Save money, save money! That’s all you hear when it comes to financial responsibility, right? But not everybody has a huge amount of income to where they can save half their salary and still live well.
In fact, recent statistics show that few Americans have enough savings to cover a $1,000 emergency. Ouch.
But have no fear!
If you don’t have much cash flow, believe it or not, there are still some cool things you can try to make sure you’re saving money while still living a life you love!
Here are 7 ways to save money, even when your budget is tight.
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7 Ways To Save Money On A Tight Budget
1- Track Your Spending To Save More Money
First and foremost, this may sound counterintuitive, because what we want to do is save more money, not spend it. But stick with me here.
What you need to manage your money effectively is clarity.
Before you know how much you can save, you’ve got to get a good handle on what you’re spending.
It doesn’t take a whole lot of effort to make this happen either.
You can choose one of two methods. But you must make tracking your spending a habit.
You can A) take it old school and bring a notepad and a pen around with you (or even jot down notes in your phone or on your laptop) for a month or so, to see where your money is actually going.
I personally enjoy the notepad and pen method, then transfer everything to an Excel Spreadsheet when I get home at night. Something about taking out a notepad and pen before I buy something makes me more cognizant of what I’m doing and if I really need to be doing it, if that makes sense.
But whatever floats your boat!
At the end of the month, you can easily break down all your spending into categories, and this will give you powerful insight on where all your money goes. Then, you can start cutting what’s unnecessary.
2- Create A Budget
Second, remember money requires clarity. Creating a simple budget and setting budgeting targets will help you clarify and reach your goals much more quickly.
I created a quick and easy monthly budget that you can print and fill out for FREE – just click here to download it!
What you do is, fill out the top portions with all your income sources, so you know exactly how much money you have coming in. Put that number off to the side.
Then, after you complete the tracking exercise from point #2 above, you fill out the “actual” column with figures from each category of spending. You then tally up the total you spent in all categories, and put that to the side.
Determine how much money you’ll have left if you continue your exact spending pattern by subtracting the single number from your “actual” columns from your “total income”.
How do you feel about that?
Where can you improve?
Point #3 will help you figure this out.
3- Save More Money By Making Painless Budget Cuts
So, once you have a crystal clear picture of how much money is coming in and where it’s all going, you can begin cutting things down.
For me? I realized I was spending WAY too much eating out one month when I tried this. Like, so insane I won’t share an exact dollar amount here. Let’s just say it could be rent in some areas.
But once I figured this out, it was a super easy fix that saved me tons of money, financial stress, (and extra inches off my waist line, too)! Score!
Other common things that people start to notice they spend on are items like extra beverages or snacks at convenience stores, bad habits like too much alcohol (which gets super expensive if you’re not careful), and subscriptions they don’t really use like gym memberships, TV services, and souped up phone bills.
The goal here is to observe where your money is leaking out, that you wouldn’t have noticed before, and make tiny changes to improve.
You don’t need to eliminate entire categories. You just need tiny improvements, which do add up to big savings over the long haul.
Once you’ve seen where you can cut things out, fill out a new budget sheet for the following month. Here’s where the fun begins!
Start with the “expected” column. Place your new figures that consider the cuts you want to make.
Keep tracking your spending daily.
Then at the end of that month, see how you did!
I’m sure it’ll be a lot better, and you’ll have effortlessly saved money, even when you thought you couldn’t.
4- Save Money With Free Activities
Okay, so now that you’re saving a little money just cutting out regular things that aren’t necessary, you may feel tempted to treat yourself to something fun (aka, spend money).
Don’t do it!
Another little neat trick is to find FREE things in your town to do for fun!
Check online for free events like museums, art festivals, concerts or other outdoor events that can get you out of the house and expose you and your family and friends to something new at no cost.
Or get active, spending time in nature doing any number of things like swimming or fishing if there’s water near you, hiking, or just taking walks, getting lost in your city.
If you really want to, you can find so many fun, free things to do.
The sky’s the limit!
5- Purchase Foods That Are In Season To Save Money
As I hinted before, eating out of the home used to be killer for me and my budget. It’s so much better to consciously choose your diet based on what’s in season (aka cheaper) at the store.
Thanks to Pinterest, there’s no shortage of clean, easy, healthy recipes that can be whipped together pretty quickly.
It can even be a fun, romantic date night to cook something new together based on ingredients you have at the ready.
6- Buying In Bulk Saves Money
Another neat trick to save more money is shopping at big stores like Costco or Sam’s Club and buying things you’ll always need in bulk.
Yes, it’s more expensive at the outset, but since you always, always need these things (think toilet paper and bulk lean meat, if you eat meat), it’s literally cheaper 100% of the time to stash up once and not have to keep going back to the store for small trips.
In fact, my husband and I purchased a deep freezer that we keep in our garage and make very few trips to the regular grocery store to buy our meats. We got a subscription to Imperfect Produce where we get organic vegetables delivered weekly, and never run out of interesting food combinations that help us bond as a family, stay healthy, and save more money!
7- DIY To Save Money
Finally, some things don’t really require other people to do for you, at cost.
Thanks to YouTube, many tiny home repairs or painting jobs can really be done at home with just a little time and effort.
Of course, for major repairs and things you might want to call a pro (you could wind up wasting time and money in the end).
But repairing clothing, painting walls, hanging mirrors and smaller things like that, you can save money and learn some new skills for the future if you’re willing to put just a little time in.
You’d be surprised at how capable you are if you’re willing to just try.
So, are you ready to get down to the nitty gritty and save more of your precious money, even if your budget is tighter than you’d like?
I believe anybody can find ways to improve their savings rate, it just takes a little time and effort.
Of course, in addition to saving more money, you can also find easy ways to earn more money too!
Check the related posts below for amazing ideas to earn more money online, so you’ll have even more cash to save!
Best of luck!