Ways to Downsize are so beneficial in this economy … but it's hard to get good advice. See, I watch this show called Downsized on WeTV. I began watching it because, judging from the title, I thought there would be lots of information ways to downsize and save money. Yeah, no. The family instead did pretty much everything wrong, and generally ended up spending more money rather than saving it. So if you're looking for some real ways to downsize, let me spare you a lot of bad reality TV advice!
1. Move to a Smaller Place
I'm putting this first because it's one of the most common ways to downsize – or, rather, it's one of the most common pieces of advice. Is it always possible or practical? Absolutely not. Sometimes it is though, and if you are in a position where downsizing your home or apartment is possible, you may want to consider it.
2. Use Coupons
Now, with shows like Extreme Coupons – which is awesome – becoming popular, people are getting more interested in using coupons, and that's great. However, you do not need to make a huge stockpile or by hundreds of dollars worth of groceries and items you don't really need just to save money. You shouldn't buy more than you need and you always need to make sure you're still getting a good deal with your coupons. Compare prices at different stores first and use them for the things that you need. Unless you have a really huge garage or basement, or fear the end of the world.
3. Drive Less
Simply put, driving less is one of the best ways to downsize right now. Gas is crazy expensive and there's no need to drive multiple cars all the time. Carpool with friends, drive to work with your spouse or partner, or walk to the places within easy distance.
4. Trim Your Hobbies
I know this stinks, but some hobbies are expensive. If your kids are on teams that require a lot of money, find a free alternative. If you like to golf, find a place where you don't have to pay. If you garden, discover a way you don't have to pay for plants, or start planting vegetables so you're at least saving money at the store. It's all about compromise.
5. The Clothing Crunch
Many of the best ways to downsize involve changing your spending habits. When you're in a financial crisis, new clothes simply aren't that important. When they do become necessary, find more affordable places to shop, like secondhand stores and the Salvation Army. At this point, whenever possible, let your kids wear hand-me-downs.
6. The Dining Experience
Eating out is one of the first things you should cut when you need to downsize. You can save a lot by eating in and planning your meals. Plan meals that can be frozen or that produce a lot of leftovers, and make sure you eat all of them. Don't go for a lot of exotic ingredients and steer clear of seasonal fruits and vegetables unless they're frozen.
7. Cut out Travel
Vacations are usually the first thing to go in a money crunch. That stinks but it really is one of the most essential ways to downsize. There are lots of cheap or even free things you can do with your family when you're trying to cut back.
8. Homespun Entertaining
It's hard to give up an entertainment budget, but when you downsize, it's necessary. Have game and movie nights at home instead. Steer clear of concerts and expensive movies. Try having your friends come over for cozy potluck parties – you'll still be in the loop, you'll just be saving, too!
There are many ways to downsize, and many of them don't require that much effort. It mainly comes down to smart choices and cutbacks in certain areas. Don't be like my TV family and get Starbucks every day; just by cutting back on that, you can save as much as $500 a month! The right ways to downsize don't disallow splurges and luxuries, but they do moderate them. Do you know of any other ways to downsize for real?
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