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Top 10 tips for adjusting to economy

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The current national economic landscape has pushed many individuals and families to change their spending habits and things aren’t terribly different at the local level.

Many people have been forced to change long-held habits in order to save a few dollars.

If you’re cash-strapped or just want to save for a brighter day, here are the Top 10 (11, because we’re that cheap) ways to adjust to today’s economy.

1. Eat out less.

People are choosing more often to eat at home than in a fast-food restaurant. Not only does it save money, but also it’s also often a healthier option.

This goes for lunches too. A homemade sandwich is both cheaper and better than a hamburger any day.

2. Entertain at home.

Just like it’s cheaper to eat at home, it’s also cheaper to watch a movie from the comfort of your couch than in a theater. It’s also cheaper to meet with friends at home than in a restaurant or bar.

3. Turn those lights off.

It really does save money and electricity to turn the lights off when you leave a room. It may only save a few cents a day, but they add up.

4. Turn down (or up) the thermostat.

Since spring has sprung and pleasant temperatures prevail, it’s getting close to the time to turn off the heater.

But when the heat of summer arrives, try setting the thermostat a few degrees higher to save some cash. (Also having your system serviced annually improves performance and reduces electricity bills.)

5. Spend less.

The best way to save money is to not spend it in the first place. Short of cutting up your credit cards, just choose your purchases carefully and make sure you truly need it before you buy it.

Even though budgets are tighter these days, families still need things to survive. So if you shop, just shop smarter.

6. Try discount stores.

The Dollar General store and Big Lots offer deals on basic needs like cleaning supplies and other sundries. Often you can get brand named products at discount prices.

7. Use coupons.

Coupons offer great deals for staples and some luxury items. Try murfreesbororewards.com or www.americantowns.com/tn/murfreesboro-coupons for coupons for everything from food and clothing to restaurants and furniture.

8. Compare prices.

Most grocery stores display the unit price, along with the actual retail price. Simply compare how much similar items cost per ounce, pound, use, etc. to see what the best deal is. Also use flyers to gauge what store has the best price at a given time.

9. Buy on sale or clearance.

Instead of paying full price off the rack, comb through the sales rack to find the best deal.

10. Buy in bulk.

Deals can be found at bulk stores.

If your freezer’s big enough, local butchers, like Triune’s C&F Meats, offer bulk meat orders.

And for the truly cheap …

11. Barter.

A quick look at Craigslist.com finds a variety of goods and services available for barter. Ads include everything from handymen to cars available for the right trade.

Share your tips in the comments section below.
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