Cleaning & Organizing

5 Ways To Spend Less On Bills and Groceries

Is your household buckling after paying your credit card bills? Read on before whipping out your wallet.

Original Article: Jennifer Adriano-Martinez Photography:

Are you always wondering why there's so little money left after you've spent huge chunks on rent, groceries and bills? Maybe it's time to create a budget! It may sound restrictive, but it actually lets you control your money instead of your money controlling you. 

Ready to start saving some extra cash? Here's how to keep more cash in your household coffers: 

1. Make a grocery list and stick to it. 

Buying a 12-can case of tinned asparagus because it's on sale is not a bargain if you'll only end up using one can. Prepare a menu prior to going to the grocery and just buy the items you need to make the meals you've planned. 

2. Buy heavy-use items in bulk. 

This is where you get your money's worth—try this with items like toilet paper, diapers, laundry and dish detergent. Buy more store brands than name brands especially on things that don't differ all that much. 

3. Download budgeting software. 

Use this for tracking daily, weekly, or monthly expenses—choose whatever works for you. Or simply create a good ol' Excel file and start from there. Being conscious of where your money is going will help you curb indiscriminate spending. 

RL Tip: YNAB (You Need A Budget) is the perfect budgeting app for beginners! Download it here.

4. Don't ditch leftovers.

When you cook meals, make sure there are leftovers for baon purposes. Packing your own lunch for work is also so much cheaper than eating at fast food places. Next time you want to schedule a get-together with friends, think about entertaining at home instead of going out to a restaurant. Even if you're cooking an entire dinner for you and your guests, you're probably spending less money than you would dining out. 

5. Don't sacrifice quality.

Being thrifty doesn't mean you have to settle for low-grade products. It only means you have to sort out which items you're not willing to compromise on—for example: quality meat, hypoallergenic detergent or pesticide-free produce—and adjust everything else to fit your grocery allowance. 

This article ("Cents and Sensibilities") originally appeared in the July 2008 issue of Real Living Magazine. 

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