Can Less be More? Some Tips for Doing More with Less

October 4, 2010

Can you do more with less? Absolutely! Take a look at where you spend your hard-earned money and evaluate where you can cut back or modify your needs. In the quest for living a more simple, and economical life, it can be difficult to make the necessary changes. It’s tough to know where to start. It’s also tricky to know where you should scrimp and where it makes sense to splurge.

Although some of these suggestions may seem somewhat extreme, these are extraordinary times where you may need to re-think some of the creature comforts you have become used to. Here is some advice and tips on how to get started.

  • Buy your clothing and gear off season. This practice takes a little preparation and forethought. However it’s a great way to save tons of money. Buy your swimsuit for next year during the winter months from a closeout website. You can get a suit that once cost $300 for $30. The same holds true for exercise equipment and even home goods. You can buy that patio table and chairs for a quarter of the cost when you buy it on closeout during the fall and winter months.
  • Coordinate your wardrobe. Clothes are about two primary things, form and function. You want to look good and feel comfortable. One great way to make your clothing budget stretch further is to buy quality basic items like black pants, white shirts and navy or brown blazers. These items can be mixed and matched with other less expensive additions for a wardrobe that looks expensive and extensive but really isn’t.
  • Get your pantry organized. A well-stocked pantry can make a busy evening mealtime easy. Generally, when the family has to be in four different places at once, we tend to order out or go through the drive though. That’s expensive. A well-stocked pantry can turn it around. A package of pasta, a can of sardines and some capers and voila – you have a ten minute gourmet meal that can be eaten right off the stove or heated up quickly and easily. Additionally, pantry items generally cost a tenth of what it’ll cost you to go through that drive through and it’s healthier too.
  • Get rid of the land line, unless you really need it. Most families have a land line and a cell phone plan. The land line rarely serves a purpose anymore. You can save $30 to $50 each month by simply getting rid of it. And you can get rid of the cell phone contract by purchasing an inexpensive pay as you go phone and a Google phone number and simply forwarding your FREE Google calls, text and voice mail to your pay as you go phone. You can save hundreds annually by evaluating what you really need when it comes to phones and phone plans.
  • Get rid of a car or downsize. It may sound extreme but many people are paying hundreds of dollars each month for a new car and a car payment. Stop for a moment and consider what you could do with that extra $300 to $500 dollars each month. A lot, right? In fact, simply saving that money for retirement would put you way ahead of your current savings target. If possible, get rid of your car completely. If you’re close to town or public transportation, you can buy a bike for a few hundred dollars. You can buy a motor scooter for a few thousand. However, if getting rid of a car entirely isn’t an option, consider down scaling. A used car will take you the same places a new car will and it’ll save you thousands. Finally, if you have more than one car, can you cut back? Can you sell a car? Cars eat up a budget fast, and down scaling or eliminating them from your monthly budget is a great way to reduce financial stress.
  • Get started with one of these tips and you’ll be on your way to doing more with less!

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