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Next are the utilities that are non-essential like cell phones, the internet access, and TiVo. Can you live without any of these? If not, could you live with a smaller plan? Now that you've gotten through your major bills, look at what's left from your monthly income. Are you happy with the amount? This answer might make that cell phone plan with unlimited texting and internet seem a lot less important.
Prepare yourself to feel shock. The list will be extensive, and some of the expenses may seem frivolous once they're actually logged in. The worst feeling will be the one you get when you drop a minus sign in front of your tally. Remember, you're logging in all spending, whether on the credit card or the actual bank account. Don't let yourself get down; you're working to fix your financial health. By opening your eyes to how much you spend a month on lunches or valueless items you'll correct your thinking and your spending.
If you come up negative at the end of one month because of the credit card, you just have to save that much more next month to create not only a positive balance, but to pay off the owed balance from this month. It's the way families were taught to budget decades ago on columned legal pads without online banking that make money into an abstract concept.
Example: One big bag of chips broken down into single servings can yield 10-12 smaller servings of chips. If you save yogurt containers, you can fill those with chips to make them crush proof. Save your plastic jars and containers to make individual servings in. You will be recycling in the bargain. If you buy bottled water, buy a water filtration system for your sink and refill your bottles with your own water. You will make back the cost of the water filter in about 2 months. For a quick dinner with major savings, shop the reduce meat section of your supermarket. This meat is nearing its sell-ability so you can buy it cheap and don't forget that this meat is perfectly safe to freeze and should last about three months in your freezer. Know your prices. some of the generics at the dollar store could save you some money if you know that you are saving 20-30 cents a can. Buying family size package of meat and breaking it down into smaller packages can be cost effective also. Buy on sale when you can but only buy what you figure you can use up in a reasonable time frame. Nothing worse than going to your pantry to find you only have canned vegetables. Learn to grow your own vegetables and herbs.
Take your old towels and cut them up and make rags for your kitchen and rags for your cleaning. You will save on your paper products because you won't have to buy as many. Your rags can be washed in your washing machine.
Shop the Dollar store for cleaning supplies and personal hygiene products. They usually sell good name brand products, remember that generics are usually made by the name brand manufacturers but are just packaged in a off brand bottle. I also dilute my shampoo and conditioner and liquid hand soap to make them go father. But I don't want to buy cleaning supplies that have been diluted, they just don't work as well so here is one trick I learned was to check the thickness of any cleaning product in the bottle if it looks runny or thin it could be that it has been diluted.