One thing that is (probably) evident to anyone who has known Ashley and me for long is our tendency towards saving rather than spending. Obviously we aren’t perfect at it, but we give it the old college try. This has been especially helpful for us during our time in seminary, when our fiduciary prowess isn’t anything to notify Wall St about. There are a few things we’ve found to be helpful in keeping our costs below budget:
1. Going without/alternatives– The best way (by far) to stay under budget is to cut out things you don’t need and/or finding less expensive versions. Instead of paying for cable/satellite tv each month, for example, we have an inexpensive hd receiver that gets all the local channels (plus a plethora of shopping and spanish channels) plus a streaming program (we use Netflix, but there are a few good ones to choose from).
2. Couponing- Another big way we cut costs is couponing. Ashley is the queen of that and I’m sure she’ll upload a few posts to the blogosphere to help out all you scissor happy folk. However, I can put my two cents in: no need to pay full price for something when, with a few minutes and a little effort, you can reduce the cost significantly.
3. Reward shopping- When you do have to spend money, see if someone will give you a bit back. For instance, services like swagbucks, fatwallet, and dvor can help you find price-reduced items or even give you money back. This helps out when you’re looking for gifts for people on the cheap. I’ll do some posts about those and other services like them later.
Be on the lookout for more posts about how our family likes to keep our books in the black.