foods like rice, beans, meat, and vegetables, and then make annotations for certain cheap buys that add variety or nutrition to your menu.

The second reason why grocery price comparison is worth doing is, of course, the considerable savings! Many supermarkets regularly offer all kinds of foods at 35% or 50% off. It is absolutely possible to purchase over 90% of the food you eat on a discount. It might not give you a lot of freedom to have a different menu every day, but there are certainly a lot of different things you can do. The Internet is a great place to get some inspiration and connect with people who are or were living on a similar food budget as you are.

Compare Supermarket Prices to Be Budget Conscious

compare supermarket pricesNowadays, with our fast-paced way of living, most people buy their food, cleaning supplies and toiletries at supermarkets. This makes sense since supermarkets are easily accessible, convenient, and often they offer a lot of great deals. However, it is also worth noting that supermarkets are also highly sophisticated marketing environments, designed in a way that encourages spending. Thus, if you are starting a frugal lifestyle, you need to be careful while shopping at the supermarket. The trick is to take advantage of the convenience, variety and great deals offered by supermarkets, without falling prey to frivolous spending pressures. There are several steps you can take to maximize your savings and convenience: plan ahead, compare supermarkets prices, and use up your coupons.

The first two steps, plan ahead and compare supermarket prices, are complementary. Planning your food consumption ahead is beneficial for two main reasons – it prevents you from overstocking on perishables and wasting food and it allows you to analyze which supermarket offers the ingredients you will need at the best price-to-quality ratio. Both of these will have an immense effect on your food and toiletries expenditure. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average American family of four wastes $2,275 worth of food per year! This is a completely unnecessary expense that can absolutely be avoided with a bit of care and planning ahead. If you need even more motivation, then think of the total monetary costs of handling this waste and the environmental damage that is caused by it!

Planning your food consumption ahead is also a great way to control what you buy and eat. For example, if you do your shopping while you are hungry and with no specific shopping list, then you are much more likely to make impulsive buys or resort to unhealthy shacks, frozen pizzas and other fast food. Whichever way you look at it, there are plenty of reasons why you should take the time and pay more attention to your supermarket spending. It begins with planning ahead, and once that is done the next step is to compare supermarket prices.

Why should you compare supermarket prices?

grocery price comparison
You should always compare prices while grocery shopping

Nowadays, it is very easy to do so online, from the convenience of your home. Online tools allow you to enter all the items you will be putting in your shopping basket this week and then they give you a fairly accurate approximation of how much that basket would cost at various supermarkets. These tools even allow you to do your shopping online, thus saving you time as well, but if you aren’t comfortable buying food online then you don’t have to use that feature. Since this is such a convenient way to consistently save some money on food, toiletries and cleaning products, you should definitely take the time to look at the different prices at various supermarkets.

If you are living a frugal lifestyle, it is important to not only compare supermarket prices across different supermarkets but also across brand categories. Most supermarkets offer great variety in terms of branding for a lot of products. Usually, you will find premium, branded, own brand and value versions of a lot of consumer products. There is always a significant difference in price among the different versions, but not necessarily so in terms of quality.

While the branded products will probably be the same in all of the bigger supermarkets, the own brand and value versions are probably going to be different. For the biggest savings, it is really worth taking the time to sample the cheaper versions of the products you use often from various supermarkets. Especially in the case of snacks, sweets, pastas, toiletries and cleaning agents you should be able to find cheaper alternatives that are just as good as the branded ones. Nowadays, there are even online communities which rate the qualities of cheaper own brand versions against the branded version, so you can benefit from the analysis without testing all the different versions yourself.

coupons

Lastly, using coupons for your supermarket purchases can also help you lower your expenditure on food. There are many websites which provide printable and online coupons for all kinds of products, but mostly for supermarket purchases. You can also look in local newspapers and the Sunday paper, which comes with three different coupon inserts on a regular basis. You can plan your food spending ahead and then try to find coupons for the ingredients you need at the supermarkets available to you, or you can first research what kind of coupons are available for the next week and plan your meals around that, whichever way is more convenient for you. And very soon you will realize that when you plan ahead, compare supermarket prices and use coupons, you will be more mindful of supermarket spending and you will enjoy considerable savings week after week.

Grocery Price Comparison – Why Should You Compare Prices When Shopping

grocery price comparisonWhen going grocery shopping, it is easy to become overwhelmed by all the different products on display as well as the variety within each product category. This is not by accident. Supermarkets are intense and highly proficient marketing environments whose objective it is to encourage you to spend more. Everything from how and where the products are laid out, to the sounds, smells and lighting, is used in a way that makes customers want to stay longer, walk the aisles slower, and ultimately spend more. Does this mean you should stop shopping there if you want to save money on groceries? Absolutely not – there are several reasons why you should still shop at big supermarkets if you are on a tight budget. They offer customers convenience (which is time-saving), discounts and bargains, and variability which allows consumers access to all kinds of ingredients at various prices.

However, there are several things you can do to ensure that you are not tricked into spending more than you need to – plan your purchases and shop from a shopping list, compare grocery prices, do some or all of your food purchases online and look at trade down product alternatives. Put all these strategies to work and you will not only avoid the frivolous spending temptations set up by supermarkets, but also you will find yourself spending much less on your groceries.

THE BEST WAY TO COMPARE PRICES FOR GROCERIES WHEN SHOPPING

Many people think that when it comes to saving money on groceries, the most important thing is to compare grocery prices between supermarkets. This is only partially true. If you always compare grocery prices when you are doing your shopping, you will definitely save some money. However, if you want to minimize food expenditure, it is not enough just to ensure that you are buying groceries from the supermarket where they are the cheapest. You also need to ensure that you are buying only food that you will actually eat and that you are taking all alternatives into consideration when it comes to the grocery price comparison.

compare prices when shoppingBuying only the food that you will actually eat sounds like common sense, but there is a good reason why this point is emphasized. A lot of people, whether they are aware of it or not, actually buy a lot more food than they eat, resulting in a lot of waste of food and money. In fact, the average American family of four spends more than $2000 a year on food they end up throwing away! So if you want to save money, start planning your meals a week in advance. Since you’ll know what you need before you go shopping, you can compare grocery prices at home using online tools that show you how much your basket will cost at several major supermarkets. Then, do your weekly shopping all at once and only buy things that are on the shopping list, which is based on your preplanned weekly menu.

This way you will not only stop wasting food and money, but also you will be less susceptible to the supermarkets’ main marketing strategies. The aim of most of their strategies is to prolong your visit to the supermarket – the longer you’re there, the more you will spend. Making impulsive purchases is not necessarily a bad thing, but it can take you away from your goal – whether that is to save money, have a healthier diet, both, or something else. Buying impulsively also implies that you didn’t have the chance for grocery price comparison beforehand, thus it is probably reducing the possible savings. A shopping list shows exactly what you need to buy and if you are determined to stick to it then there is no chance you will be tempted into buying something that isn’t really essential or good value.

Lastly, you should try buying (some or all) your groceries online. Even online websites can be customized to entice you to spend more, but the risk is greatly diminished if you already have your shopping list. In fact, online websites which allow you to compare grocery prices and buy groceries online also offer trade down product alternatives that can save you money. The idea is to trade down a brand level and save some money in the process. So, if you were about to buy name brand dish washing liquid, the trade down alternative is to buy dish washing liquid from the supermarket’s own brand. A lot of the time, there is not such a significant difference between product alternatives when you go from brand to own brand and even to value alternatives, especially when it comes to snacks, grains, toiletries, and cleaning products, so it’s worth trying a cheaper alternatives and putting all the savings to better use. Of course, you can use this strategy along with all the rest even if you are not shopping online!

Save Money by Grocery Shopping on a Budget

grocery shopping on a budgetWhether you want to start living more frugally, pay off debt or save up for a high-ticket item, living on a budget is a great way to achieve your financial goals. Food is one of those expenses that we have on a regular basis, and yet we don’t really think about how much it’s costing us. If you’re trying to cut down on food spending and save some money, then you should probably substitute eating out and fast food with home-cooked, low-cost meals. Doing your grocery shopping on a budget is the best way to lower your expenses even further, so here are some tips and tricks that will help you keep to the budget and make the most of it.

If you’re looking at your expenditure on food and disliking the fact that food expenditure takes up a lot of your monthly budget then imposing a strict restriction on your food expenses can make you more efficient and save you some cash. If you set a predetermined amount to be spent on food each month then you will have a bigger incentive to buy affordable ingredients as well as to make sure that no purchase is made in vain. Both of these activities in combination can lower your food expenditure by one quarter or more. Thus, doing your grocery shopping on a budget can be a great way to save some money.

save money on grocery shopping

Being Creative Shopping for Groceries on a Budget

At the same time, grocery shopping on a budget will require you to be creative and resourceful if you want to enjoy great taste and food quality at a lower price. Doing the grocery shopping on a budget doesn’t automatically imply that you can only afford to buy cheap ingredients. If your budget is big enough, then of course you can afford more expensive ingredients as well. However, if you want to minimize your expenses on food, the best way is to use a lot of staple ingredients which are low-cost and store well, and then elevate the taste with herbs, frozen vegetables and fruits and more expensive ingredients when they happen to be discounted. Great staple foods include rice, quinoa, legumes, pasta and potatoes as well as frozen and canned fish. This ingredient list is very versatile and allows you to create all kinds of different meals which are tasty, nutritious and inexpensive.

grocery shopping listThe best way to make sure you don’t overspend while you’re doing the grocery shopping on a budget is to shop from a shopping list. The act of already having selected what you really need to buy before you get to the supermarket is going to prevent you from making impulsive purchases and buying food that you won’t eat. You must keep in mind that supermarkets are marketing environments that want to get you to spend as much as possible. Everything from how the products are laid out to the sounds and smells in the supermarket is made to encourage spending by the consumers. The best way to resist the subtle temptations is to stick to your list.

Here’s another tip – when you’re grocery shopping on a budget, one of the easiest ways to get more bang for your buck is to make use of grocery price comparison tools. These tools allow you to enter all the items you need in a virtual shopping basket and then they give you an approximation of how much that basket of goods will cost at various large supermarkets. Not only that, but many tools also show you cheaper alternatives to the products you’ve selected. Even if you’re not willing to downgrade a brand level, these tools can help you buy the exact products you need from the supermarket where the price is lowest.

Lastly, shopping for fresh ingredients when they are in season is an affordable way to enjoy variety while grocery shopping on a budget. If you buy fruits and vegetables that are out of season then you are also paying a premium that covers the extra shipping costs as well as the convenience of eating food that is out of season. Conversely, fruits and vegetables that are in season sell at a discounted price compared to other fresh produce. This makes them a great addition to a well-balanced, low-cost menu.

How to Grow Your Savings – Save Money Tips

save money tipsWhen it comes to saving money, there are hundreds of little saving money tips out there that show you how to do small changes in your everyday life and save a bit of cash. This article takes a different approach. It will mostly focus on save money tips with a large payoff – tips that have a very large impact on your finances. Thus, it is also natural that implementing these tips won’t happen overnight. Rather, it will take planning and time to put them into action, but once you do it, it will be worth it.

Common Sense Saving Money Tips

One of the most effective saving money tips is to rethink your living space. This is economically beneficial both in the short term and in the long term. Rethinking your living space is about looking into how much space you really need. A lot of people own and/or rent a lot of space which isn’t actually essential, and as we all know space is certainly not a cheap commodity.

Rethinking your living space begins with one step – getting rid of all your clutter (this is one of the best saving money tips in its own right). It means going through everything you own and deciding what to keep, what to donate, and what to sell. You should keep in storage only seasonal clothes and a few other items. If you need a storage unit or a whole room to keep all your extra things, then you are keeping too much. Just from selling some of your things you will get some extra money in your pocket and you could put the earnings into an emergency fund or a savings account. Also, this tip goes both ways – when you need something, always try to look for used first. Without any preconceptions or assumptions, just ask around, ask friends and family and check online. Even with that little effort, you might find exactly what you need for a steeply discounted price.

saving money tipsThe second step in rethinking your space is to assess whether it makes sense to move into a smaller house or apartment. If you are facing serious financial difficulties, then the answer will probably be yes. But, even if you are not and you are just implementing these saving money tips to save for retirement or investments, you should still take this question into serious consideration. Moving into a smaller place can save you serious money and it’s worth considering what you could do with the savings. Also, while you are calculating the benefits vs. the costs, also look into renting and owning as housing alternatives. A lot of people think that owning your house/apartment is an investment and clearly the way to go, but that is just a preconception. Whether it is true or not depends on the circumstances i.e. the mortgage rate, insurance cost, rent, etc. of the specific places you are considering.

The second set of saving money tips has to with transportation. A car costs a lot to obtain and to maintain. On top of that, it costs a lot to store – you need a garage and you probably have to pay for parking most places you go. But is it really necessary? With carpooling, public transportation and bicycles, you have three great alternatives to using a car on a daily basis. Public transportation can be a great way to save money, especially if you obtain seasonal or yearly passes which come at a significant discount. Using a bicycle to get around is a great way to be environmentally-friendly, keeps you active, and it’s basically for free.

You don’t have to pick one of these alternatives – you can find a combination that suits your lifestyle. For example, you could carpool to and from work, use the bicycle for traveling in your leisure time, and use public transportation occasionally as the need arises. Selling your car and making a switch to these transportation alternatives probably won’t be easy at first, but the savings really are considerable. Thus, if you have committed to a frugal lifestyle and taking saving money tips seriously, then you should at least read up on each of these transportation alternatives for the area where you live and see what people have to say about feasibility, practicality and cost-efficiency.