Are you on a tight budget and looking for ways to save money?
In today’s economy, many people are struggling to make ends meet. If you are facing difficulties in growing your wealth on a tight budget, maybe you have to change your financial strategy.
Saving money on a tight budget is not impossible – it just takes a bit of planning and discipline.
The vast majority of Americans live paycheck to paycheck.
In fact, according to a report by the Federal Reserve, nearly 80% of respondents said they would have difficulty coming up with $400 in the event of an emergency.
This is not surprising when you consider the fact that the average U.S. household has $15,863 in credit card debt.
With so much debt and so little savings, one could hardly save money on a tight budget. Yet there are ways that could help you achieve something on the financial perspective.
People usually go for a tight budget when they have hardly any choice. Mostly when you have almost no savings and you have a low income, you switch to a tight budget.
Back in 2015, when my husband and I had very little savings and even though we had two jobs still, it was quite exhausting to meet the ends.
Back then, we followed some strategies that helped us figuring out our ways and gradually we better our situation in less than a year.
Today, after seven years, we are financially stable, have been saving up, raising a beautiful young soul and bought a house recently.
Here are some practical tips that helped me in my tough times, and I am sure they will help you too.
How to save money on a tight budget
Automate your savings
Automating your savings is one of the best ways to ensure that you always have money set aside for your future. When you are automating your savings, your money gets automatically transferred into your savings account.
It is a system generated process. It eases your duty of saving a portion of your money each month.
Thus, when you have a tight budget, a lot of things can run around into your mind and you may forget about saving up. Automating will help you saving your money. You can even set up an automatic payment from your credit card to your savings account.
Cut down your grocery cost
Grocery costs can be a significant expense for families, especially as food prices continue to rise.
If you keep a track of your monthly grocery expenses, you will probably have a chance to save money even if you are on a tight budget.
For example, you have a tight budget this month and you are planning to save money from your salary. How would you do that?
Certainly you will have to think of a strategy where you can save the maximum. Grocery shopping is one way to do that. You can straight do all your shopping at sale and discounts.
Comparing prices of products at different stores and shop where you find the prices are less and getting discounts too.
You will be surprised to know that you can save the maximum in grocery shopping. There are so many other ways to reduce your cost in grocery shopping monthly.
Reduce your utility bill
After grocery cost, you can also save the maximum in utility bills. By adhering to some practical tips, you can save the maximum in utility bills too.
When you have a little less monthly budget, you wouldn’t want to pay excess in your utility bills. Every penny counts when you are on a tight budget.
Keep a track of your spendings and bill amount. By reducing your utility bills, you can free up more money to put towards other expenses.
There are a ton of ways to save money on utility bills and when you save money on it, automatically you can manage your finances well under a tight budget.
By tweaking a few things like making your home more energy-efficient, using energy-efficient appliances, and reducing water usage will help reducing the utility bills.
Lower your car insurance
Recently I have written a blog post on how to save money on car insurance. As you have limited monetary resources and you are maintaining a tight monthly budget, you can not spend half your salary on a car insurance.
You must look into ways to lower your insurance premium. Take time to research and look for the best deals.
Different insurance companies offer a different rate, tally them all, and purchase the one where you will get the maximum discounts and coverage offer.
If you have an excellent driving record and a history of no accidents or ticketing, you can get a better rate.
Cancel subscription plan of Netflix or any other OTT
If you are on a tight budget, you may be considering cancelling your subscription to Netflix or another streaming service. However, you can keep the one which cost you the least. I think a bit of entertainment is also needed to distract your mind.
Yet if you are in a desperate situation by cancelling your subscription, you’re freeing up your money. You can either save them or spend where it is needed to end your meets.
Declutter your home
If you feel there are things you use no longer and are in a great condition. You could sell them up and earn some quick cash.
Consider declutter your home when you are in a tight budget and in need of money.
For example, you have an old bicycle which is kept ideal for months now but by selling the cycle you could earn some money and that money will help you buy a month of grocery.
It will be worth selling out the bicycle then.
Cancel all online shopping apps
If you want to save money on online shopping, the best way to do that is by cancelling all online shopping apps. Precisely, when you have no budget left for shopping online, why to keep the apps and trigger you to buy?
Instead, set a goal and determined to not install the apps. You probably know how tempting online shopping can be. With all the constant discounts, it let you lure into buying.
Under a tight budget, when you have spending restrictions, you can’t spend your money on unnecessary things. Under this circumstance, consider online shopping as a needless thing that could be avoided.
Cook one pot meal
Do you know cooking a one pot meal is a great way to save money if you are on a tight budget? Not only it saves money, also you could save time if you have a busy schedule.
With only one pot to clean and fewer ingredients to buy, one-pot meals are a thrifty way to get a delicious and nutritious meal on the table.
Recipes like stew, one-pot mix vegetable rice, and so on are a great option, when you don’t have a lot of time and you want something delicious meal.
Wondering what to make?
Well, you will find plenty of one-pot recipes in Google and YouTube that will make your life easier.
Use only cash
When you use a credit card too much, it’s an alarming sign that you might soon land in financial trouble.
You have a tight budget, you must avoid using credit card instead carry cash everywhere.
I do not feel comfortable using a credit card at all. I feel I am losing all my money as I can’t recall where I spend and how much. Even though I get the notifications of all the transactions, still I feel my money is not secure.
Whereas, when I use cash, it gives me the accuracy of how much I have spent today, how much is left and so easy to keep tracking my money daily.
For example, if you have 20 USD in your wallet, you know what you can buy. But when you have a credit card, you care less about your spending and gradually the debt start to mount up when you have a little less money.
Stay within your budget
It can be difficult to stick to your budget when you have a tight budget. You can’t spend more. There are spending restrictions. You always have to be on your spending edge.
What if this month you cross the budget? How will you manage to end your meets? You hardly can buy anything you wish.
When every other financial expert will say to stick to your budget, but I know how hard it can be when you have a very strict monthly budget.
I would suggest do not be too hard on following your budget blindly, it will frustrate you.
Set a reasonable budget where you can have the freedom to figure out how to save, spend and grow your money by staying within the budget.
Make room for unexpected expenses and make adjustments accordingly.
Start living a minimalist life
Living a minimalist life has become a trend today. People read blogs, watch videos and even end up taking courses on how to live a minimalist life and save money.
You don’t need any of that, trust me.
Growing up in a small town to a middle-class parent has taught me living a minimalist life. It’s the lifestyle where you happily live a life with whatever you need.
Actually, you don’t even need a budget when you are already living a minimalist life.
As you don’t overspend, your house is filled with a fewer necessary things, you buy only what you need; you have not ventured into online shopping yet; you have your own small home-grown garden; you don’t have the luxury to buy luxury goods; you are saving and growing your wealth.
Once in your life, you should try living a minimalist life. You will find inner peace. I have lived my entire life as a minimalist.
I know how to manage my finances if I have a low income.
Thanks to my parents for giving me practical life-lessons on managing and saving personal finance.
Start a side hustle
A side hustle is a great way to make some extra money to help you pay down debt, save for a rainy day, or simply free up some cash each month.
It could be anything pet sitting, freelancing as a yoga instructor, become a driver at uber, blogging, vlogging, web designing. There are so many that you can do as a side hustle.
The extra cash you will earn, you could either save them or use them in fulfilling other requirements.
A side hustle won’t ever make you rich overnight, but if you are willing to put your effort, they can be an added income resource and help you balance your finances.
I am sure you had your good days too, when you didn’t have to think so much about the budget. But if you are in a situation where you have to find ways to meet your ends, you can earn and save while living in a house as well.
By rent out your spare room or parking space. Either way, you can earn an extra income monthly doing nothing.
Thus, while you have a tight budget, the rent that you are getting every month could become your saving amount for an emergency fund.
Set a goal for monthly savings
Saving money can be a challenge, especially if you are on a tight budget. However, setting a goal for your monthly savings can help you stay on track and reach your financial goals.
You could automate your savings.
Plan several small monthly savings goals and ensure you save at least 10% of your salary every month. When you have a purpose, it will be easier to work on your finances even if you are struggling to manage.
For example, you have set a goal to save monthly for years to buy your son a musical instrument on his birthday. As this goal is personal, it will boost you to work on your savings even if your monthly budget is low.
Spend no money on outside food
When you have a tight budget, you certainly can not afford to eat out much. Cook your meal at home and pack your office lunch box from home.
Instead of spending $2 every day on a sandwich, you could make your own and save the money.
Figure out how much you could save monthly.
Sell your luxury electronic devices
As the economy continues to fluctuate, many people are tightening their spending budgets. If you’re looking for ways to save money, one option is to sell your luxury electronic devices.
Luxury electronic devices can include anything from high-end smartphones to top-of-the-line laptops. Anything you own that is expensive and can fetch you a good price at selling them could help you.
You can marketplace like eBay, Facebook to sell your items. You can also try at BestBuy. They often purchase used laptop and smartphones if they are in a good condition and not outdated.
Sell your car & commute via public transport
I have a single car in my family. Once we thought of purchasing another, while doing the calculations, we figured out how much extra cost it will add to our monthly budget. Soon, we dumped that idea of adding another car to our family.
When you have budget restrictions, either you stick to one car or better you sell your car, save the money and commute through public transport.
Usually, all financial experts suggest having no car and take public transport where you can save a considerable amount of money.
But, when you have a kid, practically, having a car helps as safety and security becomes your priority.
Thus, what I prefer is to look for a not too old ‘used car’.
It will cost you less but also you must consider several things before buying a used car.
However, you can save a lot on car insurance if you choose to commute on public transport only.
Downsizing your home is an option to reduce your monthly expenses. But also, it can be a difficult decision to make. It takes a lot to adjust to a smaller space when you have been living on a larger space for a long time.
But if you’re serious about saving money, downsizing is definitely worth considering.
Not only house, you will need to downsize your belongings as well. You can declutter and sell off your things that you may not need at your new place.
Use the money to move and setting up your new space.
Well, overall if you see, downsizing helps save a lot monthly. Thus, even if you have a tight budget or a low income, you can manage properly without much issue.
Take no luxury vacations
Certainly, you can not afford to plan any luxury vacations because there you have will to exceed your budget.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t travel or have fun. Plan to places that are budget-friendly. Plan a trip to your nearby locations, places you haven’t explored yet.
Know how to save money on accommodations and travel cost.
Take advantage of discounts everywhere
One of the best ways to save money on a tight budget is to take advantage of discounts wherever you can find them.
There are discounts everywhere on entertainment, travel, groceries and more. To be able to save enough, you must know how to avail the maximum discounts.
For example, you can buy your groceries online and offline when there is a festive sale going on. You can buy things in bulk that you need the most and save the maximum.
Use cashback coupon and promotion codes on all your purchases, which can add up to significant savings over-time.
Running a family under tight budget may seem a little easier.
Quit smoking & alcohol
Even though you know how harmful these two habits are to your health, still people spend money on them.
Instead, you can try hard to quit these habits and save the money to meet your other needs. Honestly, both alcohol and cigarettes are costly and when you have a restricted monthly budget, you are wasting your money on them.
If you are into them, it’s time to quit. It will be hard, but not impossible. Not only will you save yourself, but your family too.
Keep no additional debt
Keeping no additional debt will help you save money in two ways. First, it will help you avoid interest charges. credit card companies and lenders often charge high interest rates.
Second, it will help you avoid late fees.
If you are unable to make your payments on time, you may be charged late fees, which can also add up to your account.
Even if you have taken a loan for something, try to pay the rest as soon as possible.
Do not even think of adding up another loan amount.
Keep an emergency fund ready
Emergency fund is a fund that everyone should have. Keep a considerable amount of amount separate aside that you will only use if any emergency arises.
This fund will be your umbrella during a crisis.
How to save money for an emergency fund?
You do not have to build a fund like this overnight. Take time to set a goal and create one over the years.
As it is your emergency fund, do not tempt to use them until it is not required.
Last Words –
Budget is crucial, so are financial planning and goals. Situation may arise when you have to take a call and cut down expenses, minimize your cost of living, maintain a tight budget to save money and to rescue your family from getting bankrupt.
What kind of expenses are easiest to cut?
It can be difficult to figure out what kind of expenses to cut when you’re trying to save money. However, there are some expenses that are easier to cut than others.
One type of expense is discretionary spending, which is money that is spent on items that are not essential. Examples of discretionary spending include eating out, entertainment, and non-essential travel.
One area where you can usually save quite a bit of money is on food. You can cook at home more often, eat out less, and pack your own lunches.
Shopping can be a big drain on your finances, especially if you tend to buy things you don’t need. Try to only shop when you need something and resist the urge to impulse buy.
Another area where you can save money is on transportation. If you can carpool, take public transportation, or ride a bike instead of driving, you can save a lot of money on gas and vehicle maintenance costs.
You can also save money on entertainment and recreation. There are plenty of free or inexpensive ways to have fun. You can cut unnecessary subscriptions and memberships. This could include things like magazine subscriptions, gym memberships, and cable TV packages.
By being mindful of your spending and finding areas where you can cut back, you can save a significant amount of money each month.
These are basically the areas of monthly expenses where I feel you can save money.