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You might think saving money for the future is easier said than done, but it does not have to be that way. Start by taking one step at a time. After making the commitment to save, take some time to discover what you want to save for – an emergency fund, a new TV, a college fund for your child, or possibly for your retirement. Then set some short and long-term goals, and establish a time frame in which to attain them. Next review your current budget.

List Your Income and Expenses

A basic budget includes the money earned and money spent. You have control over how much you spend, so take a critical look at your expenses.  Record in detail everything you spend your money on for a month, and try not to leave out small purchases. Assign each purchase or expenditure a category such as: rent, car insurance, car payments, phone, cable, utilities, gas, food, entertainment, clothing, etc.

Now that you have recorded how much you spent in a month, take a good hard look at your records. If they are not already, take time to balance your earnings with your current spending, and incorporate your savings goals. You may see some obvious cuts you can make to balance your budget, however, the following ideas of hoe to save by spending less may not be so obvious. Incorporating some of them can help you realize that saving does not have to mean major sacrifices.

At Home

• Install a programmable thermostat that lowers the heat when people are at school/work.

• Install a low-flow shower and toilet to save on the water bill.

• Wash clothes in cold water rather than hot.

Transportation

• Decrease amount of cars in the family. If you need multiple vehicles, purchase cars that are economical on fuel.

• Make use of public transportation; or if you can, walk or ride a bike to your destination.

Entertainment

• Purchase and use the Black Hills Coupon Book for buy one get one free entertainment.

• Rent DVDs and make popcorn at home for a cheaper movie-watching alternative.

• Borrow books and videos from your local library – talk about cheap entertainment!

Purchases/Shopping

• Use generic medications. Ask your physician to consider prescribing generics and purchase store brand over-the-counter medications. These generics can cost hundreds less to purchase annually than brand-name medications.

• Use Impact Magazine, the coupon magazine that comes quarterly in your mailbox and the Black Hills Coupon Book to save on dining, groceries and more.

• Shop at consignment shops. These stores tend to have higher quality clothing for low prices.

Insurance

• Before renewing your existing health, life, auto and homeowners’ insurance policies each year, check out the rates of competing companies.

• Raise your deductibles: Being willing to pay $500-1,000 on a claim, rather than only $100-250, can reduce annual premiums by as much as several hundred dollars.

Banking

• Keep a close record of your account to avoid overdraft fees.

• Use your credit card for purchases you can pay off each month and make your payment on time to avoid fees.

• Use only the ATMs of your bank or credit union to avoid fees.

By using the money your already earn, and spending it differently, you will find you are able to save money, but it will take some discipline.