Clothes Shopping On A Budget

Stick to a clothing budget by shopping sales racks, wholesale retailers, and second hand clothing stores and learn to live with only what you need to avoid debt.

Clothes shopping on a budget doesn’t have to be the end of the world. With some prior planning and changes in your shopping habits, saving money on clothes and eliminating debt from spontaneous buys will become routine. A balance of name brand retailers and department store sales, wholesale retailers, and shopping second hand clothes sources offer much variety and the thrill of a chase for clothing bargain hunters.

Prior Planning

Wardrobe building on a budget takes time and intentionality. Choosing key pieces and accessorizing around them provides a solid foundation. For example, a black suit is a key piece that can be accessorized with various shirts, jewelry, shoes, and even other tops and bottoms.

Planning purchases before hand saves money on clothes, as it reduces impulse buying and the resulting risk of debt. Keep a list of clothing needs handy for shopping, and purchase key pieces when you find a quality deal that works with your budget. Avoid emergency shopping- buying a funeral dress the night before the funeral- as those purchases add up over time.

Shop Name-Brand Stores with Care

Name-brand retailers and department stores offer the latest trends and name brands. Their selection can also come with hefty price tags. Browsing these racks offers an idea of what is in fashion and what could spice up a certain outfit. Purchases should only be made if the item is necessary or the money is available, however. Ask yourself, before purchasing any item full price, the following questions:

	Do I need this?
	Do I love myself in this?
	Can I afford this?

Name Brand stores’ sale racks offer a welcome break in price. Check your favorite stores regularly over time, and get in the habit of browsing the regular displays, but purchasing from the sales rack. Carefully examine all sales rack items before purchasing clothing, however, to check for holes, stains, and lost pieces. Also check the store’s return policy, just in case you are uncertain about an item.

Frequent Wholesale Retailers

Familiarize yourself with wholesale retailers in your area. Wholesale retailers such as TJ Maxx and Tuesday Morning sell discontinued or overstocked clothing from department stores at discounted prices. The items available in these stores vary, but includes many name brand items. Use the same caution here as you would in any store. Inspect clothing for holes, tears, and stains, and familiarize yourself with the return policy.

Buying Second Hand Clothes

Second-hand clothing retailers, such as Goodwill, the Salvation Army, and other consignment stores, offer used items that others have donated. Shopping for second hand clothes can be hit or miss. Sometimes, a name brand piece in excellent condition will be a real bargain. Other times, the rows of unorganized clothes on hangers seem like a nightmare.

It’s important to approach buying second-hand clothing with a grain of salt. Real bargains exist for those who scour the racks. A quick tip for quickly covering a wide area of clothing racks- run a hand along the fabric, and if the fabric feels soft and attractive, it is likely cotton, cashmere, or another quality blend.

Shopping second hand works well if one is open to the possibilities, but can be frustrating when seeking a particular piece. Give yourself plenty of time, and be open to the possibilities. Many vintage pieces, available few other places, are waiting in consignment stores for someone to notice them. Carefully inspect second hand items for holes, tears, and stains, as you would any clothing before purchase.

By shopping sales, wholesale, and second hand, clothes shopping on a budget can be both affordable and fun.

Dressing Like A Celebrity On A Budget

Celebrity offers the impression of elegance and sophistication. While this is not always the case, any individual can look expensively dressed with a few simple ideas. Decide which celebrities are worth emulating because some wear some strange outfits and it depends on the image you wish to portray.

Begin by working out how much you can spent during a month or year. What is a safe amount which will give you the look you want without damaging you other commitments.

Read the magazines and keep a sharp eye out for current trends. Decide which items, if any, will suit your body shape, coloring and style. The secret to looking well dressed is knowing what looks best on you. Sometimes avoiding a fashion trend all together will make you stand out. Some cuts of clothing, however fashionable will never look good on every body shape and are best left alone.

Current taste in colors might flatter some but can look dreadful on others. Find tones which are close but set your skin off more successfully. By developing your own style you can build a basic wardrobe of simple, well cut clothes which enhance your appearance. If the basics are well done, the addition of an inexpensive current item like a top or jewelry can give that twist which shows you know what is in without revealing what you spent. Mixing and matching quality and low cost is a subtle art.

When you know what is current, then look at magazines and round the shops to find alternative, inexpensive versions. There are some stores who specialize in current fashion items which cost much less than they would in a high street store and they pride themselves on what they can offer. These places might take time to hunt through for what you want but they will certainly give you a bargain.

The next stage is to remember less is more. Celebrities tend not to load themselves with costume jewelry. They may wear some extremely expensive ornaments but there are always inexpensive alternatives which are affordable and will give the subliminal impression that they are worth more than they cost if the rest of the outfit is elegant. When the fashion has moved on, you can put them aside until they come round again. Besides, celebrities often are given or lent clothes and jewelry to advertise the fashion houses. The ordinary person does not have this sort of access.

Dressing like a celebrity but on a budget requires planning and discipline. It requires some dedication to keep up to date with current fashion and what the celebrities are wearing.

Easy Ways To Save Money On A Tight Budget Hot Frugal Living Tipswords

Living on a tight budget is easier than many people think. Learn effective frugal living tips to save money easily.

As economic crises throughout the world continues to worsen, it is now essential to save more money to make ends meet. Numerous individuals who still have well-paying jobs are contemplating how long will it last and what will they do if no longer have their jobs. Many are already experiencing the stress and hardships of economic crises.

Do economic crises mean that there is no hope for those who are trying to make a living? Not, not at all. Mankind has survived and adapted through numerous hardships in history. Therefore, it is possible today to effectively cope with economic crises. This can be done by living a frugal or simple life. Frugal living means to live smarter without wasting much money and other resources. The following information shows some effective frugal living ideas to save money on a tight budget.

Save More Money on a Tight Budget – Live a Simple Life

Living a simple life means focusing more on the things that are necessary to live. It is important to think first about the essentials of life such as water, electricity, food, transportation, and housing. Paying these bills should be a person’s first priority. Entertainment and other activities should be less important priorities. While it is important to focus more on these priorities, it is also vital to take necessary steps on managing them properly to save more money.

Homeowners can save more money on water by checking the toilets for leaks, taking shorter showers, and washing full loads. Using energy star approved products, unplugging unused devices, painting the rooms with brighter colors (more light is reflected off the walls), using fluorescent light bulbs, and using the air conditioning system moderately are ways to save money on electricity.

To save money on food, try to keep the foods fresh for as long as possible by safely keeping them in the refrigerator/freezer and by using containers. Reduce eating too much superfluous foods such as snacks and other appetizers. Focus primarily on eating meals about three times a day.

The concept of living a simple life really is simple: avoid buy things that are not needed. When it comes to television entertainment, choose a basic service that has the channels that the family mostly watch.

Frugal Living Tips – Self-Sufficiency

In addition to living a simpler life, it is also important to be more self sufficient. Being self-sufficient means to be capable to provide oneself without the aid of others. Being self-sufficient can save people on a tight budget a lot of money. One can start being self-sufficient by providing for himself. For example, those who have experience gardening can start planting their own fruits and vegetables—which is of course more fresh than the ones in the stores.

Those who have experience in construction and engineering can fix their own materials when they are broken, rather than going to the local mechanic store—which can of course be costly at times. If someone does not have any substantial background experience, he can ask a close experienced friend or view instructional do-it-yourself articles and videos online. When it comes to computing, it is not always necessary to buy software. Instead of using illegal pirated copies, use open source free (or free versions and trials) software.

Family Camping On A Budget

Summer family camping trips are ideal for those who appreciate the great outdoors. Filled to the very brim with fun activities and bonding with family, camping is a wonderful experience. Yet camping trips can be as diverse as the people who enjoy them. Terrains differ, climates differ and so do the activities and camp style options. Location changes everything, the campsite options differ and this can have great bearing on whether one enjoys their camping trip of deems it a nightmare. So how does one ensure their family has a memorable camping trip?

Do some online research:

Research the location you have chosen for the camping trip prior to heading off. Your research should include finding out about the terrain, wildlife, safety or possible hazards of the area and if flash flooding is likely occur. One will need to know if there is another way out of the campgrounds if needed due to mudslides, bush fires and so forth.

Check about the access and if the location is only for 4×4 vehicles or all vehicles. Perchance one can only backpack to the campground. Knowing upfront is imperative. Check out the terrain on Google and find out exactly what awaits you arrival.

When camping it is important to get good gear. The most important item when camping is your tent. Look for double stitching to keep out the elements. Put a mattress pad or spare sleeping bag on the floor of the tent to cushion the ground. Quality sleeping bags that fit the temperature range you will be sleeping in are best. You can buy specialty bags for extreme temperatures.

Check Ebay and local used sporting goods stores for great items at a low price. Don’t invest a lot of money into camping gear until you see if you enjoy it.

Make sure you know the local fishing/camping regulations in the area you plan to go. Since many areas have specific laws governing fishing, campfires and other burning you may want to check with the local authorities on what is and isn’t allowed before you plan on going to an area.

If you have kids that are addicted to technology, I strongly suggest you don’t enforce “roughing it.” Allow your kids small blocks of time so they can enjoy their vacation too! Your child may be more enthusiastic about fishing or a nature walk if they can text message their friends about it afterwords.

Don”t Forget:

A First Aid Kit
Pictures of Poison Ivy and Oak (so you can recognize and avoid)
Bug Spray
Suntan Lotion
Benedryl (in case of allergic reactions)
Plastic garbage bags (for all those muddy clothes and shoes that have to be transported back home)
Flashlights for everyone Books to help identify Leaves, Birds, Bugs, Owls, Tracks, Animals, and Fish

Ways to save:

Bring your own ice
Invest in a quality cooler
Save those extra ketchup/mustard packs from fast food restaurants to take on camping trips
Buy camping equiptment for the next year during the fall
Bring Paper Towels
Find out if your camp site has a laundry, bring your own detergent and softener
Have the kids wear their old shoes instead of their new ones, creeks, trails, and sand can quickly destroy shoes

Financial Planning And Family Budgeting

Whether it’s the start of the calendar year or the beginning of financial year (March- April), financial planning is an important matter for families and individuals alike.

While it doesn’t require an intensive research on the subject of finance and accountancy, there are some basic facts that a family needs to keep in mind while preparing the budget.

Prepare the Income and Expense Sheet

The first and foremost thing in the preparation of a family budget is a calculation of the monthly income. This includes the net take home salary for working professionals, profits in case of businessmen and entrepreneurs and earnings from other sources, such as rent proceeds or investment returns. This income then forms the basis for calculating all expenses and savings.

Identify the Major Expense Areas

Every family has some basic expenses. While some of them are incurred annually, most of them are monthly outlays. They can be broadly categorized as:

 Housing – Rent, maintenance and repairs, mortgage, insurance
 Loan – Monthly installments towards housing, vehicle, personal, property loans
 Utilities – Electricity, water, gas, cable and groceries
 Transportation – Car/vehicle fuel, maintenance, Insurance
 Children – School fees and other charges, uniform, clothing, medical, nanny/day care
 Personal Care – Clothing, grooming, accessories, club memberships
 Pets – Medical, grooming, food, maintenance
 Entertainment – Outings, movies, family celebrations, religious ceremonies
 Taxes – Annual contributions towards financing the government expenditure
 Savings and Investments – compulsory savings and investments towards children’s growth funds, pension schemes, shares, bonds and financial securities
 Emergency Funds – Medical urgencies, unplanned travel, loaning money to a relative or close family friend

Involve Family Members in Formulating the Budget

It is necessary to involve the spouse and children while putting together the family budget. Every member of the family needs to understand the importance of financial planning and make the desired contributions. Children need to be aware of their family income so as to avoid wasteful expenditures.

Outline Measures to Curtail Expenditure

Once the household budget has been broadly outlined, the couple needs to identify measures to cut down on unnecessary expenditure. Some expenses can be postponed to the next month while some can be completely avoided.

Find Out Additional Sources of Revenue and Earnings

A property that is laying vacant can be given on lease or rent for commercial or residential usage. The paychecks from this source can add to the family income. Households where both partners are educated but only the husband is contributing towards the family income can add to their earnings with the wife taking up some part time-work work or working from home. There are many such opportunities available on the internet today. A person just needs to evaluate the options carefully before making a choice.

Add the Savings Sheet

A budget is incomplete without a summary of the savings and investment schemes. Once the expenses have been chalked out, the next step is to prepare a savings plan. A family can decide on the various saving options like bank fixed deposits, pension plan, or investments in bonds, securities, mutual funds, etc.

Budget Planner

Once the income sources and expense items have been identified, it becomes imperative to prepare a budget planner. There are many budget planning programs that can be downloaded from the internet for making a budget. The essentials of a planner are to include every income, saving and expense item in detail.

Track the Planner

Lastly, track the planner on a monthly basis to check the progress and correct deviations if any. Modify the planner so that it is in line with the current situations and requirements of the family. Make room for exigencies like medical emergencies, unexpected arrival of guests, unplanned family occasions and travel.

Financial planning goes a long way in helping individuals to keep a tap on their expenses and spending within feasible limits. Family budgets are a helpful tool in facilitating a balance between the year round spending of the family unit and its source of income. A family that maintains and updates the budget on a regular basis can surely avoid financial hiccups in the long run and can make modest additions to their family savings kit.

How To Have A Beautiful Wedding On A Budget

Congratulations, you’re engaged! Now to start with the wedding plans, but there is just one problem: the cost of a wedding these days is crazy. If you don’t have thousands of dollars to spend on a wedding there is good news you don’t have to spend that much, and still have a fabulous wedding.

The first thing you are going to want to get is a note pad. The will enable you to write down any notes you want to take also. You can separate it into pages for individual parts of the weeding ranging from the flowers to bridesmaids. This little book could mean the difference between forgetting something and not forgetting that one important detail.

Lets talk about the most important outfit of the day your wedding gown. Today some women spend thousands on a beautiful gown, however this is not necessary. There are a few ways to find the dream dress for you and at a reasonable cost. The first way is to wait till the wedding season is over and then hit your favorite bridal stores for those amazing dress sales.

It is not a bad thing to buy your dress in the sales, it just means you get the dress at a cheaper price and what could be better than that? after all you will only wear the dress once. Another way to find a great wedding dress a good price is to look on e-bay. Worried the dress may not fit? Many of the dresses on e-bay actually get made to fit your measurements, so it is made to fit you. If you like a dress on e-bay that does not get made to fit you, do not panic, get the dress and find a good priced tailor or someone who can sew and get them to fix what needs fixing.

Bridesmaids dresses: There is no need to get custom made bridesmaids dresses. When prom season is done go to the stores and check out the sales. You would be surprised what you can find. Just because it is a “prom dress” does not mean that it can not be used as a bridesmaids gown. And in reality how will ever know the difference?

The mens tux: There is no need to go out and buy a whole bunch of expensive tuxes, unless your groom plans on wearing it more than once. Instead hire out the tux for the day. You can find tuxes to go with the type of wedding you are planning. You can even go with your groom to make sure he does not pick out something that is the complete opposite of what the wedding intends to look like.

Flowers: The bouquet you need to worry about is yours, after all yours is the bouquet everyone looks at. For the bridesmaids instead of giving all of them a bouquet how about just having a single flower such as a Lilly or rose with some ribbon for detail. It maybe small but they also look so beautiful. There are some alternatives to having flowers at the alter, how about having a few candles, just make sure that they are placed in positions where no one will catch fire, or you could find yourself having a wedding remembered for all the wrong reasons.

Center pieces: Having flowers on every table at the reception can get very expensive. So how about having candles and maybe some confetti. The candles will add a sense of extra romance to the day. They will look beautiful and set of any wedding day.

Food: Having caterers do the food does mean less work for you however they can get costly. Get some friends and family to band together and make some food for the big event. It does not have to spectacular after all most people that attend weddings normal just want food that they can pick at rather than having a huge great meal.

These are only a few parts of a wedding, however i hope this will give you some ideas and tips on how to have a great wedding and not have to pay a huge amount of money. It funny how when you start a wedding on a budget it all seems to fall into place and you naturally start looking at ways to reduce the cost.

The main thing to remember is that the wedding as an event is just a small part of the day, the big thing is the love you and your groom want to share with your family and friends. No cost should put a barrier between the two of you on your special day.

Tips For Maximizing Your Style On A Budget

For some reason we all have it in our heads that in order to have style we need to have money. This is entirely not true. You can take a look at various glossy gossip magazines to prove this fact. Style does not come from the size of your bank account it comes from you, the person with in.

There is a well known saying that money can buy fashion but it cannot buy style.

If you think back to when many of the leading designers of today started out, neither of them had the millions they have. They took the simplest of ideas and turned them into radical personal statements and began revolutions.

Who ever invented the simple t-shirt would have been proud of the way people have put their personal stints on them, you can buy a plan white t-shirt for pennies and just buy letting your imagination go can make it look breath taking just buy cutting a bit off here gluing or sewing a few beads or sequins there. And voila you have a totally different look. The important thing is knowing where to cut and where to glue.

Over the past few years I have discovered that I do not have to buy a new outfit every time I go out. I just modify the items I have. I do love fashion but this isn’t always possible when you have limited funds. You may frown at the idea of charity shops, markets and non high street shops as I used to but I am telling you some of my nicest pieces have come from shops I have no clue of the name or the place all I know is I paid minimal for them and they look great.

The most successful shopping trip was when I raided my mums old suitcases which where loaded with things from the 60’s 70’s and 80’s. I came out with dresses, tops, jumpers the list goes on and a paid nothing for them. You see fashion does come back around, with the exception of the 80’s shell suit, shoulder pads or rib cracking corsets with 10 mile wide skirts. And it’s knowing how to team them with the looks of today.

Markets for me are the greatest placed to pick up things and the greatest thing is you will not walk down the street and see twenty people wearing the same thing. Once upon a time my friend was overjoyed at the fact that she had bought this absolutely amazing dress and was flaunting it around like there was no tomorrow only to leave the house in it and see five other girls wearing the same thing.

Needless to say she was mortified. And she’d spent a fortune on it. Another example was when I was online browsing and a came across the beautiful pair of shoes. I made my self a promise as soon as I get paid I would get them. So pay day came I went to get them. But when I got there they had lost their appeal. Determined not to go home empty handed I went to any shop which had a sale sign in the window. That day I came out with a whole outfit shoes and all for the same price as the shoes.

As stated before style comes from within the individual. You either have it or you don’t and even more so on a budget. You can take a very old and battered pair of jeans team it with a simple tee or shirt and it will be the accessories that make the outfit like bright shoes, big bangles some earrings maybe a head scarf just know how to coordinate the colours and a lovely vintage bag thanks to mummy.

A simple tee can cost as little as under a fiver and the jeans well like I said an old battered pair that’s probably been in the back of your wardrobe for years just as the tee. And the accessories need not cost a bomb either or be bought at all you can mix and match with things you have acquired over the years. There you have a nice outfit for everyday living.

You see people as quoted by a very very prestigious well known designer Fashion comes and goes but style is forever. Remember you do not have to follow the crowd to look good. Know the colours that suit you, know what cuts suit you and more than ever know your budget.

Tips To Increase Your Monthly Budget

There are many ways to increase your monthly budget. One is to get a second or third job and make more money. However, there are ways to increase your current monthly budget without taking up more of your leisure time.

Since the turn in the economy, people are more willing to consider trimming their budgets and adopting new ways of saving. While you trim in some areas, you can also increase your monthly budge in other, more important areas.

First, when trying to increase your monthly budget, it’s important to know how much money you have and where it goes. For a month, write down every purchase you make and every bill you pay. At the end of a month, divide the purchases and payments into two categories: needs and wants.

Under the “needs” category, list all necessities, such as rent or mortgage, food, gas, medication, etc. Put all the other items into the “wants” category. Determine what “wants” you can do without or can cut back on. The money you save from those wants can be used to increase other areas of your monthly budget.

Here are some ways to find money within your budget in order to increase your monthly budget in other areas:

1. Heat and air conditioning. In the winter, put on an extra sweater and set the thermostat a couple of degrees lower than usual. In the summer, do the opposite. Over a year, you will save money. Another way to save money is to clean the heating and air conditioner filter regularly. It will make the unit function more efficiently.

2. Plan your driving. If you are used to running out on an errand whenever you want, plan ahead. By consolidating your errands into one trip, you will save the back and forth driving and save gas.

3. Collaborate with neighbors and friends for services. For example, go together on services that are needed only occasionally, such as lawn care, and you might get a reduced rate.

4. Substitute at home meals and packing a lunch for fast food and restaurant meals. If you must eat out, choose wisely. By ordering water instead of other beverages you can save a couple of bucks right off the top of your bill. Also, the meals served in restaurants are very large these days. Ask for a take-out box and take half of your meal home for dinner.

5. Grocery shopping. Shop from a list with a calculator in hand. If you will use a quantity of a product before it spoils, then buy a quantity of it. Calculate a per ounce or per pound price for what you are buying. Sometimes, it is no cheaper to buy the large size.

6. Whenever possible, use coupons or discounts. They really can add up to substantial savings.

7. Save on electricity in other ways. When you leave a room, turn off the lights; and when finished, turn off your computer.

8. Learn the art of delayed gratification. Because credit cards are so prevalent, we've forgotten how to save for a purchase. Use credit cards for emergencies only.

In most cases, you won’t need to use all of these suggestions at once. The more of them you use, however, the more you will save and the more you’ll be able to increase your monthly budget in other areas.

Vacation On A Budget

Summer vacations are nearly as iconic in American society as the backyard barbecue. Warm weather arrives, and with it; the urge to go somewhere else, see something different and do something beyond the realm of regular habit. We are driven by tradition, nostalgia and a desire for change to get away and explore; to abandon the mundane and go out to play. Short economics do not have to sound the death knell to summer dreams.

Ingenuity often increases possibility, and innovative solutions to the expenses of a getaway can make a trip a reality even when money is tight. Regardless of where the wanderlust may lead you, there are ways to vacation economically but the degree of savings is dependent upon one primary rule to remember. The proportion of savings is directly tied to the amount of effort you are willing to invest. If someone else is doing things for you, you will pay for it.

Vacations are made wonderful largely by attitude, which costs little but some concentrated effort. Determination to have a good time renders the inevitable kafuffles inherent in any trip unimportant. Getaways, by their very nature are venues for expanded experience. Start by looking close to home. People live all their lives near places others come from far and wide to see and yet often never go there themselves. With modern transportation options day trips can take you to some wonderful places. Short trips are easy on tempers and the pocketbook and you can sleep in the best bed in the world…your own.

For adventures farther afield, start with affordable transportation. If driving is less expensive than a flight, break up the trip with side trips along the way. Hurry to get to a single destination misses much of interest between point A and point B. Camp along the way and save on hotel bills. If camping is not your style stay in modest hotels or Bed and Breakfast establishments rather than five star hotels. If you must fly, check out discounted prices well ahead of time and lock in your rates.

Hit the grocery stores in faraway places for breakfast and lunch food and save eating in restaurants for dinner. The effort of fixing food yourself has benefits. The family will eat what they are used to and like, making waste of food and money less, and the novelty of eating in a restaurant does not pall after the first day out.

Travel souvenirs can be free if you think outside the box. Prices on tourist – shop items are generally expensive but stones, shells, pressed leaves and embossed napkins are free. Check local laws and travel restrictions first, however, so that what you choose to take home is legal. Pictures and memories make the best souvenirs of all.

Once arrived at a destination, check out the local museums, botanical gardens and nature preserves. These are often inexpensive, free, or have a free day you can plan into your schedule. Visitor centers are usually listed in the local phone book and the resident staff are always happy to direct you to areas of interest. Absorbing a bit of local history always makes memories of a place stronger and more interesting. Some of your favorite vacation memories may arise from visits to places you never knew were there.

The most important way to save money on a getaway is to plan ahead. Organization saves not only money on transportation and accommodation but those extra costs incurred when you have to buy things you forgot. The purchase of a sun – hat at an amusement park will cost about three time what it would have at home. Plan your itinerary, think of the climate in your destination and make lists. Check things off as you pack. Because this is a focused activity, this exercise will often trigger the remembrance of something and allow its inclusion so you do not have to buy it later.

Summer getaways are important to us. They are the essential playtime in our lives; something we never outgrow and find necessary to our soul. Economic conditions may change their extent of possibility but they will always be with us in one form or another. Budgeting makes a destination possible and a positive attitude makes budgeting friend rather than foe to enjoyment.

Cooking On A Budget

Ever wondered how to make a delicious, healthy meal without breaking the bank? Here are some tips on cooking on a budget!

Cooking for a week on a budget is quite easy. Sticking to a tight budget permanently is much more challenging.

Eating frugally for one week is a necessity that comes to us all once in a while. We’ve overspent, and yet still need to feed the family. What do you do?

DON’T PANIC! For one week, it’s not going to killáanybodyáto knuckle down and eat good old fashioned filling food and go without the luxuries. You can empty the cupboards and eat whatever’s in there. The REAL challenge is to cook for a week on a budget without anybody knowing.

Start by going on a health kick, and ditching all the sweets (candies) and crisps (potato chips). These are bad for you anyway. Once you have established that you’re going to be eating healthily for a week you can cut out any regular take-away meals you usually have. You won’t be eating in a restaurant this week.

Firstly, get everyone to eat breakfast. It might seem like an odd idea to eat on a budget by getting people to eat more, but breakfast really does keep hunger at bay. A big bowl of muesli or porridge is best, or any other wholewheat cereal. Check that there’s not too much sugar in it, or it will have your tummy begging for more by 9.30.

If you have small children, go for a walk and see if you can pick up any free food. The autumn (fall) is ideal for this. It’s not so easy in the city, of course, but there are other tricks for you. If your partner is a fisherman, now’s the time to send him out.

Make everyone a packed lunch to take to work with them instead of letting them buy lunch. If you can use cupboard ingredients to make home-made cookies or cakes to go in them, so much the better. Save on sandwich fillings by using cheaper things this week.

If you are eating lunch at home, a vegetable soup is cheap and filling. Kids love to help making this, too. Add tiny pasta shapes to make it more filling, or pearl barley. Save a bit of meat from the day before to add to it.

Leave your shopping until the stores are about to close, and see what they have reduced. Very often they will be marking things down to ridiculously low prices. If they aren’t marking down when you go in, don’t be afraid to ask an assistant what time of day they usually do it. Pop back then – it’ll be worth the extra journey. Check out the prices of larger pieces of meat. It might be more economical to buy a larger turkey or larger piece of beef and use it several days in a row. Scour your cookbook for ways of disguising it! Roast one day. Cold with salad the next. Curry the third.

It’s not ideal in a long-term diet , but the old-fashioned way of filling up on stodge, stodge and more stodge is the way to stop being hungry on little money. When you serve dinner, add some slices of bread, biscuits, pitta or bread rolls. Pile on the mashed potato, fluff up the rice, and dole out the pasta.

Extend your meat by making stews and casseroles packed with healthy vegetables. They’ll take on the flavor of the meat – especially if you add an extra stock cube!

Desserts are best kept simply. Your first route is to look in the freezer and finish up what you have in there. Next, sponge puddings or cakes, with fruit if you have any. Milk puddings such as semolina, tapioca and rice pudding are all schoolroom favorites. Make them with powdered milk and serve with a blob of jam. Jelly and ice cream cost very little, too – sprinkle a packet of Jelly Tots over them and call it a party!

You should come out of this week very healthy, having cut down on processed foods and increased your vegetable intake. If you’ve also realised that exercise is actually an appetite SUPPRESSANT and been to the gym every night, you’ll be laughing!