As many of you know by watching the news or listening to the radio, we are in trying times. A poll estimates 67% of American households are cutting spending (source: Washington Post Poll: High Anxiety Act). After sharing some ideas with some girlfriends on how to enjoy life on a tight budget, I’ve decided I should share with others. I hope this helps at least one reader on how you can live a “posh life” without breaking the bank – no pun intended 😉
First, let’s talk about one of the greatest words in English dictionary – FREE! Did you know that if you sign up for e-mail newsletters from retailers and restaurants, they will send you coupons, discounts and possibly a free meal? I have been fortunate enough to receive a $10 gift card from Sur La Table, free food from Krogers Co. (or Fry’s for those on the West Coast) and free meals on the month of my birthday and anniversary from various restaurants. Before settling for McDonald’s for dinner, plan ahead and sign-up for newsletters at restaurants that you enjoy or you’d like to enjoy. It is amazing how many will send you a welcome coupon for a free appetizer or dessert.
Next, reevaluate the stuff in your house. This step was revolutionary for me and my family. We decided that we could not afford to move into a bigger house, and we need to be content with the blessing that we had in our home. As many of you know, with children comes a lot of stuff – most of which you only use for a finite period. I read an article in the Better Homes & Garden Storage magazine that adviced you to go into a room and go through every single item in it. Ask yourself: “Do I really need that item? Am I happy that it’s there? Or, would I be just fine if it were not?” If you can find stuff to get rid of, get rid of it – it just creates clutter and it might have some value to others. Clean out your closet. Try selling it on craigslist or donate it for the tax deduction – all of which turn old stuff you don’t want to use any more into money in your pocket. Not only that, it’s often a psychological load off your mind to clean your house. BTW I am the hugest fan of craigslist – I have sold over $50k worth of goods on it and met some amazing people along the way 🙂
Sell books, music and DVDs cheaply on the internet via services like Half.com. Also, if you need to buy books, check it out – Half.com has new and used books, and even cheap textbooks! It also has a great selection of DVDs, plus inexpensive Blu Rays.
Rethink cable. Instead of spending money on cable, we have chosen to subscribe to Netflix for under $20. With Netflix, you can get movies and television shows in the mail and also on you computer. I’ve also heard the Redbox is great. Did you know that most cable shows can been seen on their web site or over hulu?
Finally, dig into your community calendar. There are often tons of free events going on in your town that you don’t even know about. Check out GoCityKids or your local newspapers & magazines. You can often get free meals, free entertainment and free stuff just by paying attention – even better, you’ll get in touch with what’s going on around you.