The price of gasoline is skyrocketing! It doesn’t take the wisdom of an economist to realize that prices of commodities will go up as well. At times like these, we have to spend our precious money wisely.
Having been raised in the Philippines, I have always been thrifty anyway. Some of my kababayans (countrymen) may think that we’ve got it easy here in the northern part of the world, but I beg to disagree. We are also feeling the pinch of rising prices and expenses of a growing family. Blogger Ajay has cited time-tested ways on how to live frugally here.
I have a few tips to share as well. The following are some of the things my family and I do and have done to cut down our expenses.
1. I switched my credit card account to a low-interest account – from 18% to 10% interest rate.
2. I later on applied for a credit line at my bank and transferred my credit card balances. A credit line has a considerable lower interest rate.
3. I don’t use my credit cards when I shop. I keep them just for emergencies.
4. I sit down and record my purchases from my interact card and I balance my checkbook at least once a week to make sure that I don’t have an overdraft, hence avoiding overdraft and NSF fees.
5. I work overtime especially if I have an upcoming expense. I set limits though. I don’t work on Sundays and I don’t let work interfere with family obligations.
6. We take the bus because we don’t own a car. Or I could paraphrase that. We don’t own a car so we take the bus. We don't have to spend a lot on monthly payments, gasoline and car insurance.
7. When we signed up for internet service four years ago, we switched to basic cable service. We used the money we saved – the difference between full cable and basic cable service – to pay for the internet service.
8. We refrained from buying cell phones. We don’t need these. I work from home and my family can reach me anytime of the day.
9. In the summer, we use electric fans. We turn on the air-conditioning unit only when the temperature reaches 27 C degrees and up. Likewise, in the winter, we turn the heat down before we go to bed. We can feel warm under the covers.
10. I avoid buying celebrity magazines. I get celebrity news from the internet or TV.
11. We go to the movies only once or twice a year. It could be expensive. The last time we went to the movies, we spent about $60.00.
12. I swap books and movies (VHS tapes and DVDs) with family and friends.
13. We seldom do this now, but when my children were younger, we used to go to the library to borrow children’s books and movies.
14. I read “Anna Karenina” on the internet. Literary classics can now be read on-line.
15. We seldom eat out. We usually eat a meal at home before going shopping. In case we get hungry while out, we have snacks – still cheaper than a meal.
16. We own only one family computer and we don’t intend to buy another one. Having only one computer can sometimes be frustrating in a family of five, but the good thing is that the kids (and I guess Mom and Dad, too) have learned how to take turns - patiently.
17. I shop for groceries at Superstore. It has the best bargains and discounts. I’ve also applied for a PC points program. Whenever I earn at least 20,000 points, I can redeem them towards $20.00 free groceries.
I have also posted these grocery tips in Catherine’s Corner a few years ago.
1. Make a shopping list before you go to the grocery store. This will avoid impulse buying. This will also help you remember to buy the things that you need and avoid several trips to the store.
2. Sort your shopping list. Write down all the items that you'll find in the same aisle, i.e. list all dry products together, meat products on one column, fruits and vegetables on another column, etc. This will save you time at the grocery store.
3. Use store coupons. You can find them in newspapers and flyers.
4. Look on the top shelves. Most stores put the less known brands (less expensive, too) on the top shelves. The more common brands (more expensive) are on the lower shelves, or on your eye level, to attract you, the consumers.
5. Buy store brands or generic brands, they're a lot cheaper. Every cent that you save on each item will add up to $ in savings.
6. Buy in bulk. Not only are you saving money, but you're also helping the environment with less packaging. Be conscientious, though. Do not buy perishable items in bulk if you won't consume all of them before they go bad.
7. Buy fruits and vegetables that are in season. They are cheaper and fresher.
8. "Mommy, I want that! Mommy, buy me this!" Sounds familiar? Well, leave the kids at home. (Just kidding!)