Government shutdown got you tightening your belt?

Here are some great tips on cutting your spending.

The government shutdown was very stressful, even if just one of your steady paycheques was affected. The shutdown may now be over, but you probably still have outstanding bills or purchases that need to be made. Can you make all of your bill payments at this time, and still have enough to put food on your table? Here are some simple but worthwhile ideas to curb your spending, and even have a little fun while you’re doing it.

  • Cut down on eating out. Even fast food restaurants these days are expensive; it is hard to find a meal for two, much less a family, that is less than $20. Save your wallet (and your health) by making all meals at home; make enough dinner to last the family through the following lunch as leftovers, or enough to repurpose in a different meal. There are many recipes on the Internet that lend well to different meals the following day.
  • Enjoy the outdoors. Fall is one of the most beautiful times of the year, especially with the trees aflame in color and the scent of Hallowe’en in the air. Go for a walk in your local park, or even just down your street if one is not close. You’ll be glad you did! Dig out the glove and baseball, or even a kite if you live in a windy area. When was the last time you spent time working on your garden? Fall is one of the best times to maintain your plants, before the snow falls.
  • Spend time, not money. Not all activities that you do with your family have to cost money to be enjoyable. Make some cookies with your kids, spend a weeknight doing a puzzle or playing a board game. Not only do these activities cost very little, if not nothing, they will help bring your family closer together. Some other ideas include crafting; fallen leaves make excellent craft projects. Did you know that you can keep leaves from turning brown by microwaving them? Just do a quick Google search and you’ll find lots of art projects to try.
  • Speak to a financial adviser. If you’re having problems finding the money to pay your day-to-day expenses, book an appointment with your bank’s financial adviser. They should be able to provide you with some tips to keeping your costs down, and may even arrange different financing strategies, such as a debt consolidation, to decrease your payments.
  • Plan ahead. The government shutdown may be over, but there are many other incidents that might stop one or more of your paycheques from rolling in; you or a loved one may get sick, you might lose your job or any number of things. It is always a good idea to have some money tucked away just in case, also known as a “rainy day” fund. The cash can also be good for unexpected expenses, like having to repair your car, a new roof on the house or other household items.
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