This goes out to my dear friend and maid of honor at my wedding. She recently got engaged and is trying to get the debt out of the way while saving money for her destination wedding.
We talked this morning about how a meal plan can really save some serious money even if you don't go into the store with coupons or having looked at the flyer before you enter the store. (I would not consider either of the aforementioned ideas advisable). A meal plan basically makes you make a list before you go to the grocery store and helps to save money because you don't go down every isle thinking "do I need anything here?" The meal plan helps you stay away from impulse buys (or at least most).
It took my husband and I about 5 years to get on this bandwagon and we often fall off when times are stressful in the household, although those are the times that a meal plan in really the most helpful to us. In times of stress, I don't want to be thinking about what are we going to have for dinner or do I need to go to the store to pick anything up.
The other item we spoke about this morning is the Debt Free Solution. This explains how money and finances are 80% behavior and 20% knowledge. Our family has not gone quite so far as to follow his plan (thankfully we are in a situation that we don't need to watch every penny), but I do have a friend in Idaho who is and she is really making an impact on her family's debt and finances. Basically, Dave Ramsey is all about being "DEBT FREE"! He has a radio show and I would bet even a podcast too.
So, if you want to start by making 2 simple steps in your life that you can control, before you start scouring the Sunday paper (if you even buy it or subscribe to it), try making a meal plan and using The Total Money Makeover Workbook.
I'd be interested to hear any thoughts or comments you might have as to what 2 steps you would recommend to someone who is starting out trying to save money and/or reduce debt.