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Five Ways to Cut Expenses

Gas prices keep rising, and with that come higher prices on everything else. From food to clothing and electronics, the rising cost of gasoline impacts everything we buy. While it's not always easy, there are a few ways to cut costs around the home.

1. Buy less convenience food. Quit buying vegetables that can be steamed in the package. Buy frozen and put your steamer to work on the stovetop. Most cookware sets come with a steamer basket for one of the saucepans, start using it.  The same goes for many boxed foods or all in one meals. You can make it just as easy at home. Pick a weekend and cook and freeze at least two or three of your family's favorites. Not only will you be cooking healthier, you will save money.

Make coffee at home instead of picking it up at a coffee shop or quick stop store. The same thing for eating out, burgers and fries are simple to make at home in less than 30 minutes and will cost you a fraction of the price you will pay at the drive-thru.

2. Consolidate those trips to the grocery or other stores. With gas prices what they are, running to the store for just a gallon of milk is ridiculous. If you do run out of milk, see what else you need for the rest of the week before going out. If you or your spouse works, pick up the needed items on the way home from work. It may take you an extra few minutes to get home, but you will save gas.

3.  If you smoke, ditch the name brand cigarettes and learn to roll your own. Every city and town appears to have a tobacco store, pick up tobacco, papers and a roller. I guarantee you can save several hundred dollars a month doing this.

4. Shop garage sales, flea markets and thrift stores for appliances, dishes and other items for your home. The old adage of 'one man's trash is another man's treasure' was never more true than today. Okay, so what you find might not be the latest and greatest model, but in many cases, it will be brand new and cost a fraction of the retail cost.

5. Shop online as much as possible for durable goods. Check prices at places such as Amazon, Buy.com and other outlets that will ship free to your home when you purchase a certain amount. While it may be a dollar or two higher than what you can purchase local, the gas to get to that 'local' store may cost you even more. We buy everything from small appliances to non-perishable food online.

Okay so there are five ways you can save some money. I know there are a lot more, but these are the less 'painful' to most people. I would recommend going pre-paid on cell phones and wireless internet, but I think that would cause too much of an uproar.