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How to save money wisely in a recession.

» Introduction
In these challenging times, how do you change your spending habits and still enjoy life? The first thing you have to do is be ready for change, have an open mind and be creative. These three levels of self awareness will allow you to make the necessary changes to deal with uncertainty, find the best deals out there that are worthy of your money and therefore save money on items you have to buy. If you are ready to be empowered read on, my friend.
» Step 1
Create a budget. Now you have to watch your pennies, this may be the first time you have to look at your spending habits. It is okay, change happens in stages. First, outline your current expenses in an excel spread sheet or in Quicken. Make a clear distinction between needs and luxuries. Needs are products and services that keep you progressing toward a goal, like food, clothing, shelter, transportation, communication, education and peace of mind. I'm sorry, cable is not a necessity. If you consider watching TV a way to have peace of mind, consider reading a book or playing a board game with your family. Not only will you reduce or eliminate a bill, you would be spending more quality time with your family.
» Step 2
Use Coupons. Set aside a day, ideally Sunday, to cut coupons from various Sunday newspapers, the internet and throwaways. For items you buy regularly, write the company for extra coupons. Oh, and it helps to note your loyalty to the product. Studies show that people that use supermarket loyalty card and coupon save about $700 a year.
» Step 3
Check inventory and use a list. Whenever you go shopping, especially grocery shopping, how often do you buy something, get home and low and behold you found that you had three boxes of pasta and 2 bags of frozen peas already! So check your cupboards and create a list. Self-made millionaires are conscious shoppers.
» Step 4
Create a weekly menu. Consider your existing inventory and create a menu for the next seven days. Hundreds of people literally throw money in the trash in the form of stale rotten food. Now, make a list of the remaining items you need to complete your meals for that week. This saves time, money and reduces stress.
» Step 5
Shop at discount stores and sample sales. When you are shopping for food, go to a discount grocery store. You would be surprised as to how much you can save. When you are at a regular department store, the clothes are marked at a suggested retail price. There are too many places to shop and get the same quality item at a discounted price. I personally find sample sales like LF, to be a great place to find unique designer clothes and accessories at a deep discount.
» Step 6
Don't buy prepackaged foods. For one thing they are packed with sodium and they cost more. Say you listed spaghetti as one of your weekly meals; buy the can of plain spaghetti sauce instead of the ready made sauce. Have fun making the sauce on your own and be in control of what you put in your body. Self-made millionaires eat quality foods and are conscious of their health.
» Step 7
Eat vegetables. It's healthier and cheaper. If people ate like Popeye, you would be surprised as to how much nutrients you get when you eat 6 to 7 servings of vegetables per day. Try eating a hearty salad at lunch instead of that greasy burger from the "Roach Coach". You will fill light and full of energy verses tired and sluggish.

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