I’m sure there are a lot of us wanting easy ways to save money on a tight budget. Whether we are trying to save money up for a big savings goal or because of the lack of money coming in.
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When we were in the middle of paying off our house early we were always looking for easy ways to save money on a tight budget. Every little thing added up.
Now that our house is paid off, we are still trying to save money where we can. Retirement needs more put towards it, taking a vacation, and saving some money up for kids’ college funds are all on the list of goals. Watching what we spend, budgeting, and making our money work for us is a part of life.
Some of them we are doing for a season and others are a pretty permanent part of our lives but together they are allowing us to live on less so that we can put more toward whatever our savings goals might be.
10 Easy Ways to Save Money on a Tight Budget
1. Lower Your Grocery Budget
This is one of the first things to look at when you are trying to save and my personal favorite of the easy ways to save money on a tight budget. It’s easy to gradually start spending more and more on groceries over time. If you don’t want to keep it super low forever, that’s fine but do it to help out while you income is lower or your are trying to reach a savings goal.
This is a big one in our house. In fact, our most popular post is on how I keep my grocery budget at $150 a month. Over the next year, these tips are especially important for us as our extra money that sometimes went toward grocery splurges is now all going to the house.
Some favorite ways to lower your grocery budget: cook from scratch, menu plan, and using meat as a condiment.
I have my favorite menu planning template available for all of my newsletter subscribers. A lot of money has been saved using this method.
2. Simplify Birthdays, Christmas, and Holidays
It is super easy to go overboard. How often do we keep on finding one more present for our child or want to give them the newest and best gadget. Even the Easter basket has to be piled high.
There’s nothing wrong with any of these things, but you might want to consider scaling back. Set a smaller budget and stick to it. Spend time with your kids and make memories with them instead of spending.
You or your spouse can consider doing without gifts altogether. As an adult, it’s easy to understand why and see the big pictures. Shaun and I aren’t giving each other birthday or Christmas presents and we keep things simple with the kids.
If you minimize your gift spending try using the next tip and you might be able to cover a good portion of your gifts without spending anything out of pocket! Here I have some tips on Christmas Presents on a budget and taking the emphasis off of gifts at Christmas!
3. Earn Gift Cards with Swagbucks for Presents
I love Swagbucks. It’s an easy way to earn points you can redeem for gift cards. If you follow tip number two and cut your birthday and Christmas spending down, the gift cards you earn will pay for a good chunk of the presents.
If you work at using Swagbucks (and have a smart phone) you could earn over $300 in a year. This post has some of my favorite easy ways to earn Swagbucks on your computer and this one is about earning them on your smart phone!
4. Drink Water
Forget the pops, juices, coffees, and teas for a while and just stick to water! Not only is it good for you, it’s also the most affordable! The costs of all those other beverages really add up. I promise your kids won’t die without milk at every meal and juice for breakfast.
Milk for drinking and juice are super rare purchases in our house and it really helps save money. Over three years later, this is still true at my house.
5. Skip the Vacation
Our vacations consists of trips to see family and a season tickets to a theme park 5 hours away. This year, since we knew we were going to be pinching pennies, we decided to forgo the season tickets.
We aren’t saving a ton on money because as far as vacations go, it really is quite affordable but the ticket purchase and gas costs for driving there several times still will save us hundreds of dollars. If you take bigger vacations, this could equal thousands of dollars.
I know it doesn’t mean skipping out on the vacation is easy, but remember the big picture and make it a goal to save up for a fun little trip down the road.
In the meantime, find ways to have fun and memories locally.
6. Shop Your Closet
Avoid the mall and all the clothing deal sites for a while and just wear what you have. I’m already a big fan of buying used clothes and shopping clearance racks but sometimes you just need to take a break from even that.
A perk of this, is after wearing all your clothes (instead of having the stash you never touch) you’ll know what items you want to keep and which you should pass on. A more organized closet is never a bad thing. 🙂
7. Eat at Home
It’s nice to get a break from cooking, but restaurants aren’t cheap. You have the cost of a meal and then add the tip in and you could cook a lot of meals at home with what you just spent. Even at a fast food or fast casual restaurant things add up when you are buying for a family.
If eating out is something you love, put gift cards on your birthday and Christmas list (and use coupons when you go out to make them go even further). Otherwise, think about your big financial goal or view it as something you are giving up until your finances increase.
8. Cut the Cable
Get rid of your paid television service. No more cable or dish.
It’s okay. I promise you’ll survive. I know these might be ones that don’t seem like an easy ways to save money on a tight budget. 😉
When we got rid of it several years ago I think my husband was pretty skeptical. It really hasn’t been that bad. Then take it a step further and don’t replace it with Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime, or Netflix. How much TV do we really need to watch anyway? Utilize your library, free Hulu, and free streaming on network sites so you can keep up with your favorite shows.
9. Cheaper Cell Phone Rates
Cell phones are straight up expensive but there are a few things we’ve found to do to save money.
- Save money by negotiating lower rates with your cell phone provider. We saved an additional $15 a month by talking to the retention department.
- My husband has a smart phone and uses Google Voice instead of paying for a texting plan. It has its quirks, but it is fine for his needs.
- Use a dumb phone. I’ve occasionally thought about getting a smart phone over the years but it’s something I can’t justify doing right now. An extra $15 to $30 a month might not seem like a lot, but all those things add up so I keep my basic talk only phone. (Yes, I even have texting turned off). Maybe after we get our house paid off or our income increases I’ll reconsider, but right now it works.
- 3 years later and I now have a smart phone. It wouldn’t have happened except that I was needing a new phone and we found a great deal and a new affordable plan.
10. DIY Lawn Care and Pest Control
Okay, so honestly weeds in the yard are something that doesn’t really bother me. Let them grow. (Bonus: it would mean no toxic chemicals I have to worry about.) My husband, on the other hand, can’t stand them. Plus it makes all your the people in your neighborhood upset if you don’t take care of your yard. Instead of paying a lawn care company to come take care of it, he went to the local lawn and garden store and got their recommendation on what to use and when. It takes a couple hours a few times a year but it saves a lot of money and we can put the money saved toward something else.
The same goes for spiders and insects. I’m not a lover of toxic chemicals being sprayed around the house, but I’m also really not a fan of venomous spiders (or actually any kind-of creepy crawly insect) in my house. You can pay someone or once again you can go to the local store and get recommendations for your area and do the spraying yourself.
11. Read Good Books!
Go to your local library and find some books with inspiration to help you come up with easy ways to save money each month. Try The Tightwad Gazette, More Than Just Making It, You Can Stay Home with Your Kids!: 100 Tips, Tricks, and Ways to Make It Work on a Budget or even Dave Ramsey. If your library doesn’t have any, don’t forget you can ask them to purchase or interlibrary loan them.
This is just the start of the easy ways to save money on a tight budget that we’ve used in our house. I think a part two might be coming.
Those little things that you don’t think make a difference really do add up. Put them together and you’ll find you are saving a decent amount!
What are some of your favorite easy ways to save money on a tight budget?
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I love it and totally agree! This is something that only works if BOTH of you and your spouse are willing to do. I found when I did it but he did not the budget saving went no where. Now that we are saving together, we have seen a great increase in our savings. Great tips!
He he. SO true! It wasn’t until we both got on the same page that our budget actually went somewhere at worked! We both compromised a little and found a system that’s working for us now. Thanks for commenting!
These are some great tips thanks for sharing them! Visiting from Cornerstones Confessions 🙂
Deanna, I have missed YOU! I need to buckle down and get better at my budget like YOU!!! It seems everything spiraled with the holidays, the wedding, the not wedding and all that involved (loss of deposits) and you are my she-ro and role model my dear. I applaud you and always feel so motivated after visiting your site. I hope all is well at your place and wishing you the best. Carrie, A Mother’s Shadow
These are great tips! But for #10, honestly, I have never ever used any type of pesticide and used a weed killing chemical only once when we had persistent poison ivy. Pulling up non-poisonous weeds is not that hard (and it’s a great job for kids; my friend’s dad used to pay 10c/dandelion, which probably came out cheaper than the chemicals) but the easy way to go is to plant an attractive and harmless weed, like morning glories, in your problem areas to choke out the ugly weeds. I can tolerate occasional ants and spiders around the house, but we also get centipedes in the basement and I am phobic of them–diatomaceous earth is a safe and effective way to control them. Anyway, you have a good point that if your pest problem is severe enough that you feel you need to spray, it’s far less expensive to learn how to do it yourself–and you probably will do it less often because you’ll only do it when needed, rather than being tied to an extermination contract, so your family will be exposed to less of the stuff.
I’m like you when it come to the weeds. 🙂 And my husband knows my opinion but sometime we just let go, you know. 🙂 It’s important to him for some reason. We do actually pull up some of the remaining weeds from the yard- his chemicals don’t get it all ha ha. Oklahoma has tons of black widows and fiddleback spiders – non venomous ones I could probably suck it up and deal with the creepy crawlies a little bit better. For pest control inside the house I do use more natural things – essential oils, sprays, cinnamon etc – I don’t want the toxic stuff right where we (and especially the kids) are all the time. But just spraying the bad for you stuff around the outside of the house really helps. That and getting rid of boxes. 🙂
Love the hair cut thing too! My sister is an awesome stylist so when we go to TX she normally does all of us. So my hair probably gets cut around once a year, Shaun keeps his short but we have awesome friends that do it. Someday I’ll have to learn. I’m sure once I do it it won’t be that bad, but I’m scared of messing up. Maybe I should do a test run on my almost 2 year old first.
Oh, I meant to add that one of our big money-savers is that we never pay for haircuts. We cut our own hair or each other’s. If you have a fairly simple style it isn’t hard at all, and there are lots of books and websites with advice.
These are great ideas! We do most of them, but this year, I think we’re pretty determined to take a vacation. Fortunately for us, we have a few work related trips coming up, so it’s going to be more of a workation, and will mostly pay for itself. I can’t wait!
Thanks for linking up with Waste Not Want Not Wednesday!
These are all great ideas! I’m always very intrigued by the cable cutting thing but the hubby is NOT for it at all. I think it could be a fun experiment at least;0)
To save money, we take lots of daycations. We are blessed with many nearby destinations here in the Pacific Northwest and take advantage of most! We also do a lot of volunteering and gardening. When you stay busy, you’re not out spending;0)
brilliant advice! #DREAMTEAM
It is amazing how many little things you can do that all add up to quite a saving #DreamTeam
a great list – we’re really struggling at the moment , some of these ideas have already been adopted but there are a couple there I might add to my management plan #dreamteam
I’m sorry that you are struggling! Hugs. Hope things look up for you soon!
Loads of great ideas there. Especially cutting the cable TV. How much does it cost!! We’ve saved a fortune going with normal TV and just adding on Netflix. Thanks for joining us for the #DREAMTEAM linky.
Thanks for sharing! I think eating at home helps so much, and eating less meat!
Yes! I agree. Food and kitchen stuff makes such a difference when it comes to saving money.
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