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Living Frugally

Life has become more complicated recently for many Americans. Where most households once had two incomes, many are now stuck with one income due to job loss. How are we to survive in this time of high unemployment rates and limited job openings? The answer for some is to live frugally.

There are many purchases we make on a routine basis that feel like a necessity. However, if you go over your expenses with a fine tooth comb, you will see more clearly that many of your costs are really not necessities.  The best way to figure out what is a necessity and what you can do without is by saving all of your receipts (even cash receipts) and tracking your expenses with an Excel spreadsheet or through a software program such as Quicken. Once you see where your money is going you can easily cut back.

There are so many areas we can cut back in but sometimes we need a little push. So, here is my push to you. You know that cup of coffee you buy every day from the fancy cafe down the street from your office or home, well, you do not need it.  I am sure everyone has a coffee maker in their house. Turn it on! Use it and make your own coffee and bring it in a thermos to work. That is a savings of $2 a day if you buy coffee everyday. We also do not need to rent videos. There is a library in your neighborhood where you can borrow a video for FREE! And as for cable tv, we do not need that either. There are books to read aplenty at your neighborhood library for, once again, FREE!

There are so many areas where we can cut back in life. Food is a major expense and one area where my household has struggled with in this down economy. But we have found ways to cut back. Instead of purchasing a loaf of wheat bread for around $4, a bag of bagels for about $3 and a roll of french bread for about $3, I bake! There are so many websites with recipes to comb through. All you have to do is pick your favorite and start baking. The best part of this is that the recipes are FREE! There is no need to go out and buy any cook books. We save a ton of money by baking. We also use coupons. There are many Web sites that allow you to print coupons for FREE!

Also, who said you need to go out to eat to have a nice meal. There are many tasty meals you can make at home for a lot less. Do you feel like filet mignon with a red wine reduction. Go look up the recipe on line and make it yourself. Light some candles, open a bottle of wine, turn on some music and voila! you have your own restaurant.

So get off your couch, turn off that cable and start living frugally by tracking your expenses and finding out what areas in your life you can do without!