Budget stretchers

Psyched to save

"The secret to successful saving is to focus like a laser on the better things your savings will buy in the future."

(more savings strategies)

Experts recommend having a minimum of three months worth of living expenses set aside for an emergency. For many on a budget this can seem a daunting task.  But with a little planning it can be done.

425 ways to stretch your $$$$
Vernon Williams.
[S.l.] : Empowerment Publishers, [2010?]
This book gives proven tips that are guaranteed to save consumers money on everything from utilities to groceries to auto insurance to credit cards, just to name a few areas.
Be CentsAble : how to cut your household budget in half
Chrissy Pate and Kristin McKee.
New York : Plume, 2010.
hen two everyday moms, Chrissy Pate and Kristin McKee, needed to tighten their budgeting belts, neither had any idea how to reduce their expenses without giving up the products and lifestyle their families loved.
Family feasts for $75 a week : a penny-wise mom shares her recipe for cutting hundreds from your monthly food bill
Mary Ostyn.
Birmingham, Ala. : Oxmoor House, c2009.
Whether you're overhauling your entire budget or just trying to save a little here and there, making a dent in your grocery bill may seem challenging in today's market. A typical supermarket trip can easily cost a minimum of $100, and if you're feeding an average family or larger, that number can soar even higher. What's a mom on a budget to do?
The 1-2-3 money plan : the three most important steps to saving and spending smart
Gregory Karp.
Upper Saddle River, N.J. : FT Press, c2009.
When it comes to personal finance, many books are just too complicated and too hard to act on. Finally, there's a book that truly keeps it simple, offering advice that anyone can use and anyone can profit from. "The 1-2-3 Money Book" organizes every essential money task into three specific steps, telling readers exactly what to do, and how to do it.
Stylish weddings for less : how to plan your dream wedding on a budget
by Catherine Sabino.
New York : Filipacchi, 2009.
With the average cost of a wedding in the U.S. approaching $28,000, many couples are eager to find ways to cut back, particularly in these tough economic times. Who needs to say "I do" to a mountain of debt? Yet, considering the emotions and expectations that come with planning the big day, it's easy to succumb to inflated wedding pricing and spend beyond your budget. But you can have that fabulous, once-in-a-lifetime wedding - the type you've always dreamed of - without breaking the bank. Stylish Weddings for Less by Catherine Sabino will show you how! From finding that knock-out gown at a fraction of its original cost, classy wedding invitations, rings, flowers, and bridesmaids' gowns at reduced costs, to creative ways to save on wedding cakes and reception menu strategies, to locating incredible reception sites at affordable prices, the book offers hundreds of ideas and solutions! It will also reveal how experts get the best deals on photography, transportation and even on honeymoon travel. In an easy-to-reference format, Stylish Weddings for Less is sure to be an indispensable resource for anyone looking to tie the knot with cost-conscious flair and style.
Secrets of a stingy scoundrel : 100 dirty little money-grubbing secrets
Phil Villarreal ; illustrations by Adam Wallenta.
New York, NY : Skyhorse Pub., c2009.
Phil Villarreal is not a Harvard MBA or a professional financial advisor or a talking head on a cable television network focusing on business, but he can change your financial life-if you are willing to move into the gray areas of money and ethics. His advice is as funny as it is useful as it is a little bit evil. Instead of playing straight and saving money by cutting back on things you need or want, Secrets of a Stingy Scoundrel has a better plan to save money by working the system and sticking it to "the man." Here's how to get free Internet service, never pay for ketchup and plastic straws, get refunds on already opened DVDs, clothe yourself using free swag from credit card promotions, benefit from the bonanza that is the garbage thrown out by college kids, how to get in free to sporting events, score free on-demand movies in hotels, and more! Hilarious, tongue-in-cheek, and sardonically practical, this is the book for everyone who loves rule-bending, loophole-exploiting, money-saving madness. In this economy, it's every man for himself and dog-eat-dog-and this book can help.

Here are five ways to help help stretch your budget and start saving:

  • Know where your money goes - Take time to create a household budget that accurately tracks yearly expenditures.
  • Consider savings like a bill - Pay the savings account the way you do the other bills. Consider having a set amount transferred monthly from your checking account or paycheck.
  • Think small - Small amounts quickly become sizable. Skip one lunch out a week and almost $500 can be added to the savings account in a year.
  • Continue payments - Once a loan is paid off, continue making payments. Just make those payments to your savings account. You were not used to having that money, so you will not miss it.
  • Reward yourself - Plan for a splurge after you reach a goal.  This can stop impulse buying and gives you and your family time to congratulate yourselves.
  • Start adding to your savings account today - it is vital for your financial health.

Article by: St. Louis Public Library staff