Money Management: Living on Less

Personal habits tips

  • Barter talents and resources. Trade skills such as typing, wallpapering, painting, sewing or hair trimming with a friend or neighbor. You can obtain things you need without spending dollars.
  • Trim your children's hair between professional cuts. Better yet, you may be able to give simple cuts yourself.
  • Choose an easy-care hair style — you'll need fewer styling products.
  • Start a child-care cooperative. Co-ops provide free child care in exchange for you taking a turn at caring for the children.
  • Make gifts. Grow plants from seeds or cuttings to give as gifts. Fill an inexpensive basket with loaves of freshly baked bread. Develop a unique, quality craft to use as a gift. Gifts do not always have to mean an expensive purchase.
  • Write more letters or emails if you have access to a computer, or make fewer long-distance calls. The cost of a stamp is usually less than long-distance rates.
  • When you must use long-distance, make your calls when the rates are the lowest. If you use a cell phone, call when minutes are free.
  • Check through your telephone and cell phone bills carefully each month to be sure all the calls you are paying for are correctly billed.
  • Cancel any phone services you are paying extra for but don't really need (call waiting, call forwarding, text messaging, etc.).
  • Evaluate your need for cable television services. How much time do you really spend watching cable stations, and how important is that to you and your family?
  • Take advantage of learning opportunities at local schools, attend MU Extension classes, community-sponsored workshops and other adult education courses. All of these can increase the skills and knowledge you have to work with.
  • Give a gift of your own personal services. Window washing, baby sitting, lawn mowing and garden weeding are all examples of jobs friends would appreciate having you do. There are many ways to be generous without spending dollars.