Times are tough. The economy is still on the rocks, and your financial life has yet to get back to normal. You might be following a budget, but you might also still be having trouble making ends meet due to a pay cut or job loss. How do you trim an already slim budget? Try these tips on for size:
- Give up a bad habit. Whether itâ€™s smoking, drinking way too many cups of coffee, or overindulging in snack foods, add up how much youâ€™re spending on these items each month. Once you have a better idea, either cut back on these vices or go cold turkey and cut it out altogether. Your heart, waistline, and wallet will thank you.
- Look inside your medicine cabinet. If you take prescription drugs, consider switching to generic medications. Target offers generic drugs for as low as $4.
- Rethink your gym membership. Most gyms debit their monthly fee directly from your bank account each month. If you rarely visit the gym, youâ€™re giving money away and you probably donâ€™t notice because you donâ€™t have to write a check or fork over cash. If you donâ€™t go regularly, shut that membership down and take a walk around your neighborhood or work out at home.
- Skip the movies. With movie tickets as high as $13 per person, and an additional charge for 3-D, consider watching movies at home. Why shell out more than $52 on movie tickets for a family of four when you can rent a movie online for as little as $.99 from iTunes, Blockbuster and Netflix?
- Share meals. Cut back on your grocery bill by joining a dinner-swap group. Hereâ€™s how it works: Â Get a small group together to share meal-preparation responsibilities. Each member takes turns grocery shopping and preparing meals for the group on a day of his or her choice. Youâ€™ll find itâ€™s cheaper to buy in bulk, youâ€™ll have plenty of leftovers, and best of all, youâ€™ll get a few nights off from cooking.
Sheiresa Ngo is the consumer affairs editor at Black Enterprise.