The truth is, it is easier to save money when you have more money coming in. This isn’t the case for many of us though so I put together 10 creative ways to save money on a tight budget. It can help you save thousands a year!
How to save money on a budget
If you’re wondering how to live on a budget and save money, you have come to the right place. We live on a small income, have no consumer debt (and a very small mortgage left), own our vehicles, and are able to save money and go on trips.
My husband and I didn’t come into any big inheritances. It comes down to that we are both careful with our money (sometimes in different ways). We don’t live an extravagant life but we live a GREAT life! There are a lot of frugal hacks we do to live well on a small income.
These frugal tips and money saving hacks will help you save money on groceries, transportation, and all the little things we all spend money on that can really add up.
⇒ Life insurance can be a monthly expense for some people and it can really add up over the years. Here is a way to save money with affordable 100% online life insurance (as little as $5/month).
If you’re overwhelmed with the idea of starting to save money on a tight budget, pick and choose the tips that feel the easiest for you to begin with.
Small steps are usually a great way to start because they help a habit stick. It’s the same idea as slow steady weight loss has a better chance of staying off than a quick and drastic “drop 30 pounds this month” plan.
You WILL save money if you try even one or two of the creative ways to save money tips below. The more tips you add, the more money you can save.
Related reading: 4 simple ways to save money on the cost of a cat (#1 is SO important)
Track your money so you know how much you’re saving on a budget
If you need a way of tracking your money, Personal Capital is the way to go. Personal Capital makes is easy by compiling your account information, investments, and spending into one shiny program complete with graphs and charts for those visual learners out there.
If you want Future You to be in a good position financially, you MUST track your spending and you MUST pay off your debt. Any tool that will make it easier to do so is a good idea, and Personal Capital does just that. You can sign up today (hey it’s free!)
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10 money saving tips on a tight budget
1. Stop impulse buys.
This doesn’t mean you can’t buy things that are non-essential! But wait on it – at least overnight, and a week is ideal. If it is still something that is important to you, figure out if it’s in your budget and then purchase it. This cooling off period may make you realize you don’t need this new thing as much as it felt like in the moment, and some things will be completely forgotten about.
2. Always pack a snack when you leave your house.
Yes this is great/essential when you have kids, but as a frugal hack it is good for everyone. Getting hungry when you are out for a while should not be a surprise – we all have to eat regularly, not just kids. Having something in your purse or bag or car will curb emergency food purchases while you are out.
3. Pack drinks for everyone too.
If water bores you and you know there will be a temptation to buy a coffee drink, bring that in a travel mug instead.
4. Cancel or don’t sign up for any monthly surprise boxes.
Monthly subscription boxes for clothing, jewelry, exercise gear, stuff for your dog – you don’t need any of it. How do I know that? Because what is in the box is a surprise, so it was never on any list of things you needed or wanted to buy.
5. If you have kids, round up half of their toys.
Take half their toys, put them in bins and store them somewhere out of sight for a couple of months. This has a couple of positive effects. Your livable area will have less clutter, and there will be less to clean up at the end of each day. And then when your kids are itching for some new things to play with, switch what they have out currently with the toys that were put away for a while. Whole new toys! And you didn’t have to go to the store or spend more money. A frugal win!
⇓ If you would like a printable version of this list of ways to save money on a tight budget, subscribe below for the free download ⇓
6. Once a week, eat from your freezer and/or pantry.
I like to pick Friday for this since I usually don’t feel like cooking much at the end of a work week. Give yourself permission to have a really simple meal. This will also cut down on food waste as things do expire in the pantry, and food only tastes good from the freezer for so long. If you need help with meal planning, this is the best meal planning resource I’ve found.
7. Have a ‘buy nothing day’ once each week.
No groceries, no gas, no little purchases, nothing online. It’s surprising how easy it is to not notice that many of us buy something every single day! Once a week give yourself a rest from purchasing. This is good for your wallet but also your mind.
8. Learn how to make a loaf of really good bread.
Yes you can buy cheap bread for not much money. But really good bread is not inexpensive. Making your own is a great skill to have, makes your home smell delicious, and will save you money every week. My favorite bread recipe doesn’t even require kneading, it is so easy. Once you master this, learn another new cooking skill so you start making more from scratch.
9. Buy generic brands of food.
I used to be a bit of a snob about this one, but really unless it’s fresh or you are in Italy, dried pasta is dried pasta. Buying generic is a simple way to regularly save money.
10. If at all possible, walk to work.
This is a step that will save money on fuel, and is a frugal way to build exercise into your day. If this is not possible, use public transportation, where you can listen to podcasts or read.
This change does not have to be all or nothing, drive or don’t drive. You could commit to walking or bussing every Friday, and the rest of the week take your car. Take smaller steps.
Bonus money saving tip:
Here is an easy way to save money on groceries, toys, electronics, travel, and more:
Rakuten is a cash back site that gives you money back between 0.5% and 15% of your online purchases from stores like Amazon, Sephora, Best Buy (and 750 others). They pay out quarterly with a check, through PayPal, or with an Amazon gift card.
I had heard about Rakuten (formerly Ebates) but only recently looked into it, and it’s great! I can be quite skeptical of these types of sites and that’s why I’m NOT an early adopter, but this one has been around for years and is legit.
You get paid for buying things you were already getting anyway. It’s easy and it’s a no brainer.
If you sign up here (it’s free to sign up and use the site – no membership fees) you’ll get a $10 bonus to start you out 🙂
What ways to save money on a tight budget have you tried?