1. Cook more
Line your pockets instead of the pockets of restaurateurs by increasing the meals you cook at home, including breakfast; make coffee at home.
2. Home-made lunch:
Pack your lunches; add some snacks and soft drinks or bottles of water and you can stop feeding the vending machines.
3. Plan before shopping:
Read junk mail, cut discount vouchers and plan your attack before hitting the supermarkets. Limit your shopping time to avoid temptation.
4. Buy in quantity but with care
Non-perishable food can be bought in bulk when on sale. Be sure to check sell-by and expirations dates, and when necessary freeze items promptly. You can now buy special storage bags from the sandwich bag aisle in the supermarket that will extend the life of fresh fruit and vegetables to minimise waste and save having to replace the same perishables every week.
5. Go genericMost generic foods taste as good as name brands. Keep track of which you enjoy and which you do not.
6. Reuse packagingUse bread bags instead of plastic wrap and save on small trash bags by using plastic grocery store bags.
7. Stop buying bottled water
Tap water is much cheaper. If you or your child does not like the taste of tap water, invest in a water filter.
8. Consolidate credit card debt
Ideally, you will not have credit card debt but if you do then consolidate the balances to a lower interest card.
9. Never pay annual credit card fees
Use only cards that do not charge a fee.
10. Pay your bills with an eye to saving
Avoid late fees as well as monthly billing fees and the cost of stamps by setting up automatic payments either with a bank or by credit card.
11. Avoid bank fees
Wean yourself from ATM transactions or at least be sure you know which ATM machines you can use without charge and use only those.
12. Choose one phone
If you feel you must have a cell phone in case of an emergency with your child, then consider losing the landline. This may not always be feasible but if possible eliminate one or the other.
13. Plan before buying
This is especially important for big-ticket items but applies to everything. Once you realize how much a few minutes on the internet can save you on purchases, you will find it easier to avoid impulse buying.
14. Develop the Deal of the Day Habit"Daily deals" websites can provide significant savings. Check them every day.
15. Refuse to be car-poor
Keep your current vehicle as long as possible, and when it becomes necessary to replace it, choose a used car.
16. Walk or bike when possible
Leave the car at home whenever you can and walk or bike to do your errands.
17. Watch electricity consumption
Switching appliances such as televisions and computers off at the wall, rather than simply turning them off; as well as putting heating and airconditioning units on a timer can lower electricity bills.
18. Save on DVDs
Instead of store memberships use online services for renting DVDs or check out older movies for free from your local library.
19. Save at the movies
Make an evening at the movie theater an afternoon or morning instead and save on tickets. Eat right before you go and/or sneak a few snacks in with you.
20. Make holidays affordable
Single mums need and deserve holidays like everyone else. Cut costs by planning ahead.
21. Steer clear of big spending friends
Hanging with people who can afford to eat-out and buy the latest fashion will spoil your resolve to save money.
These tips can help anyone, but are especially important when you are living on one income - and there are plenty more ideas for saving if you just look for them!
Michelle Lee is a mum and a marketing consultant for Groupon Australia, a daily deals website that features discounted gift certificates usable at local or national companies.
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