Five Tips on How to Save Money in Tough Times

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When our financial picture is good, we often do not worry about saving money. But when things take a turn for the worse, we realize the error of our ways. Had we found ways to spend less and save more, we might not have to worry so much.

When faced with reduced income and/or rising prices, saving money is not optional. It’s something we must do to survive. But if you’ve never pinched pennies before, it’s easier said than done. Here are five ways you can save money when times are tough.

1. Shop around. Comparing prices on groceries, clothing and other tangibles is a good place to start. But you can also save a substantial amount of money by comparing prices on such things as insurance, phone service and internet access. Call around or check prices online to find the best deals.

2. Clip those coupons. Some people shudder at the thought of using coupons, or they feel that they don’t make much of a difference. But those cents (and sometimes dollars) off can really add up over time. And coupons aren’t just for groceries any more. You can find them for everything from dinners at your favorite restaurant to movie rentals.

3. Don’t buy when you can borrow. If the outside of your house needs cleaning, your first thought might be to go out and buy a pressure washer. But if your neighbor has one, he might be willing to loan it to you, saving you a big chunk of change. If you’re willing to loan stuff to others, they will often be happy to return the favor, saving you both money.

4. Cut your transportation expenses. If possible, using public transportation is usually the cheapest way to get from Point A to Point B. If that’s not an option, carpooling is the next best thing. Taking turns driving to work with a co-worker will be of benefit to both of you. And there’s no reason to stop there. Share rides to the store with neighbors, take turns with a fellow soccer mom driving the kids to practice, and take one vehicle when going out to eat with friends instead of driving separately.

5. Be self-sufficient. Anything you can create at home will almost certainly be cheaper than the same thing bought from a store. So try your hand at sewing your own clothing. Learn to bake bread from scratch. Plant a garden and learn how to preserve the surplus for later use. You’ll certainly save money, and you might find an enjoyable new hobby.

Saving money isn’t completely effortless, but it’s not as hard as you might think. Some simple changes in lifestyle can leave us with more money each month. During hard times, saving money can help keep us afloat. And when our situation improves, it can help us save up money for emergencies, retirement and other important causes.

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