Wednesday, 7 November 2012

How to cut costs in tough times

EVERY member of the family should be responsible for making the best use of the family's resources. Let's face the reality, these are tough times. Therefore, it behoves all of us to learn how to economise, cut costs and save. What is saved today by economising and pinching here and there can go a long way in emergencies, or when the family is experiencing a low cash flow. Now is not the time to pretend that you are not affected by the recession, or for keeping up with the Jones' next door.
The following are some suggestions for economical survival in tough times.

1. Make a budget: How many times have we heard that one should make a budget, but how many people actually do make one? Listing your income and your expenditure each month can really help you to know what you can afford and what you should let pass you by, if even for that month.
2. Hire less people: Do you pay someone to cut the grass, wash your hair, clean your house, take your kids to school, wash your car, trim your flowers, water your garden, or shop for your groceries? While you may not be able to take care of all of the above all by yourself, you can look at your list carefully to see if there is any way that you can get some of those things done without hired help. Cutting back on even one item can go a long way in saving for that rainy day.
3. Look before you cook: Each time you are about to prepare a meal, take a look in the refrigerator to see what leftovers you have and prepare something that can go with what you already have. Food that is stored as leftover is often wasted. If you know that you are not going to use leftover food, then cook only what you need for each meal, not a morsel more.
4. Follow the shopping rule: The shopping rule says that you should never buy on impulse. Before you buy any item there are some basic questions that you should ask yourself, such as: Did I leave home to buy this particular item? Can I really afford to buy this item, at this time? Am I buying the item at the most affordable price? It is also suggested that you take a shopping list each time you go shopping.
Look at your lifestyle and make the necessary adjustments which will help you to cut costs and to save more. Even if you can afford to survive on your present lifestyle, you can still learn to economise so that you can give away more to help those in dire need. There are many persons who could make good use of what you waste.
Jacqueline Champier is a counselling psychologist.