Savings make it easier to deal with financial emergencies. Ideally, everyone should have a substantial amount stashed away for rainy days. This is easier said than done when you don’t have much coming in, but it isn’t impossible. Be mindful of the little things and you will be amazed by just how much they can add up to over time. To get you started, here are 21 ways to save money on a tight budget:
1. Automatically Save Your Spare Change
As kids, we already knew the power of spare change. We didn’t throw away coins. We collected all that we could in a piggy bank until it was full. What seems to be insignificant can grow into a sizeable amount. It’s a habit that can serve us well even in adulthood. New technologies can make things more fun and convenient. With every swipe of a card, banking apps like Qapital can round up the amount and automatically funnel the change to a savings account. Set goals and track progress for extra motivation.
2. Meal Plan
Eating out can quickly drain your wallet. Cook your own food as much as possible and save hundreds of dollars a month. You are also likely to eat healthier since you can control every ingredient that goes onto your plate. Create a meal plan every week and buy everything you need in one go. It is a great time-saver. Knowing what you need in advance also means that you can buy in bulk and avoid unnecessary purchases.
To cut down on my food spending, I signed up for the $5 Meal Plan so I can eat more at home. It’s only $5 a month and you get meal plans with the exact shopping list you need to create the meals. Each meal cost about $2 per person. When you sign up through my link, you’ll receive a 14-day free trial.
3. Get refunds on items that drops in price
It can be quite annoying when you buy something today only to see its price drop tomorrow. There really is no reason why you should be paying more for the same product. Fortunately, many of the biggest stores will let you get refunds if you ask them. It can be hard to monitor everything so you might want to use an app like Paribus. It has the ability to track receipts, store policies, and price fluctuations.
4. Plant and cultivate a garden
Why buy ingredients from a store when you can grow them in your own garden? It’s easier than it seems and there are lots of resources that can help you begin. Start small and use seedlings for a higher chance of success. Once you gain confidence and experience, add more plants to your garden and experiment with different methods of growing them. Nothing beats the taste of fresh produce, especially those grown without harmful chemicals.
5. Make Some Easy Money
Augment your income by getting work done during your spare time. Seek out easy part-time jobs around your area. You could also try getting freelance work online and make use of your talents. You could design graphics, start a blog (Learn how with my step-by-step tutorial!), develop apps, and many more. You could even answer surveys and get paid for your efforts. Dedicate a few hours each week to these pursuits and reap the rewards.
6. Sell Unused Items
Clean up your room and round up all of the things that you are not using. You will probably free up a good amount of space. Instead of throwing these away, offer them to those who might be interested. Some might be given away to charities. Others might be good enough to be sold in a garage sale or on the Internet. Just make sure that you take flattering pictures and write enticing descriptions.
7. Automatically Negotiate Bills
The bills that you pay every month don’t have to be as high as they are. Call up the companies and see if you can negotiate a better deal. Point out that you have been a loyal customer, that you’ve always paid on time, and that competitors are offering better deals. Perhaps they will try to match. If not, then go ahead and make the switch. You can also automate the process by using services like AskTrim.com. It can analyze subscriptions, find better deals, and initiate negotiations.
8. Try a Discount Cell Phone Provider
In the past, you had no choice but to rely on the services of a few telecom companies. They were often unreliable and costly. That is no longer the case today as more players have entered the market. Services have improved and rates have gone down. If you feel like you are spending way too much, then switch over to a discount cellphone provider like Republic Wireless. Give them a try and you might never look back.
9. Have “No Spend” Days
Challenge yourself to spend nothing at least once a week. Not only will this instantly save you money, it will also enhance your creativity and make you less reliant on retail therapy. Instead of going to the mall for shopping and movies, spend the day at a nearby park and read a book or stay in and play board games with the family. You can also invite friends over to your house for company.
10. Brown Bag It to Work
Eating out during lunch can drain your wallet. Think of all the money you spend in a month for office food. That’s how much you can save by just packing a meal before you leave for work. We are talking about hundreds of dollars per month and thousands each year. Imagine what you can do with that money. You can probably grow your savings account while having enough left for personal rewards.
11. Shop Items on Sale
Try not to buy things on impulse no matter how enticing they might be. Think it over. Compare various products from different brands to find the best deal. As much as possible, wait for them to go on sale before making the purchase. Put them on your wish list and take the plunge once the price drops. This strategy is particularly helpful for big-ticket items like household appliances and electronics.
Make every dollar you spend count by signing up to sites like Ebates to earn cash back when you shop your favorite stores online. It’s free and when you sign up through my link, you’ll receive $10 free cash back as a bonus.
12. Go Meatless Once a Week
Meat can taste great but it can be much more expensive than plant-based food, depending on your location. Consider going meatless at least once a week to save a bit of money. You might even discover alternative dishes that you’ll really like and have them regularly. Fruits and vegetables are also healthier options so it is truly a worthwhile change.
13. Ditch Your Cable Company
Home entertainment used to be synonymous with cable. There were few other options if you wanted to watch shows in your house. Now they are no longer a necessity because of the Internet and mobile phones. There is an overwhelming amount of free content for those who want to kill time. Many spend hours just watching various clips and playing different games.
14. Netflix and Chill
Of course, licensed content isn’t available for free. You will have to subscribe to Netflix and the like to see new shows. The good news is that they typically charge monthly rates that are much lower than most cable companies. They also make the content available 24/7 so you can binge watch whenever you like. Why spend a fortune in the cinemas when you can be more comfortable viewing blockbusters in your own home?
15. Cut Back on Expensive Hobbies
Sometimes work can be so stressful that we try to find joy elsewhere. There is nothing wrong with hobbies as long as we keep related expenses in check. If it becomes too expensive, then it might not be sustainable. It might also be preventing you from saving a good amount each month. Find a way to keep it going without having to drain your resources. As a last resort, switch to a more economical pursuit.
16. Travel Off-Peak
Saving money doesn’t mean completely abandoning all of your travel plans. It is possible to do both as long as you plan wisely. For example, consider moving your travel dates to off-peak months when airfare and room rates are at their lowest. Check out the fares at budget airlines and the rates at room-sharing apps like Airbnb for even greater savings. Pack light so you don’t have to pay for extra luggage.
17. Use Your Credit Card Rewards
Countless credit card holders accumulate points and don’t even redeem them. Do not let all of those perks go to waste. Read up on your card company’s reward scheme and make it work in your favor. For example, there are travel cards that give away free miles for every purchase. Use these to travel around instead of dipping into your savings.
18. Go Out for Lunch Instead of Dinner
If you must dine outside, then go for lunch instead of dinner. A lot of restaurants offer different sets of meals for these time periods. Dinner can be twice as expensive as lunch, so it simply makes sense to go earlier. You will be able to give yourself a treat without feeling guilty about the cost. You can even take your loved ones with you.
19. Utilize Restaurant Coupons
As part of their promotional campaigns, some restaurants will offer coupons that contain massive discounts. New establishments use these to spread awareness about their brand. Old ones can also depend on coupons to keep patrons coming in during lean months. Some people may scoff at coupons but the savings they bring are massive. If you can get over the stigma, then you will be able to treat your friends and family regularly without spending a fortune.
20. Walk or Bike Instead of Driving
If you are going to places around your neighborhood, then there is no reason to drive your car. Just take a walk and you should reach your destination within minutes. You don’t even have to concern yourself with parking space or fees. If you are in a hurry, then you can bike there instead to cut the travel time in half. You still won’t have to use up any fuel. You will even burn calories, control your weight, and stay fit.
21. Budget for It
Create a regular budget for all of your monthly expenses: rent, insurance, utilities, fuel, food, clothing, and so on. This should give you an idea of how much each item is weighing you down. It will also give you greater control over your spending habits. Don’t buy anything that is not included in the list. Perhaps you can find opportunities to cut down on costs. Know your priorities as well as your flexible items. Track your expenses to make sure that you are staying within the allotted amounts. Constantly re-evaluate and improve as new opportunities emerge.
Saving money can be a constant struggle but there are many ways to make it easier. You don’t have to be rich to get this done. Keep an open mind and be brave enough to try the strategies above. You might just surprise yourself with how much you can save each year with a few lifestyle tweaks.
Which money saving tip(s) would you like to try? Share your thoughts by commenting below!