It's not your imagination if money feels tight. Whether you're just starting out or in an established business, a lot of people feel the heat.

Experts call our current time the biggest family finance squeeze since the 1920s. The accompanying largest drop in monthly disposable income impacts both your home and business balance sheet, but also the finances of your prospects and customers.

Increasing petroleum prices and consequent transport costs have inflated the costs of almost everything you regularly use:

Food - increase in the prices of vegetables, breads, cereals, milk, cheese, and eggs;
Gas - Gasoline prices have doubled since 2009
Electricity and natural gas -Since 1999 natural gas prices in North America have tripled. Here in Wichita, KS, residential bills will jump by $3 a month as part of a settlement reached in Westar's request for a rate hike.
Healthcare - The Affordable Healthcare Act, is leading to doubled premiums with some increases as high as 90%, according to some news, and many companies decreased benefits, switched workers to part-time, or laid employees off.

Everyone is adjusting to increased expenditures with flat to no wage growth.
Despite the economic turmoil, you can maintain your profits and business investment by being a smart shopper:

1. Study Like Businesses - Identify products and services your competitors / mentors use as a starting point for the best values.
2. Compare Prices - Research several product or service options or get at least three bids. The best isn't always the cheapest. The price variances and money saving potential will amaze you. Make sure you compare apples to apples.
3. Get Written Estimates - Get written bids and read the fine print. Ask questions. I selected a vendor recommended by a trusted source. without comparing prices or gettting a written bid (spank! spank!). The service costed over 200% plus the verbal quote. To make it worse, the work wasn't done right until the third trip.
4. Calculate (TCO) Total Cost of Ownership - Consider the supply and maintenance fees as well at the outright price of that multifunctioning printer/copier/fax. I overlooked the Internet wiring cost necessary for our new office digital phone system, with tunnel vision focusing on the monthly savings over our current system.
5. Consider Bartering - Trading coaching with a colleague fit perfectly when cash was tight. Trade products you sell (for instance, make-up) with a teenager to babysit, grocery shop or finish home projects.
6. Value Your Time - Dumping housecleaners and adding four to six hours to your already busy weekly schedule (or suffering through with a filthy home) might save money on paper. But if you rob your revenue building time, you're not ahead.
7. Invest Time and Money to Grow - Successful entrepreneurs must master the next business skill. Slicing costs by whacking your business education budget may shave or eliminate your business results. Instead, strategize about your purchases and use free resources, when appropriate. Constantly learn while smartly investing.

Don't let tight economy nibble at your bank account. Fight back by buying smart.

The Catholic Mompreneur's Biz and Life Tip: Make a monthly date to review your home and work expenses, and strategize how to spend and work smart.

Author's Bio: 

Christina Weber helps Catholic mompreneurs fully engage the power of their calling, earn more in less time, and get back to enjoying their families. To jumpstart your biz and life success, with her complimentary special report, "The Catholic Mompreneur's Guide to 12 Things You Can Do Today To Earn More in Less Time," by clicking here: