7 Painless Ways to Cut Your Spending

Cutting your spending doesn't have to mean lots of sacrifices. Try some of these painless cost-cutters, and watch your spending shrink!

Switch to Store Brands

Woman loading grocery cart
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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 slash 25-50 percent off of your weekly grocery bill. With more and more grocery chains launching their line of organics and other premium products, there's never been an easier time to switch.

Shop With a List

Family Making Shopping list and coupons.
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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.

Plan Meals

Meatless Meals
Erin Huffstetler

Set aside an hour each week to plan what you'll make for dinner. Then, consult some free meal planners, shop for all of the ingredients, and try some new recipes. You'll be less tempted to eat out.

Carry Snacks

jar full of nuts
Erin Huffstetler

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.

Use It Up

Cleaning Kitchen
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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, see if you can find something at home that'll meet your need. This simple exercise will help you to spend less and to clear out some of the clutter in your home.

Shop to Save

Grocery Sale Sign
Photo © Erin Huffstetler

Challenge yourself to save more every time you shop. If you usually 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.

Ask for a Better Deal

Businessman talking on cell phone and using laptop
Sam Edwards

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.