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60 PRACTICAL WAYS TO SAVE MONEY ON A TIGHT BUDGET

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Finding ways to save money is at the core of building wealth.

Through saving, you can invest money, achieve various goals, and ultimately attain long-term financial security and freedom.

TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR PERSONAL FINANCES

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Ever feel like money just seems to slip through your fingers month after month? Our Monthly Budget Tracker will guide you to start making the most of every dollar. It’s a game changer—get it free for a limited time!

However, saving can be challenging to do. There is always a reason not to save enough or worse, not to save at all.

Here are some money-saving tips that can get the ball rolling for you.

Pick and choose the ones that make the most sense for you and start growing your bank account asap.

Practical ways to save money on a tight budget

 

Ways to Save Money – General Tips

1. Create and stick to a budget. A budget gives you a clear picture of your finances, reveals money-saving opportunities, and keeps you on track with your financial goals. Be sure to download our free budgeting worksheet and learn more about the best budgeting Apps. 

2. Build an emergency fund. An emergency fund helps you take care of any unexpected expenses and keeps you from getting into debt. Learn more about why you need an emergency fund and how to build one here.

3. Pay off debts. In addition to many benefits such as reducing stress, paying down debt helps you avoid hefty interest payments. Savings from debt pay down can be used to start investing.

4. Automate savings and investments. Automating savings ensures that you do not have a chance to talk yourself out of it. It also allows for guilt-free spending. Once you have saved a portion of your income, you can spend the rest however you choose, after paying your bills, of course.

5. Take care of your possessions. Failing to maintain your belongings properly will cost you more in repairs or in replacing things more often. This thought could extend to your health, relationship, work, etc. It will save you lots of time and money to be more proactive.

6. Reassess your subscriptions. Have you ever signed up for a free trial only to end up with a hardly used recurring subscription? Go through your credit card statement to spot those sneaky payments chipping away at your finances.  

7. Increase your income. There is a point at which cutting down on expenses further may undermine the quality of your life. In such cases, the best way to save more maybe by making more money.

8. Buy less, buy quality. Cheap is more expensive in the long run if you have to keep replacing things. For items that vary significantly in quality, aim to get the best quality. On the other hand, aim for the smaller price tag for comparative quality items.

9. Use cashback Apps. Get paid to shop. Shopping cannot get any better than that. There are many websites and apps designed to earn users cash back on purchases. Earn money on items that you would typically buy with Apps such as Rakuten and ibotta.

10. Get a library card. Besides the obvious benefit of increasing your knowledge and broadening your mind, library use has many financial advantages. You can save money on buying books, magazine and newspaper subscriptions, movies, e-books, audiobooks, some museum passes, etc.

11. Negotiate. Everyone loves to get a good deal, but many people shy away from asking for a discount. Often, asking is all it takes. Do your homework on what the competitors offer, and always be sure to ask for a better price.

12. Wait to upgrade. We live in a consumer culture, and the temptation to spend is continuously around us. Comparison through social media does not aid the situation. However, upgrading (phones, tablets, cars, etc.) as soon as there is a new release hurts your bank account.

New releases come with some new cool features. Often though, the price of new releases does not justify discarding older but otherwise fully functioning devices. Get the full value of your devices (and money) by upgrading only when necessary

 

Food and Groceries Money Saving Tips

13. Buy generic and store brands. Most people assume that generic and store brands are of lower quality than brand name products. Generally, the only difference is the lack of advertising and pared-down packaging and labeling for the generic items.

14. Consider low cost over premium stores. The taste and quality of food from a low-cost store are generally the same as those of premium stores. The only difference may be the aesthetics and the price tags.

15. Shop ethnic. Like the low cost stores, ethnic food markets tend to have less visually appealing produce but otherwise good quality. If you don’t mind buying produce with some minor imperfections, shopping in ethnic markets is great for your bank account.

16. Shop online. Many people often walk out of stores with way more than they initially intended to buy. It gets worse if you happen to go grocery shopping on an empty stomach. To resist temptation and avoid hunger buys, consider ordering your groceries online.

17. Eat before instore shopping. Should buying groceries online be unavailable to you, be sure to eat before embarking on a food shopping mission. With an empty stomach, everything looks delicious, and you can end up buying way more than you need. Seriously.

18. Eat at home more often. When trying to get out of debt and achieve financial independence, avoid eating out, or buying take out. It is cheaper to cook and eat at home.

19. Check out coupons. Couponing may sound like an outdated habit, but it’s still alive and well, and can save you lots of money. It also doesn’t have to take too much of your time anymore. Check out Coupon Apps such as ibotta and Groupon.

20. Use a shopping list. Shopping lists save you money by giving you focus on the items that are needed. Further, knowing what you want before arriving at the store saves time.

21. Comparison shop. Have you ever bought something only to find it at a lower price somewhere else shortly after your purchase? You can save yourself money (and regret) by comparing prices before shopping. Grocery shopping Apps such as Flipp make comparison shopping a breeze.

22. Pack lunches for school and work. The cost of buying lunches can quickly add up to some significant amounts. But besides being cheaper, packing your lunch ensures that you know what goes into your meals and, therefore, make better dietary choices.

23. Cook in bulk. Batch cooking saves you time and money by ensuring that you have food to last a few days, so you cook less often and avoid eating out.

24. Invest in a deep freezer. Once you adopt cooking in bulk, a deep freezer will be handy to preserve the prepared meals. You can also freeze food items purchased during a sale or an excess of fresh produce from your garden.

25. Eat less meat. In addition to improving your health, eating more fruits and vegetables is cheaper. Studies have shown that you can save about $750 per year by adopting a diet of mainly vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.

26. Drink more water (and less soda, juices, etc.). There are many health benefits of drinking water. It’s also a cheap way to keep yourself hydrated.

27. Stock up when there is a sale. Stock up toiletries, cleaning supplies, and staple food items whenever they go on sale. Always do a quick inventory check before buying anything to not end up with an excessive amount.

28. Avoid single-item shopping trips. Despite the best intentions, one-item trips rapidly evolve into a full-on shopping haul for many people. Avoid going into stores for one thing.

 

Ways to Save Money on Housing 

29. Downsize. If your house is too big for your needs or if you’re looking to achieve a particular financial goal, consider downsizing. A smaller home will have fewer maintenance costs, and it might even mean living mortgage-free. The savings could go toward goals such as paying your children’s university education, funding your retirement investments, buying a home abroad, etc.

30. House hack. You can rent out portions of your home to generate extra income that can offset housing expenses, pay down debt, build emergency funds and investment portfolios, etc.

31. Consider geographic arbitrage. Geographic arbitrage means making money in a more robust economy and spending it in a weaker economy. An example of geographic arbitrage could be, earning money in US dollars while living in Portugal. It could also be working in a bigger city and residing in a smaller town or municipality around the city.

32. Cancel mortgage life insurance and get life insurance. Mortgage life insurance covers the balance of your mortgage and ends once your home is paid off. Life insurance on the other hand is not tied to your mortgage. Further, the mortgage lender is the beneficiary of a mortgage life insurance, while you get to choose the beneficiary of a life insurance policy.

33. Shop for competitive mortgage rates. A seemingly small difference in mortgage rate could result in thousands of dollars more in interest costs over the life of a mortgage. Like buying any product, carefully consider the costs associated with a mortgage, and pick the most favourable one.

 

Transportation 

34. Take public transit, walk, bike or carpool. These alternative means of transportation are pocket friendly. Added benefits include reducing traffic congestion as well as reducing air pollution. Walking or biking keeps you active and healthy.

35. Consider becoming a one-car household. Relying on one car will require some planning ahead and coordinating of schedule. However, if reasonable for your family, the cost savings by owning one car can be significant.

36. Wash your own car. It’s cheaper to wash your car at home, although more time-consuming. It also reduces the carbon footprint, thus good for the environment, since professional car washes consume a lot of electricity.

37. Buy a fuel-efficient car. There are multiple benefits of driving a fuel-efficient vehicle, including using less fuel and paying less for gas. Further, these cars produce fewer air pollutants and generally increase energy sustainability at a macro scale.

38. Drive a used car. Used cars are significantly cheaper than new vehicles. Additionally, the bulk of the depreciation of a vehicle occurs within the first couple of years. As such, a used car provides you the best value for your money.

39. Avoid toll roads. Toll roads are convenient, faster and expensive. The cost of taking a toll road for a daily commute can add up quickly. Plan accordingly before commutes and avoid toll routes.

40. Keep up with oil changes and service schedules. Regular maintenance is vital to a car’s performance and longevity. To get the most out of your vehicle, handle it with care.

41. Pay for car insurance annually. Most people pay their insurance monthly. However, embedded in monthly premiums is interest plus administrative cost for processing each payment. If you have the cash, pay up your insurance upfront for some savings.

 

Utilities (Electricity, Cable, etc.) 

42. Install a programmable thermostat. A programmable thermostat helps you to customize heating and cooling your house to suit your daily routine. This automation saves you money by conserving energy while you are way and provides the convenience of coming home to a comfortable temperature. It’s a win-win scenario.

43. Cut out cable. There are so many affordable streaming services available in the market today. For instance, Netflix – $16/month, Apple TV+ – $5/month, Hulu – $12/month, Disney+ – $13/month, etc. There is no excuse, especially if you hardly watch all the premium channels included in your cable package. Just cut out cable.

44. Turn off the lights. You will reduce wasted electricity and save money by turning off the unused lights in your home.

45. Replace CFL and Incandescent light bulbs with LED ones. LED light bulbs cost more. However, the last longer and thus cheaper in the long run. They also use less wattage and are therefore more energy-efficient, which translates to a lower electricity bill.

46. Invest in energy-efficient appliances. Energy-efficient appliances consume less energy, significantly reduce your electric bills, and are generally great for the environment. It’s a win all around.

47. Buy smart power strips and rechargeable batteries. Smart power strips detect when devices are not in use, cuts off power, thus saving energy and decreasing your electricity bills. Rechargeable batteries save you money by reducing replacements and overall waste.

48. Do laundry in the evening. In some jurisdictions, electricity pricing varies depending on the demand. As demand tends to be lower in the evenings, it is cheaper to do your laundry later in the day. Visit your energy provider’s website to find out the exact rates for different times.

49. Use cold water to wash clothes. It takes a lot of energy to warm up the water for your washer. Using cold water saves energy (and thus lowers your electricity bill), and it cleans clothes just as well as warm water.

 

Ways to Save Money on Clothing 

50. Invest in a capsule wardrobe. A capsule wardrobe is a collection of essential clothing items that do not go out of fashion, fit your lifestyle today, and can be mixed and matched to create many outfits. It ensure that you shop less frequently and more intentionally.

51. Sell extra clothing. Consider selling clothes that you have not worn in the last 6 to 12 months. In addition to making some extra money, paring down your closet will give you more space and help reduce stress and anxiety. You can sell on websites such as poshmark.com, eBay, Facebook marketplace, etc.

52. Stop shopping sales. While finding deals is satisfying, buying unnecessary items simply because they are on sale is wasteful. Only buy things that you need.

53. Buy at the end of the season. Looking for a new winter coat? Keep an eye out for it at the end of the season when retailers are looking to clear out their stock to make room for new season’s items.

 

Entertainment 

54. Entertain at home. There are many creative and inexpensive ways to entertain your family at home. Consider streaming movies, reading books, playing board games, gardening, painting, etc. The possibilities and cost savings are endless.

55. Check out discount sites. Discount sites such as Groupon can provide you opportunities for cheap entertainment such as bowling tickets, waterpark park tickets, etc.

56. Share streaming services. Streaming services allow for multiple users on the same account. Consider splitting the cost for various streaming services (such as Netflix, Disney+, etc.) with family and friends.  

57. Learn to say no. Have you ever felt pressured to go out, and worse, you end up spending more than your budget allows on food and drinks? While it’s healthy to socialize, learn when to say no to some social calls.

 

Health and Wellness 

58. Invest in workout equipment. Gym memberships can be expensive. Investing in home workout equipment saves you gym memberships fees. It also affords you the flexibility to exercise in the comfort of your home at a time that fits your schedule best.

59. Quit smoking. Quitting smoking is not an easy feat, but it is worthwhile. Smoking is an expensive habit with a tremendous number of health risks. There is a lot to be gained by discarding this habit.

60. Stay healthy. Healthcare can be costly in both time and money, let alone the emotional stress associated with ill health. It pays to do your part to stay healthy. Eat a well-balanced diet, exercise regularly, get enough sleep, and take care of your mental and spiritual health as well. Your family and bank account will thank you. 

If you enjoyed this article or have any questions, please leave them in the comment section below! I’d love to hear from you! Also, please feel free to share this with anyone that may benefit from it.

“Do not save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving.” ~Warren Buffett

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Ways to Save Money

Sharing is caring!

TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR PERSONAL FINANCES

download-750x952

Ever feel like money just seems to slip through your fingers month after month? Our Monthly Budget Tracker will guide you to start making the most of every dollar. It’s a game changer—get it free for a limited time!

Nikki Kirimi

Nikki Kirimi is a finance professional (MBA, CPA, CMA) and the creator of Money World Basics. She enjoys acquiring and sharing personal finance knowledge to help people better their lives.