In today's economy, I don't know anyone who isn't cutting back somewhere. I am no different. My office lease is up, and I'm moving to a smaller space. Not to be cliche, but I'm consolidating as much as I can in my business where there are economies of scale.
But, I'm trying to cut things without actually feeling it. Here are 10 ideas we came up with to share with you.
1) When grocery shopping I am now buying some generics. On some items, you truly cannot tell the difference -- except in price. Some examples (depending on the store): bottled water, soda, sliced cheese, paper products, half and half creamer. If you take prescriptions, ask your doctor to write for the generic if available. It can mean the difference of paying $20 versus $80 or $100 per Rx.
2) Rather than giving in to my Starbucks fix each morning on the way to work, I am buying Starbucks by the pound at Target -- saving about $20 per week. It's not as glamorous, but you can use the extra money you save to buy a glamorous pair of shoes!
3) I love the Goodwill Store and other thrift shops. If you've got some time and you're willing to dig through the rubble, there are great deals to be had! Some items even have the original tags. It beats the high price of the malls.
4) I am a Barnes and Noble junkie. You can find me there almost every Saturday morning. Now, instead of buying the books, I look at them at BN then try to find them at the library. I am once again an official card carrier.
5) Call your local cable TV company and ask for pricing on a package deal. Mine is batching phone, cable TV and Internet for an unbelievably low price for a two-year term. The potential savings are sizable.
In addition to the poor state of our economy, I am facing divorce and a never-ending job search. Cutting back has taken on a whole new meaning to me. Like Abby, I want these changes to be as painless as possible and here are a few that can help.
1. Order your pet medications online. Cutting corners is one thing, neglecting your health or your pet's health is wrong. I have saved significantly by ordering through Pet Meds.
2. Donate your time where you once gave money. Yes, all of those organizations still need cold hard cash and yes, you might not be in the position to give at the level you once did. There are still ways to contribute.
3. Sell your clothes and accessories through a consignment shop. I did a major purge of my closet and although most of the items were donated, several went to a consignment shop and I received a small sum. Or, learn to sell unwanted items on eBay or similar sites.
4. Prioritize. I don't pay a trainer (sorry Abs!) and I don't belong to a gym. I do exercise every day. Sometimes it's using free weights and going up and down the stairs. Most days it's taking my dog to the park for a 2-mile walk.
5. Accept the gift. I used to pick up the check on a regular basis. I enjoyed it and it was not a sacrifice for me. These days, I do not have that option on my budget. But, when someone offers to buy my lunch, etc. I graciously accept.
We'd love to hear your suggestions.