So, the holidays are over. All the hype over the gifts,  excessive food, and hub-bub of family and friends has died down. “Regular” life has returned and so has reality!

2016 is going to be a year of penny pinching, tightening the belt, reigning things in. So, how does one go about doing that? How can it be done and still ensure a little fun and adventure? Well, that is exactly what I reached out and asked a fabulous groups of ladies that I call my “Prairie Mamas”!

Living day to day and/ or running a business in the red is never fun and often leads to bigger issues than it should…. working to keep budgets in line is very important.

Here are some ways to that we brain stormed to cut back in 2016 to help with a household’s budget and bottom line!

  • Cut back on personal privileges…. expensive haircuts, hair colors, favorite bottle of wine, fancy chapstick, that not needed cool pair of clearance shoes, fancy apps, and new music
  • Eat out as a treat, buy on- the- go coffee at gas station not upper end coffee stores, pack snacks/ sandwiches for travel and sporting event, drink water from the water fountain

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  • Give gifts from the heart… What can you create? What talents do you have on hand? Are gifts really needed or is a note enough? Face it.. we don’t always need all the gifts we receive…. save them for a time when you can bless someone else with them. ( Note: put a sticky on them when you tuck them away so you don’t give them back to those that blessed you with them.)
  • Buy what is needed! So often we buy what we FEEL we need or may need in the future at some point. Stop! Too much stuff gets forgotten about, wasted, tucked away and often we buy it again, not realizing we already had it!
  • On the other hand, take advantage of things like buy 3 and get a gift card. Target is great for this! I know I will use laundry soap and (at one time) diapers! Why not get “credit” for my next purchase! Plus, they will deliver to my house for free! A huge bonus since I live 60 miles away!
  • Movies: TONS free on Amazon if you have a membership, Youtube has a bunch too, and don’t forget about your library- most have a iTunes account and can order ones you want! Strike a deal with other family… if you have an amazon account, let them use it and you use their Netflix!
  • Food: portion control- making too much isn’t good for the waist line or the budget, use left overs to make fun things- wrap left overs in croissants or bread dough and bake…. and there is always a soup, stew or hotdish for an option.
  • Birthday parties can be expensive think about what you have around you that is entertaining and forget the goodie bags! Swimming, nature hikes, playgrounds, sledding, visiting museums and castle competitions, and for us interacting with our goats, chickens, and bottle calves are all free! Skip the cake and go for ice cream!
  • Misc ideas…
    • cut all subscriptions
    • turn off lights and water, turn air and heat down a few degrees
    • new family events: cards, games, outdoor activities, attend community events
    • family trips: cheaper hotels w/ breakfast included, shorten by a day, stay with friends and family, find less expensive locations
    • COUPONS!!
    • Adult night out… find a great bar/ restaurant that has free food w/ drink purchase…
    • Toss less, care for things better, scrub stains
    • Birthdays… did you know that and Lego Store will give the birthday child a free small kit?! Yahoo!

What ever you do, be realistic!

Identify needs and wants and keep in mind what you value… family time, faith, vacations, friends, personal time/ experiences. Don’t let those things go, just find new ways to meet those needs. And as for wants…. collect that laundry money, the couch coins, save those cash gifts and find something that ranks high on the list, not just the first thing you see!