Budgeting 101: 9 Tips to Live Well Without All The Costs

Budgeting 101: 9 Tips to Live Well Without All The Costs

Check out these 9 simple steps for how you can live well without the costs.


Library and bookstore shelves sag under the weight of books about living well on less money. Don't be intimidated. Try these simple budgeting tips and money-saving ideas. Then use the extra cash for things that really will improve your life.

1. Cut little luxuries during the workweek.

It's just a cup of fancy coffee, but, at $2.75 per day, it comes to more than $700 per year. Lunch out? At $8 a day, you'll spend around $2,000 a year. A travel mug and brown bag never looked so good.

2. Don't use so much gasoline.

Break out the bike. Carpool. Or try public transportation. You could save hundreds or even thousands of dollars — and reduce your impact on the environment.

3. Get a grip on credit.

Pay montly balances in full on credit cards. Say you owed $1,500 on an 18 percent interest credit card, and you paid $75 per month. If you stopped using the card, it would take 24 months to pay off at a cost of $1,800. That's $300 in interest. Also, save money by choosing your card wisely. Look for no-annual-fee cards with low rates and benefits such as money back or frequent flier miles.

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4. Stick with water.

When you eat out, skip the wine and drinks. It's where restaurants make most of their money, and where you'll blow a big piece of your budget. Save the glass of wine for when you get home.

5. Freeze an extra meal.

When cooking, make an extra pan of food and freeze it. When you're not in the mood to cook, you can pull a homemade meal from the freezer. It saves you the cost of carryout, and it can be healthier.

6. Pack the snack.

For family outings to a museum, zoo or park, bring your own snacks and drinks. You'll save a lot of money without missing any of the fun. You'll also have a healthier day.

7. Share tools to save.

Collectively buy tools with your neighbors, friends or family. Follow the example of five Boston neighbors who bought a snow blower at a low cost and turned winter storms into parties.

8. Get real with your budget.

Take the time to figure out your monthly expenses. Know what your disposable income is. Pay off debt. Decide what kind of spending gives you the greatest pleasure and cut out other luxuries.

9. Be sale savvy.

Buy clothes at the end of the season. Watch for furniture sales. Comparison shop on the Internet. And remember, you often can negotiate non-sale items.

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Cooking at home with the family is another great way to spend time together and saving money. Kids learn math, science and social skills.

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