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Ten Essential Ways to Live on Less Money

In these deep recession years that have blighted the economy, we have all needed to make do with less money and make every cent count. Jobs were lost; income reduced for others; futures remained uncertain. Here are ten practical suggestions from GuideGator for living on much less monthly income so that you make the most of your salary, investments and residual income:

No Need to Be the First

1. Give up being a first adopter. This applies not just to gadgets but the latest movies, music and software. Movies are a case in point. If you see a new release in a theater, you may end up spending $40 for tickets and snacks for two people. Six months later that same movie is released on DVD for $20. Within three more months, you can rent it on iTunes for a few dollars or perhaps check it out of the library for free. In the meantime, immerse yourself in an interesting novel that you have wanted to read. You will still have the satisfaction of experiencing a new literary adventure.

Don’t be Tempted to Buy on Impulse

2. Avoid impulse buying. We all have an innate urge for instant gratification at times. This urge can manifest itself in the consumption of snacks when we aren’t really hungry or in unnecessary shopping trips. Sometimes we remain disciplined during weekly grocery shopping and then buy something that we didn’t need at the checkout stand. Instead, simply people watch while waiting in the checkout line. Keep your eyes level with the horizon and look around avoiding the racks of tempting $3 items right underneath your nose.

Purchase Generic Non Brand Name Products

3. Buy generic food brands in discount outlets and supermarkets. You may have to bag your own groceries and drive a few miles further, but you can save hundreds of dollars per calendar month. Most generic brands actually do taste the same as name brands and yet they cost 20-50% less. There are exceptions of course, like mayonnaise, for which you may want to stay with popular big name brands. Try any new brand in the smallest purchase size first, before deciding. Consider making all home meals from scratch – they taste better and save 20-80% over pre-packaged meals that you buy in store.

Cut Out the Non Essentials

4. Cut out the low hanging fruit in your monthly shopping budget. Those are the nagging little $5-20 per month add-on expenses (e.g. newspapers, magazine subscriptions, lattes, TiVo, Netflix) that you talked yourself into when you signed up for them, they all add up across a thirty day period. Most are now just a drain on your available cash flow because you haven’t canceled them yet. Search out free online websites to replace printed media for news and gossip.

Make coffee or smoothies at home to replace lattes. Everything can be optimized if you put your mind to it and think on the money problem, not having enough available income is a problem that you can make go away with diligence and effort so take time to draw an expenses plan and do your sums. If you have a credit card consider transferring the balance to a better deal or one with 0% interest on balance transfers. Use discount vouchers and coupons in stores and online. All these money saving factors combined will make an appreciable difference to the bottom line.

Be sure to Read Part two of our guide to saving money and living on a much lower family income.