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We all like to live the lifestyles of the rich and famous. We see images everyday on TV of people living the good life. After you look at your bank account and reality sets in, you realize that you have to get more out of life while making less than you like.

In today’s economy in which money is tight, you have to be creative with your budget. Here are some tips on doing that while having fun while doing it:

Shop at outlets/Buy off season – I am a shopaholic myself. I used to spend up to $5,000 a month in clothes. I had so many clothes that I would find shirts with tags still on them three years after I bought them. This is why I am talking about this first.

Outlet malls are great for savings. After the season is up and the new line comes in for that fashion designer, the label sends the clothes to their outlet shop. You can get luxury designer clothing for 50% to 80% off.

It may be a season behind but who cares. You don’t bump into the fashion editor of Vogue Magazine everyday anyway.

Most clothing designers have an outlet store. You can go online to find the closest store. Outlets are especially good for buying your children’s clothes. Kids outgrow clothes really fast, so it doesn’t make sense to buy them at full price all of the time.

Buy clothes when they are about to change seasons. When the summer is over and Macy’s, for example, want to make room for the Fall/Winter line, they will mark down the remaining summer clothes at a deep discount.

I used to buy Polo clothes the minute they came out at full price to be the first one with it. I would go back three months later to see it on sale for half off.

Sell your junk on E-Bay – I heard a money expert on TV the other day say that every household has at least $100 worth of junk that they can sell. I started looking around my house and found $500 worth.

We all have some items in the closet, attic, or in storage that we don’t need. We tend to keep them around for sentimental reasons. In tough economic times the junk got to get going.

Look for clothing items, furniture, paintings, or even your ex boyfriend or girlfriend stuff you can sell on E-Bay. It is easy and very cheap to set up an account. Take good pictures of the items and don’t overprice. I posted a painting that I didn’t need anymore on E-Bay and end up making a profit!!

You can also set up a garage sale on the weekends. Post an advertisement on craigslist or put up signs around your area. You will be surprised how many bargain shoppers are out looking for steals.

Add the money you make from selling your junk into your “pay yourself first” retirement fund.

Drive wise, not fast – The higher gas prices go, the less we have to enjoy for ourselves. You have to learn small tips of driving that can make you car fuel efficient.

Stop drag racing down the block. Take it easy when you drive. Sudden acceleration eats up a lot of gas. Also you lessen the chance of getting a speeding ticket you cannot afford.

Keep your tires inflated properly. Low tires cause you to burn gas as well. The better you maintain your car, the less likely you will have to bring it in for costly repairs. So keep up your dates for tune-ups and oil changes.

If you have a co-worker that lives by you, try to car pool. This will save both of everybody gas and mileage on your cars. Take mass transportation sometimes as well. In New York City, I used to spend $20 a day just to park down the block from my real estate office. Recently I tried taking the train and sometimes walk on a sunny day. I saved $320 in one month and also lost some weight.

Use grocery store coupons – We get the circulars in the mail or in the Sunday papers. Most of the time they end up in the garbage can. Upon further inspection, we are literally throwing away money.

In a tough economy it is smart to find ways of stretching your dollar. Stores are doing everything they can to get people to purchase from them. They are doing more promos than ever to get you in the door.

I used to laugh at the old lady that would hold the shopping line up as she goes through all of her coupons.

Who’s laughing now?

Now I am like the old lady.

Look through the circulars for discounts and coupons on items that you use everyday. Office Depot sends me coupons to get printer cartridge at 20% off. Over a year, that saves me $50.

Many food products will give you half off or buy one get one free coupons. If the food product that you eat does not offer any specials, maybe you need to try their competitor that do. Using coupons on a regular basis can save you 10-20% off of your monthly food expenses.

A lot of large food chains like Kroger’s, Pathmark, and Tom Thumb’s have a shopping rewards club that you can join. When you buy a selected item, the savings will be automatically deducted at the register. While you are shopping you will see labels on the counter on which items are having savings. You can buy $100 worth of food to have it reduced to $89 after they swipe your rewards club at the register.

Department stores like Macy’s and Dillard’s have coupons as well in your Sunday paper. Selected items by brand name designers will be discounted from 25% to 50% off. This is helpful for back to school shopping. There are certain days that specials are done, like one day shopping specials. These are done on a slow day like Tuesday to get traffic to come to the store. If you do not look through the circular, you may miss when the one day special is. You will buy a pair of jeans on Wednesday for $75 that you could have gotten for $50 the day before.

Many sit down restaurants and fast food franchises are using coupons also. With tight competition and people eating out less, they are promoting more specials for you to come by and eat. If you do not know about the specials, they will not tell you when you get your bill.

So clip out your coupons, calculate your savings, and make sure you pay attention to the expiration date of the coupon so you don’t miss the boat.

Buy Bulk – Now that we are on the subject of saving money when you shop for food, the next step for you to do is to get a club card from Costco and Sam’s Club.

One thing I know is for sure is that you will always eventually run out of tissue. Instead of running to the store to buy two rolls, why not buy 50 rolls?

That is the concept of buying bulk. You can stock up on items that are necessities like paper towels, water, and condiments. You will save more over the long term because you have bought the items in larger quantities at a wholesale price. You can also buy other items at Costco and Sam’s Club like electronic equipment, hardware, and even tires. Because they buy large quantities from vendors, they are able to pass the saving on to you, the consumer.

Other tips on Balling on a Budget

– Never buy a luxury car new

– Buy floor model furniture and tv’s

– Use travel sites

– Go to lounges instead of clubs

– Eat out less per month, bring your lunch to work

– Shop around, compare costs

– Go to less movies and sporting events, go to more free places like parks, museums, and libraries

– Cancel memberships and subscriptions that you don’t use

– Combine your phone, cable and internet bills into one/use less features

– Avoid paying bank fees

– Don’t buy the latest fad!!

Some Tips on Balling on a Budget – Living Good For Less

Some Tips on Balling on a Budget - Living Good For Less