When I talk to people trying to squeeze a little more money out of their already tight budgets, they usually ignore a few things. It’s like when you look at something for a long time, it stops making sense. Having a fresh set of eyes and new ideas on ways to save money may be just what you need.
While this is good news, it may mean making some sacrifices that initially don’t excite you. My wife and I were teachers…you heard what little teachers they are…and we had to get creative with how we saved money to pay off the student loan.
This led me to live with my wife’s parents and start this blog, but we also cut as much money as possible from our budget to live an amazing life in the future.
He would make that sacrifice any day.
When you’re on a tight budget and looking for more ways to save money and think about how impossible or restrictive it might be, think about why you should. The goal isn’t to be forever, but what you’ve learned are ways to save money that will help you for years to come, even as you reduce your debt and see your income grow.
Here are 7 easy ways to save money on a tight budget:
Easy ways to save money on a tight budget
1. Rethink what is necessary
You’ve all heard the wants versus needs debate, and we all know that there are only a few essential elements that humans need to survive. The fact is that we live in a time when our needs go beyond the simplest definition of food, water and shelter.
Still, there are many “needs” that are not as necessary as we are led to believe.
I’m not going to tell you that one of the ways to save money on a tight budget is to change the forest. I couldn’t do that, so I’m not going to tell you what you should be.
What I am going to tell you is to analyze what you spend money on each month and think about what is needed. Or are there other ways to get that service or product at a lower cost?
Here are some necessities to reconsider if you’re looking for ways to save money:
- Instead of cable, try an online streaming service.
- Do you have a large data package on your phone? Choose a smaller data package and use free Wi-Fi when you have access, like at work or home.
- Instead of buying new clothes or household items, try a thrift store.
- Get down to a car.
- Remember that your house does not have to be so hot in winter or so cool in summer.
2. Negotiate your current bills
This is one of the ways to save money that will make you feel like a boss. There is nothing more satisfying and rewarding than asking for a lower rate for something you are already paying for.
I think we sometimes forget that we can usually pay less for services we’re already paying for, but the reality is that you can easily save money by calling to negotiate a lower rate on your checking accounts.
Every few months, I call our Internet provider to see if there are any new promotions we can take advantage of, and usually there are.
The point is that these promotions only last for a few months. If this is one of the ways to save money, try to keep track of when the promotion ends so you don’t end up paying full price.
Another is car insurance. It is an essential expense if you have a car, but that does not mean that you have to pay as much as you currently pay. Calling your insurance provider and asking about discounts is an easy way to save money, sure.
Most of these industries are very competitive and want to keep you as a customer. When you call to negotiate lower rates, he may even try to threaten to leave you with a different company. Be willing to hear them say “no, you’re paying the lowest rate possible.” Then you will have to be prepared with an answer.
3. Change the way you go out to eat
Eating out is very expensive, so you should reconsider if you’re looking for ways to save.
In fact, there are some small changes you can make to your restaurant habits, so you can eat out from time to time, saving money at the same time.
One of the biggest costs when it comes to dining out is drinking. This is especially true for alcoholic drinks: you can buy a cheap but decent bottle of wine for the price of a glass in some restaurants, as well as having the bottle full! Even soft drinks can cost a fortune when you eat out.
Restaurant portions are also often very large, so things like ordering sandwiches and desserts can be overkill for your diet and budget.
Or, instead of going out to dinner, go out for lunch. There is a restaurant that we offer often that offers the exact same meals for lunch, but is $8 less. Those kinds of things make me a little mad, but whatever it is… I’ll stop for lunch and keep that difference.
I’ll go ahead and announce it too: dining out is a luxury. I know it seems easier sometimes, but you don’t have to spend $50 on a meal. There are several days of groceries for many people.
4. Get rid of your car payment
I talk about it a lot at M$M because getting rid of your car payment is not only one of the easiest ways to save a few hundred dollars a month, but it’s also one of the smartest things you can do.
Thinking that we need a new car has become a standard expectation for adults, but it’s ridiculous.
New cars are incredibly expensive. But when you consider that they start to lose value the minute you kick them out, a new car payment becomes one of the stupidest things you can get if you’re looking for ways to save.
5. Take a free challenge
One of the hardest things about saving money on a tight budget is that it’s actually not that much fun. I’m not going to sugarcoat this. As I said at the beginning, finding ways to save money is making sacrifices.
To get the most out of it, why not turn your savings trip into a game?
What I mean by that is challenge yourself to eliminate all extra spending you do during a specific period of time. It can be like a week or a month without spending.
This is not an addition of any kind for that time period.
If that sounds too difficult, challenge yourself to cut only the things that really eat up your budget. If you like to drink coffee, challenge yourself to go a month without drinking it.
Usually the things we can’t live with are just the things we make habits of. Get out of the habit and you will save money.
6. Track your money
This should no longer surprise me, but every time I hear someone talk about how impossible their financial goals are and then mention in the same sentence that they have no idea about their expenses, I literally have to take a step back.
If your finances seem so tight that you’re considering something as extreme as get rid of the phone for a year to earn some money, you better know what’s going on with your money.
Tracking your expenses and budget is essential for any family or individual. You can use whatever you want to help, but you just have to do it.
Finding ways to save money starts with knowing what’s coming in and what’s going out. It will also tell you where to start saving.
Currently, there are numerous cheap and free apps on the market, and they spend a lot of work on the budget.
My favorite is personal capital. One, it’s free. But it provides a clear picture of your financial picture. There are basic things like budgeting and transaction mining for you, but they also have investment tracking, a retirement planner, and a capital tool.
7. Start a side hustle
If you’ve cut out all the extras but are still looking for ways to save, it may be time to start earning more. Sometimes there are many ways to save money before you need to do more.
I wrote a bunch of M$M articles about the scam because that’s how I went from being a high school band teacher with $40,000 in student loan debt to the guy on the internet talking about ways to save money.