By Peter Anderson, Crosswalk.com
When the economy fluctuates, unemployment can happen, and people all over the country can be hurting.
Whether your income has been reduced, or you have upcoming expenses to budget for, it's sometimes necessary (and always helpful!) to cut back. It is possible to get by with less, reduce, re-use, and recycle the things we have.
Here are 18 easy ways to get started:
2. Re-use old clothes.
Find ways to re-use old clothes instead of tossing them. Use old t-shirts to wash your car, use old jeans to make a new purse or bag.
3. Make your own gifts.
Instead of buying mom that expensive gift, make something from the heart. Think things like a photo collage of shared good times, inexpensive gift basket.
4. Grow your own vegetables.
Build a square foot garden and grow your own vegetables, cutting down your grocery bill.
5. Buy used or re-purpose.
Instead of buying things like furniture new, buy it cheap or get it free online through a site like Craigslist. Or re-purpose furniture you already have.
6. Ask for a discount.
Even if you don't have a coupon or listed savings, ask for a discount – even at places you wouldn't expect. A while ago we saved 10% on our hospital bill just by asking and paying in cash.
7. Buy groceries direct from the farmer.
Are you near some local farms, or have a farmer's market near you? Try buying fresh veggies – direct from the source.
8. Negotiate your rent.
Try negotiating your rent to save money by signing a longer lease, pre-paying rent or offering to cut the grass in return for lower rent.
9. Buy quality.
Buy things for quality, instead of buying the cheapest. In the long run you can save money because you don't have to buy a new item as often.
10. Borrow or share things you need.
Instead of buying something you need, borrow it from a neighbor, or everyone pitch in and share the item.
11. Hang your clothes out to dry.
Instead of using a dryer, save by hanging your clothes on a clothesline.
12. Cut your own hair.
Cut your own hair and you can save a few hundred a year per family!
13. Start a budget, and stick to it.
This may seem like an obvious tip on how to save, but it's something that not a ton of people do. Just keeping track of where your money is going has a tendency to help you realize a lot of areas that you can save.
14. Wash your own car.
Instead of going to the car wash and spending between $15-30 every time you go, wash your own car!
15. Do your own maintenance.
If you're handy with all things automotive, change your own oil to save on a trip to the service station. Maintain your own home appliances with help from the internet!
16. Stop a bad habit.
Are you a smoker? Quit! It's better for your health and will save a ton of money. Drink lots of soda? Stop! Drink more water instead.
17. Don't pay for extras.
Renting a car? Don't pay for the extra insurance if your own insurance covers it. Going on a flight? Don't pay for first class, but try to get an exit row with extra leg room instead.
18. Reduce your taxable income.
Take advantage of deductions by making deductible contributions to retirement accounts or increasing the amount sent to flexible spending or health savings accounts.
This list is just the beginning. Saving money can really become a way of life if you want it to be. You just have to be creative, have a reason and a goal for why you're trying to save, and think consciously about the decisions that you're making.
The changes mentioned on this page may seem small when you look at them. The truth is, however, that the small changes listed here can be the basis of your financial security.
Peter Anderson is a Christian, husband to his beautiful wife Maria, and father to 2 children. He loves reading and writing about personal finance, and also enjoys finding ways to make money on the side. You can find out more about him on the about page. Don't forget to say hi on Pinterest, Twitter or Facebook!
This excerpted article originally appeared on BibleMoneyMatters.com. Used with permission.
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