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Must Read: 7 Painless Ways to Cut Your Spending

Cutting your spending doesn’t have to mean lots of sacrifice. Try some of these painless cost-cutters, and watch your spending shrink:

1 Switch to Store Brands
Caucasian woman writing on paper in store
Blend Images/John Lund/Marc Romanelli/Blend Images/Getty Images

Name brand products are good, but store brand products are often just as good (if not identical). Make the switch to the bargain labels, and you’ll shave 25-50 percent off of your weekly grocery bill. With more and more grocery chains launching their own line of organics and other premium products, there’s never been an easier time to switch.

How to Find the Store Version of Your Favorite Brands
More Ways to Slash Your Grocery Bill

enlist

2 Shop With a List
Family Making Shopping list and coupons.
Ever gone to the store for a few items and come out with a whole cartload? Who hasn’t? To keep impulse shopping from taking hold of your budget, make a habit of shopping with a list. Jot down everything you need, and then only shop for those items.

Still tempted to add an extra item to your cart? Go home and think about it first. If you still want the item you can always add it to your next shopping list.

More Ways to Break the Spending Habit

3 Plan Meals

Meatmeal
Meatmeal

Set aside an hour each week to plan what you’ll make for dinner. Then, shop for all of the ingredients, so you’ll be less tempted to eat out.

Free Meal Planners
Five-Ingredient Meals
Crockpot Recipes
Soup Recipes

4 Carry Snacks

Eating out always costs more than eating at home—whether it’s a quick snack from a convenience store, a vending machine or a fast-food restaurant. Avoid this cost entirely by keeping snacks on hand at all times. Toss a granola bar and a bottle of water in your purse before running errands; stash some goodies in your desk drawer at work—just be ready for that hunger attack wherever and whenever it decides to strike.

Ways to Eat Out for Less

5 Use It Up

Whether it’s food in your pantry, hobby supplies or beauty care products, you probably have lots of unused or partly used items around your house. Before you run to the store to buy your next “must-have,” look around and see if you can find something at home to fill your need. This simple exercise will help you to spend less and to clear out some of the clutter in your home.

How Wearing Things Out Saves Money (and Sanity)
Recipes That Use Leftovers
New Uses for Everyday Things

6 Shop to Save

Challenge yourself to save more every time you shop. If you normally buy something at regular price, challenge yourself to find it on sale. If you normally buy something on sale, challenge yourself to find it on clearance. When you’re always on the lookout for a bargain, there’s no end to the money that you can save; and soon it becomes a game that you look forward to playing.

The Best Time to Buy Everything
Make Your Own Sale
Learn How to Coupon

7Ask for a Better Deal
Man shopping in department store
PhotoInc

Call all of your service providers up—phone, Internet, cable, etc.—and ask them to give you a better deal. You may just be surprised at what they’re willing to offer to keep your business.

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