Integrated Family Community Services 3370 South Irving Street, Englewood, CO 80110-1816 Ph: 303-789-0501

Every Penny Matters: How to Stretch Your Monthly Budget

Striking that balance between your expenses and your income is often a challenge. Many families need to budget their money and count every penny. Even then, you might still come up short. If you want to get ahead, use these tips for stretching your monthly budget.

Every Penny Matters, How to Stretch Your Monthly BudgetSaving at the Store

Groceries are probably one of your biggest expenses after housing. While a person may technically be able to live on ramen or rice and beans, it doesn’t make for a very exciting life. Learn how to plan your meals along with the weekly sales so that you can eat like a king without spending like one.

This planning also helps reduce wasted food. It may also make sense to shop around at different stores if you have several in your area. However, points out that cheaper isn’t always better and it’s sometimes less expensive to purchase a more expensive product if the quality is higher.

For instance, if you purchase a bottle of high quality dish soap from the grocery store, it might cost $2, but last all month. The brand at the dollar store might look the same, but the bottle is slightly smaller and you need to use extra to get enough suds, so you go through a bottle a week. In this case, the quality soap is the cheaper overall option.

Saving on Utilities

Look for ways that you can cut back on utilities. If you haven’t shopped around about garbage service recently, call the different providers to see what their current specials are. Switch if you have to. Many people are saving a lot of money by cutting cable or satellite TV. If you’re not willing to take that step, you could still cost compare among different providers or call the company to cancel. Typically, when you try to cancel, the customer service representative will offer you a drastically lower price. You can even save on electricity costs by comparing providers. Through a resource like Electricity Match, you can choose a different electricity provider and save money.

Saving for Other Expenses

One thing that many families struggle with is paying the bills that come on a quarterly or semi-annual basis, such a car insurance. When you’ve gotten into a groove with your usual monthly payments, that $300 charge you forgot about can throw things out of balance. To save yourself the stress, plan for these expenses. Divide them up and set money aside in a savings account or simply set a large chunk of money into the savings account each month to pay for expenses like this.

Stretching your monthly budget can be a challenge, but you don’t have to suffer. Through carefully planning, it becomes a lot easier to make ends meet.

Tim Esterdahl

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