Make your cash last! Use these smart tips rein in expenses each month and keep more of your hard-earned income.
Running out of money before the month's out? Stop overspending, dipping into savings or driving up your credit card balance to make ends meet. Instead, tighten your belt ever-so-slightly with these 8 simple austerity measures.
- Eat out less. Limit how often you visit restaurants. When you do go, save by choosing BYOB locations and having dessert and coffee at home.
- Reduce memberships. Get rid of or downgrade DVD-rental or gym memberships as well as cable, cell phone, Internet and plans.
- Trim transportation costs. It might be time to start a carpool routine with neighbors or co-workers, or consider using public options a couple of days a week.
- Stretch your grocery dollars. Create a price book and buy food only on sale; cook double meals and freeze them; go meatless two meals a week; make your lunches at home.
- Save on health care. Ask your doctor for generic medications and fill them through a mail-order pharmacy. If you have a high-deductible policy, use retail family-care centers such as MinuteClinic whenever possible, instead of visiting the doctor.
- Boost your income. Options include getting a second, part-time job, baby-sitting or selling items online.
- Lower your living costs. If you can’t bring your expenses below your income, you might need to ditch the second car or rent out a room for a while.
- Put retirement on hold. It’s OK if you need to reduce or eliminate contributions to your retirement to pay off a credit card or build up emergency funds. But if you have a company match, maintain the minimum contribution so you’re not missing out on free money.