If you’ve missed the last two installments of this article, you can find Part 1 hereand Part 2 here.

Now that you have set up a budget, with the actual expenditures of your household, it’s time to start seeing where you might be able to “trim the fat.”  There are many ways you can do this – some may seem like minor changes, but sometimes more drastic changes need to be made, depending on your circumstances.  Here are some ways to consider:

1)    Stop or limit dining out.  Do you eat out often? Do you buy your lunch every day instead of “brown-bagging” it? Those who purchase lunch every day are likely to spend as much as $50 or more per week! Many restaurants have lunch prices ranging from $5-8, but then if you have it delivered you have to figure in a tip. Or if you go to pick it up you have to consider the gas costs. If you have a kitchen available where you work, frozen meals might be an option, sandwiches, or leftovers from the previous night’s dinner.

2)    Review your monthly utilities/cable.  When was the last time you called your local phone service to see if there is a better plan available? Can you bundle services for a discount? Can you reduce your cable (or satellite, etc) television package?

3)    Limit trips to the store.  This includes trips for coffee, soda, etc.  Plan your shopping list and stick to it. The more often you go to the store, the more likely you are to purchase impulse items.  Even purchasing a cup of coffee each day can add up to $40 a month or more.

4)    Consider bulk-cooking.  One of the pitfalls of both adults in a household working is the time and energy involved in cooking every night. Perhaps you forget to take something out of the freezer and have to pick up something on the way home. Or perhaps you are just too tired to deal with cooking when you get home.  When you do cook, try making double, triple or even quadruple batches of whatever you are making and freeze to have another night in the future.

5)    Entertainment.  Are you a movie buff? Do you end up renting movies at Blockbuster frequently? Or paying for a pay-per-view movie? The library has a decent selection of movies that are free. Or if you really want newer releases, perhaps Netflix would be a more affordable option.  Always look for coupons for any type of entertainment. Many schools and organizations sell coupon books as fundraisers, or you can also purchase an Entertainment Book which gives you discounts to many places. However, make sure that the stores in your area accept the coupons.

6)    Car payments. I know this is definitely a more drastic means of cutting the budget, but is your car payment reasonable? Do you need to downgrade to a less expensive vehicle? Obviously this could be a little more challenging to change, but it may be necessary for some. We try to never have more than one car payment at a time.

7)    Grocery shopping and menu planning.  Plan your weekly menu around the sale items each week. Not only will it help you to not over-purchase, but it will also eliminate the need to eat out if you have a plan. Also consider if purchasing some items at a club stores such as Costco or BJ’s Wholesale is a better value than purchasing at the regular grocery store.  Look for coupons for the items you are purchasing to save even more.

Obviously there are far more ways to save, but this gives you some ideas to get started. I’d love to hear some of your ideas as well, so please feel free to add your comments below!

Now, on to the deals this week!

Know the Lingo
BOGO – Buy one, get one free
SS – Smart Source (coupon inserts in Sunday’s papers)
RP – Red Plum (coupon inserts in Sunday’s papers)
PG – Proctor & Gamble (coupon inserts in Sunday’s papers)
GM – General Mills (occasional coupon inserts in Sunday’s papers)
Blinkie – coupon dispensers in stores
Peelie – coupons found on products that you peel off
Hangtag – coupons found hanging on bottles
All You – Magazine sold at Walmart or via subscription

Whole Foods:  Click here for their coupons. If you prefer to shop at Publix, they should accept these as competitor coupons.

Publix Greenwise:  Click here for their weekly ads.

Many thanks to IHeartPublix.com for their great tips on shopping at Publix!

For the next two weeks, Publix is having their Viva Italia sale with great buys on items commonly used in Italian meals. It’s a great time to stock up on these! Look for special sale inserts  in the local Jewish Journal or Forum newspapers (and hopefully they’ll have them in stores as well).

For Publix “super deals” list for 2/16-2/22/2012, please click here.

For Publix full sale list with coupon match-ups for 2/16-2/22/2012, please clickhere

Renita’s Favorite Money-Saving Sites














E-Book now available!

I’m excited to tell you that my book is now available as an e-book! So, you can save money while you learn to save even more money by purchasing an e-book instead of a traditionally bound book! For more information, please click here.

Kindle book now available!

My book is now available for the Kindle! Please click here!

Renita is a resident of Palm Beach County, and author of “Wow! You Saved How Much?” For more information, visit her website athttp://wowyousavedhowmuch.com.

“Copyright © Renita R. Perrone All rights reserved. Permission granted to reprint this article on your website without alteration (excluding the weekly deals) if you include this copyright statement and leave the hyperlinks live and in place.”http://wowyousavedhowmuch.com