Saving Money During a Bad Economy

canstockphoto4247797You’re not alone if you’ve felt more than a pinch in your pocketbook lately. Although the recession that began in 2008 is officially over, many people have not felt the recovery yet. Health insurance costs are skyrocketing, grocery prices are still high and gas costs are at all-time highs. Saving money during a bad economy can be the factor that helps a family survive during tough times. Here are some suggestions to get you started on the road to saving money, savings tips, and household budgeting.

Review your Cable Costs
Cutting back on cable television is one of the easiest ways to free up extra money in your budget. If you have a cable package that includes all the premium movie channels, it’s possible to spend $100 to $200 a month just on your television service. There are many ways you can save money on this expense. You can get rid of cable TV altogether and switch to cheaper TV-streaming options like Netflix or Hulu.

Or if you don’t want to completely cut cable, you may be able to find ways to get it cheaper. Call up your provider and ask for a promotional package that may help you save money on only the channels you use most.

Save on Car Expenses
Transportation costs are usually a major part of a household budget, but fortunately some of them are controllable. Keeping your car well maintained, including regular tune-ups and oil changes, can make the car last longer before needing to be replaced. Choose to get your car repaired as it gets older instead of just buying a new car. Look for ways to decrease your car insurance costs, either by comparing companies or raising your deductibles if you have enough money saved in case you need to file a claim.

You can also save a huge amount of money on gas prices, especially since gas costs between three and four dollars a gallon at this time. Keep your tires properly inflated and don’t drive at excessive speeds; this will minimize your gas use. You can also save gas by planning ahead and combining trips. For example, return movies to the video store at the same time when you’re picking up the kids from school.

Use Coupons
Reducing the number of things you buy is an important part of saving money, but some purchases are inevitable.

You still need to buy food and to pay for services, even when you’re tightening your belt. Fortunately there are ways to spend less on those necessary purchases. Clipping coupons only takes a few minutes but it can save a significant amount of money on the items and services you buy. To help you save the most money, plan your shopping list before you go to the store and look at store sale flyers first.

Trade Services
Everyone has a skill, whether it’s knowing how to cut hair or being able to fix appliances. Or maybe you’re great at taking care of kids or can tutor teens in math. Trading your skills with others can help you get services for free. Bartering in this way is a very old form of conducting transactions and it usually has a side benefit of creating a strong sense of community.

Saving money during a bad economy can be more challenging, but it also matters more than ever. If you continue to maintain these new, more frugal habits when your finances improve, you can save money and may be better able to handle future downturns. Instead of viewing saving money as a punishment, look at it as a great way to take control of your financial future.