There are hundreds of possible ways to save money on a tight budget. You could cut your food, gas and cable bills just a little bit so that you have additional cash that you can store for future emergencies or to go on that trip you’ve been planning for ages.
However, not all ways to save money can really work if you’re on a tight budget. Some are unrealistic and you could find yourself spending more and eventually taking out of your previous savings just to meet up with your expenses.
That is why we have compiled a list of creative ways to save money based on actual life experiences. You can easily use any of the ways we will provide to keep track of your spending and save some extra bucks.
25 Realistic Ways To Save Money On A Tight Budget
1. Keep Track of Your Spending
The first step to saving money on a tight budget is to understand your cash flow. You need to know how to your money comes and where it goes. This way you’ll be able to identify unnecessary expenses or inflated expenses that you can correct and save more money.
The best way to do this is through a budgeting and saving app. While you might be used to writing down your budget, going digital will help you save better.
There are much budgeting and saving apps that are effective in creating the perfect budget and helping you discipline your spending habits so that you meet your saving goals.
The Mint app is a money management app that helps you to budget, track your bills, and invest the right way.
You can easily your spending on rent payments, utility bills, and credit cards on this app. You also get a budget tracker that keeps you track with your budget goals.
PocketGuard is another amazing budgeting app to consider, however, with this app, you’ll have to pay a service charge to keep your budgeting goals in check. PocketGuard provides you with detailed spending information and helps you identify hidden saving opportunities in your spending.
This app helps you create a realistic budget, tracks your individual bills, set spending limits, and tracks your financial goals.
PocketGuard has a free version but if you want to get more of this app, then you’ll have to go for its premium version (billed at $3.99/month and $34.99/year).
2. Cut Your Spending
Through budgeting you’ll know just how much you’re spending and how realistic it is to meet your saving goals within the set time. The next step is to cut off bills that you can do without.
To cut your spending, you’ll have to be disciplined and keep your savings goals in mind.
3. Cut on Energy Bills
Using energy saving appliances is very important if you want to save on energy bills, but if you leave your electronics in the ‘off’ position you should know that your electronics still suck a bit of electricity which could add to your energy costs.
The best remedy is to get an energy saving power strip for your electronics to automatically cut off power from your equipment when not in use.
4. Rethink Cable
Cable TV is quite expensive but the entertainment is usually worth it for most people. Since you want to save on a tight budget, you’ll have to consider ditching cable TV and turning to internet-based TV services. Options like Hulu, Netlfix, and Amazon Prime offer cheaper TV subscription packages for twice the entertainment.
5. Save on Purchases
Where you’re trying to purchase a shirt, a pair of shoes or popcorn, it is best to purchase in bulk. Purchasing items in bulk usually saves you a lot of money than if you would have bought the items individually.
While this is a great idea if you’re purchasing non-perishables, you should not do the same with perishables because you might end up not using the excesses. And when buying, make sure you only go for things you know you’ll always use.
6. Buy Straight From the Manufacturers
One of the creative ways to save money on a tight budget is to cut off the middleman. It is a known fact that manufacturers offer lower prices than retailers do. So instead of paying extra for your items, you could get huge discounts by ordering from the manufacturer.
Manufacturers usually sell in bulk and you will have to meet their minimum purchase amount before you can make an order. If you the items you need are not up to the minimum purchase order, you can easily team with your friends and place your order.
7. Earn More
While cutting your expenses to boost your savings could get help you achieve your saving goals, boosting your monthly income could be more effective.
To increase your earning, you might have to make jobs or increase your skill and value so that you can request for more pay. When you start earning more money, ensure you stick to the previous savings goals you set or you’ll find yourself spending more and back to square one in no distant time.
Add whatever extra cash you get as part of your savings to help you save more money in a short period of time.
8. Put Away Your Credit Card
Impulsive spending is one of the major reasons why most people find themselves exceeding their budget and saving less than they expected. To prevent this, you’ll have to put away your credit card and pay for whatever you’re buying in cash.
This way you’ll be more aware of what you’re spending and you can easily stick to your budget by determining the item that really deserves you money.
Still, you’ll have to be disciplined in your spending habits if you want this work.
9. Pay off your Debt
You will have to consider your debt first before you can begin saving. High-interest debts like credit cards can take up the bulk of your monthly income making it pretty difficult to save a significant amount.
We’ve already talked about why you should stop using your credit cards to pay for items, well this time you’ll have to consider paying off your credit cards first before you can actually start saving.
You can use the budgeting apps we listed to determine just how much you can save while paying off debt. This way you can work towards a realistic saving goal.
10. Check Your Saving Progress
Using money management apps like PocketGuard and Mint will help you keep track of your spending and make sure you’re paying the right bills and crossing out the unnecessary ones.
These apps can also help you to check for overpayment or false bill charges (possibly automatic renewal payment for bills you’ve signed out of).
You should always check your daily, weekly and monthly saving progress to ensure you’re on the right track. Saving more than you expect is what you should always look out for.
11. Read A Book On Saving or Budgeting
If you’re trying to save a lot of money in a short period of time and you’re on a really tight budget, there is a lot of chances that you’ll make a lot of mistakes and end up saving little or nothing. To get things right and meet your savings goals, you’ll need some help.
Budgeting or saving books by authors that know just how difficult it is to budget and save in these times would go a long way to help. Reading a book just because you want to learn how to save or budget might sound like overkill, but if you hope to meet your saving goals, and discipline your spending habits, then you should pick any of the budgeting books we’ve listed below and start reading.
12. Buy Quality
Copper is preferred over aluminum due to the facts that it has a higher conductivity and is able to better withstand load surges. Thus, materials made of copper are more expensive than aluminum.
When saving on a tight budget, you might think that its best to go for cheaper products like products made out of aluminum instead of copper. But if you want to save on maintenance costs and get the full value of the product you paid for then you should always go for the product with better quality.
The upfront cost might be high but the cost of maintaining the item will definitely be better.
13. Buy Used
While used items do not hold the same value or quality as new items, they could help you save on the cost of purchasing items. Sometimes going for used items is a better option to go for.
Before buying an item, you should compare the merits and demerits of buying the used or new of the item. Buying a new item could make you eligible for free technical support and maintenance while a used item voids these benefits. However, a used item could save you twice the cost and last just as long as the new item with great maintenance.
This is supposedly a common-sense way to save money on a tight budget, but we’re going to add it to our list anyway. Hiring or renting could save you a lot especially if you’re not going to sue the item frequently.
Before hiring or renting, you should compare your needs and the cost of the item against buying it. Renting the item should cost at most half the price you would have to pay if you were buying it.
15. Get a Programmable Thermostat
This is a way to save on energy bills that geniuses should take advantage of. Programmable thermostat help you control the temperature at different of the day and save on energy costs. Some programmable thermostats allow you to adjust the temperature right from your phone.
So if you ever forget to turn down the heat on your way to work or on a trip, you can easily do so from your phone and save on your energy costs.
16. Save on Water Bills
Water bills shouldn’t pose a problem to your budget and saving goals, but if you’re someone that doesn’t take how much water they use into account, you should start doing so. To prevent water, repair any water issue you have so that they do not add to your water bill over time.
17. Save on Alcohol
The easiest way to save more money is to cut off unnecessary expenses like alcohol. If you love stacking your fridge with wine or beer and taking one or two a day, then you should learn to lay off a few bottles and add the extra cash to your savings.
Instead of wine or beer, you could stick to water. Water is more beneficial, but if you think its utterly impossible for you to replace beer with water, then you can go for less expensive fruit juices or make fruit juices at home.
Refinancing your loans has a lot of advances, you get lower interest rates and flexible repayment plans that allow you to pay back at a more comfortable pace. By refinancing your loans, you can easily pay off the loans and get to save a significant amount monthly.
Before refinancing, make sure you are aware of the pros and cons of refinancing. While refinancing offers better loan repayment terms and rates, you might find yourself spending more if you are unable to keep up to the repayment terms.
19. Check for Discounts and Coupons
A lot of eCommerce sites and shops offer discounts and coupons to keep customers loyal and attract new customers. You can save a lot of money by keeping track of your favorite shopping sites and shops so that you know when they make discounts and coupons available for the items you’re interested in.
An easier way to check for coupons is to use browser extensions. The Honey Add-On is an extension that automatically checks for coupons when you’re checking out at any website. You can add the extension to your browser and save money on your purchases.
20. Watch out for ATM Fees
We previously said you should ditch your ATM and go for cash when purchasing items. While this will help you control your spending, it could add to your spending due to ATM fees.
ATM fees have increased over the years and they seem to be rising non-stop. Fortunately, there are some banks that offer ATM fees rebates to customers who regularly withdraw cash. You could also use an online bank to refund your ATM fees and keep your spending on track with your saving goals.
21. Look Deeper
To cut more out of your spending, you’ll have to look deeper into your expenses. There’ll definitely be one or two things you can do without. For example, paying $40/month for that gym membership is something you can cut off, you can add that $40 to your savings and run on the sidewalk or exercise at home.
Sometimes you have to consider living below your means to help you reach or go beyond your saving goals.
22. Become your own Handyman
Another way to save on spending is to fix things yourself. DIY is one of the most creative ways to save money because you get to learn new things and save on cash you would have spent to get professional help.
Today, there are lots of online tutorials and videos that show you how to fix the most common everyday items without you having to spend a dime.
So, whenever you’re want to fix a broken toilet lever, unclog a toilet drain, fix a leaky pipe, clear jammed garbage disposal or replace a light switch, you can simply head over to Google and Youtube for free online tutorials that will definitely help you get the desired result.
23. Cut your own hair
While this might sound impossible, it is something you should consider if you want to save more money really fast. If you have a simple hairstyle, you should be able to cut your hair cut neatly and save yourself some money.
Since not everyone has experience in cutting their own hair, you can always turn to Youtube and Google for assistance. When starting out, you have to take things slowly so as not to do anything that will ruin your hair and your looks. We recommend you watch a good number of Youtube videos before you start practicing with your hair.
24. Cut down on your vacation spending
Going on trips when you’re on a tight budget cause a strain on your saving goals if you’re not careful. However, you wouldn’t have to stop going on vacations just because you want to save, you’ll simply have to cut down on big, extravagant trips.