Whether you believe we are in a recession or not, here is a timely article from Forbes that addresses something all of us are interested in during tighter times...how to cut costs while still living well...
Plan, Plan, Plan
Manisha Thakor and Sharon Kedar, co-authors of On My Own Two Feet: A Modern Girl's Guide to Finance, suggest dividing your income into four categories: taxes (about 25% of total income, on average, savings (15%), necessities (45%) and wants (15%). Pay off debts with an interest rate above 7% and pay more than the monthly minimum. Knowing your financial situation makes it easier to see what you're working with and where to make the necessary cuts later.
Become A Craftier Consumer
Clip coupons, buy in bulk and go with store brands. Finding the best deals at the grocery store can save an average American family of four over $700 annually. Also, get yourself a PayPal account and shop online. With an endless number of merchants hocking their virtual wares, searching based just on price returns some good deals. If you're patient, you could save a bundle in the long run.
Get Better Gas Mileage
Ease up behind the wheel. Less-aggressive drivers use considerably less gas than their lead-footed counterparts. And experts say faster isn't always better. "In most traffic situations, accelerating isn't going to get you there any faster," says Philip Reed, consumer advice editor for auto site Edmunds.com. Also, take off the roof rack when you're not using it, since this can boost your car's fuel efficiency by as much as six miles per gallon. You can get an additional boost by regularly maintaining your vehicle with tune-ups, oil changes and tire rotation.
Squeeze The Most Out Of Your Utilities
Putting a half-gallon, sand-filled milk jug in your toilet tank saves that much every flush. For an average American family, that's 20 gallons of water a day. Low-flow fixtures use less than half as much water, but do cost more for the initial investment. Also, replacing standard light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs in your home can save $30 a month.
Get Cheaper Entertainment
Most museums have a free or discount day for their general exhibitions. Also check out nearby college campuses for movies and arts performances, such as plays and symphonies. And if you do feel the need to eat out, do it on a weeknight, since many restaurants and bars slash prices during the week to draw in as much business as they can.
Look For Luxury On The Cheap
Find a massage school in your area, rather than a high-end spa. Some schools offer rates as low as $10 an hour. If you want a luxury car, get a used one: a one- or two-year-old car will have lost much of its resale value by then, but will still be ahead of its class in amenities. When it comes to clothes, look for last year's line in designer wear, which is usually heavily discounted to make way for the new season.
Eat Right, Exercise, Drink Lightly And Avoid Smoking
All these things help you save money in the long term. A major ailment like cancer or heart disease can take a devastating toll on those who aren't prepared financially. The best method for saving on long-term health care is prevention.