Budget Friendly Food Tips

Although we all need food and we shop for groceries, the food budget is the easiest place to save a few bucks. Even the cheapest restaurants add up fast too. Next time you are thinking about eating out or spending money at the grocery store on items you don’t need, think about these simple tips:

  • Eat at home. While it’s a nice treat to go out to eat once a week, it can get very expensive if you do it much more than that.
  • Buy store brands. It’s sometimes very difficult to tell the difference between store and name brands. Why pay a premium for the name brand when the store products are so similar.
  • Shop with a plan. You are less likely to buy things you don’t need if you’ve made a shopping list ahead of time.
  • Clip coupons. They’re basically free money. Stores and companies are paying you to try their products. Take them up on their offer.

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  • Skip the fancy latte in the morning and brew at home.
  • Buy produce in season. Prices tend to be lower when there is a large supply of something.
  • Brown bag it! It’s much cheaper to prepare your lunch at home and take it with you than it is to buy it every day.

Obviously, we need to eat to live. But, depending on where and when you buy it, food can take a big bite out of your budget. These are some easy tips you can do to keep your spending down without making big sacrifices.

As they say “time is money”. If you take some time to follow some of these tips, you may save some money!!!

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Managing on a Budget

rsz_distressed_couple_with_calculator_and_paperworkCreating and trying to maintain a financial budget for monthly expenses can be difficult at  times. Some people have to adhere to a strict budget due to their financial circumstances, so maintaining a budget is especially important to ensure needs and responsibilities are  met each month. Making a budget that makes sense to you and can somewhat ease financial concerns can hopefully support your monthly financial planning needs.

Here are some suggestions of what to consider when creating/maintaining a budget, and where to find help:

  • Create a budget that is practical for you to track. Make computer spreadsheets,
    and file or record expenses on paper. Find an accessible way to track expenses that works for you.
  • Make a list of monthly expenses and income resources to identify how much money is coming in and how much needs to go out towards expenses.
  • Keep a record of spending and estimates of monthly bills to identify areas that can be modified, if any, to keep finances on track.
  • Reach out to financial management/budget counseling resources in your area for additional guidance and support. These agencies, sponsored under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Administration, offer services to help manage finances and provide additional housing and financial counseling services as well.

Budgeting finances can be difficult but necessary for many individuals. Ensuring financial needs are met can be stressful so it is important to reach out for support when needed and find a system that works for your needs. What are some ideas you have to help create a budget?

 

 

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Give Yourself Time to Plan for Travel

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When planning a summer vacation (or any trip for that matter) a great deal of detail is required to figure out the best place to stay, the quickest and easiest way to travel, and what activities you want to do. The list goes on and on.

When you also need to plan for accessibility or special accommodations, it adds extra steps to the traveling process. Sometimes you may even want to throw in the towel if planning the vacation becomes so hectic or frustrating that it causes increased stress or anxiety.

Depending upon your needs, creating a plan of action or checklist of sorts may be a good first step in alleviating frustrations. Here are a few ideas to get you started on your list:

1) What places might be fun to visit/where do I want to go?

2) How much do I have budgeted to spend?

3) Will I need to fly, drive, or take a train/ bus (and what are the benefits and challenges for me getting on a plane, bus, etc.)?

4) Do I want to go as part of a guided tour with a set itinerary and is there an accessible travel option?

5) Where will I stay, and do I need to call ahead to confirm accessible accommodations?

Once you begin to narrow down your choices of budget, location, and means of travel, you can then begin to focus on planning for specific accommodations (picking the seat closest to the bathroom or coordinating with your flight attendant to offer wheelchair assistance) and the fun activities you want to participate in on your trip.

Wherever you go, even if it is a day trip, try to have some fun this summer!

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