Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Austerity drive

With prices increasing for almost everything, especially food and fuel, it's time to seriously and consciously take measures to save.

What I'm working on these days:

1. Go to the market/supermarket only once or twice a week. Try to make a complete list of what I need to buy. This saves fuel and parking costs from going to the shops/market too often just to pick up one or two items.

2. Buy only what I need, stick to the list. I used to be greedy and buy food (especially dry/frozen goods) that I 'plan' to cook 'some day'.

3. Don't stock up too much food just because it happens to be on sale, especially when I don't have extra cash to spare.

4. Don't buy clothes or reading material I don't need just because it's on sale or just because I 'feel like it'.

5. Read newspapers online. Since I'm already paying a monthly flat rate for Internet usage, maximise my reading online. Re-read old books and magazines that I already have which have been collecting dust for so many years.

6. Eat out less or buy less ready-cooked meals. It's cheaper to cook your own meals and it's healthier too. Plus you save on fuel and parking and don't pay the taxes that come with the bill and other hidden costs for the nice decor, aircon, and extra unhealthy items like cold drinks and dessert.

7. Cook just enough for everyone at home. Try not to have leftovers. Or cook a large portion, enough for freezing it for another meal.

8. Turn off the lights, fan and TV when not in use. Use air conditioning only when it is unbearably hot.

9. Clean the floors, windows and bathrooms and iron clothes myself instead of paying part-time cleaners to do it every week.

10. Reduce credit card usage. Stick to cash only to ensure I spend within my budget.

11. Withdraw enough cash to last a few weeks or a month to spend within budget. I tend to overspend when going to the ATM too often. The bank also charges a service fee for using the ATM for more than a set number of times a month.

12. Set aside a sum every month to save using a system we've learnt from T. Harv Eker.

13. Buy new toys for Caitlin only on her birthday and Christmas. (This is hard to do...all parents love their kids and tend to give in most times sooner or later). Buy used (but in good condition) books for her. Think of creative, low-cost ways for family activities like going swimming more often, visit the park, instead of going to the mall (extra expenses for fuel, parking, meals, snacks, books, toys, amusement centre, movie theatre).

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