20 Ways to Save Money on a Tight Budget
A lot of us don’t realize a simple fact: The best way to make money may not always be to work for it. It is to save it. Think about it: if you avoid paying unnecessary amounts of money, you could save it and put it to work for you by generating more money than you would by getting another job. Get creative and see how it can change your life.
1. Big purchases have the most impact on your bottom line. Making your best effort to save for cars, boats, homes, education, and other large expenditures will save you tens of thousands of dollars over your lifetime. While the rest of the tips are useful in saving you dollars and cents, you should be hawkish on getting great deals on these purchases as a way of saving big chunks of money.
2. Scrutinize, question and negotiate on your interest rates. Watch the bottom line, whether a mortgage, car loan, personal loan, or a credit card; interest payments can eat into your savings and lower the amount of cash on hand. You usually save a bunch if you pay cash instead of putting it on a credit card. Pay credit cards in full every month and avoid interest charges.
3. The best way to lower your interest rates is to maintain good credit. This means you must avoid late payments, don’t max out credit and pay off your debts in full. You have to watch your credit report closely so that you do not have errors that could hurt your credit.
4. Buy a good used car instead of paying through the nose for a new one. A car with 30,000-45,000 miles or less will provide you with a reliable transportation and save you a ton on money.
5. Prepare your own meals at home instead of going out to eat in a restaurant. Eating out constantly, especially with the high costs associated with drinks, alcohol and tips, can really add up over time. Also, avoid snacks and drinks (including coffee) when you are out on the town. They may seem cheap at the time, but $1-3 charges will accumulate rapidly, hitting your bank account hard without you even realizing it. All the small ways you treat yourself on a daily basis might not seem like much at first, but it really does add up quickly. Save your receipts for a month and I’m almost positive you’ll be shocked at the amount of money you throw around.
6. Determine what you truly love to do and invest your money into that. Buying useless trinkets, gadgets, DVDs, and other stuff may make you feel good at the time, but the fun fades as the novelty goes away. Then you’re off to buy the next hot thing. Find a hobby or two that you enjoy and spend your time and resources on that. Perhaps you love to play the piano, so you spend money on instruments and music, or you like to cook, so you buy cook books and kitchen accessories. Whatever your love, find it and develop it. Who knows it could become the next big company started in a garage or a home kitchen.
7. Use more public transportation, carpooling, or walking/biking to get around. The price of gas isn’t going down anytime soon, and it will most likely continue to rise. Also, the more you use your car, the more maintenance is required. If you could get rid of your car altogether, think of how much you’d save on insurance, maintenance and car payments.
8. Buy in bulk. The more you buy at one time, the less you’ll pay for each unit, saving you cash in the long run.
9. Buy items online. You can save tons of money by buying from sites like Amazon that can get you steep discounts on everything from clothes to household supplies to toys. You can also find great bargains on sites like Craigslist and eBay.
10. Buy used goods whenever possible. A huge secondary market exists filled with people wanting to sell their stuff. You can get so much “like new” stuff – including clothing, cars, video games, furniture, whatever – for a mere fraction of the cost if bought new. Check out thrift stores, garage sales, Goodwill stores and discount stores, and auction sites, craigslist, and other sites on the internet.
11. Drain the maximum value out of everything your purchase. Whether it is food, clothing, or entertainment, get the most out of every dollar you spend.
12. Use your local library to borrow books and DVDs for free. Stop buying books at full price and don’t waste your cash on movies you watch once. Use the library to the fullest possible extent. If you must purchase a book try Half Price Books or another second hand bookstore.
13. Always be on the lookout for places to use coupons and save money. Saving $0.050 here and $1.50 there will add up over time with little effort.
14. Avoid silly fees wherever possible – late fees, annual fees, interest fees, overdraft fees, etc. You can easily avoid all these completely with some careful attention to your finances and financial choices.
15. Use fewer utilities. Conserve electricity, water, and heat and turn off your internet, cable, or phone bill. Your wallet will thank you for it.
16. Have a close friend scrutinize your pay stubs, your bills, and a month’s worth of receipts and suggest things you should cut out money that can be recovered from the budget. Wring out every penny you can find.
17. Follow the money trail by saving all the receipts every month. That will help track exactly how you spend your money. If you ask anybody whether they waste any of their money, they will obviously say they don’t. They will say they never waste money and only spend money on the bare necessities. However, their tone would change if they see how much their budget adds up at the end of the month.
18. If you are living outside of your means change it now. It will be hard to save money if you’re living a $75,000/year lifestyle on a $32,000/year salary. Do only what is important and necessary for your daily survival. The rest should be out of the window. You may want to indulge in a few packs of cigarettes and a belly dancing class, but you can’t afford both. So suck it up and pick one.
19. You could save yourself some good money if you quit whipping your debit card everywhere. Give yourself a modest of allowance of walk around little petty cash which you would only spend on something necessary. It’s downright easy to buy a smoothie when you know you can just hand someone a debit card. It’s a little more mentally difficult if you know you’ve got to break a $50 for it. When you carry cash, you’ll find out that you will spend less money
20. Keep your gas receipts for awhile and add up exactly how much your gas expenditures are. After finding out exactly how much you are spending in gas, you may want to walk to that corner store next time.