Are you short on cash? Well, there’s only one solution you can think of. Save money but where do you even begin? This is what this article is for. To give you simple ways to save money on a tight budget
There are different ways to save money and keep up with a tight budget. You just have to be creative, realistic, and adaptive. But the ultimate rule here is to spend less in every given situation and not to spend above your means unless it is really a need.
Here are 20 ways to save money on a tight budget.
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1. Create and Plan your Budget
You don’t need to be an accountant to create the perfect budget plan. You just need to know the lifestyle you want to live by while also considering your earnings and spending habits. It might be a mentally draining task to compute your income along with all the other items you already spent on. But the job needs to be done. It’s a must to know!
Don’t worry, there’s no shame if your net worth is less than others. Your budget plan is something personal. It will serve as the ultimate financial guide between overseeing your needs vs. your wants. It will help you make better choices, save money, and control expenses in the long run.
2. Dye your own hair. Ditch your hairstylist.
If you love to express your personality by applying fun and bold hair dyes, there are practical ways to how you can Do-It-Yourself. Beauty gurus have already shared their tips, tutorials, and guides on Youtube. People around the world have also expressed their opinions through social media and blog reviews on which products to use. And when in doubt, you can always consult Google.
Going to the salon takes too much time, effort, and money in itself. Asking a hairstylist to dye your hair will take so much more. Well, hair dyes in the supermarket only cost a fraction of the price in the salon. You’ll save so much money if you DIY. It’s best to just ask a friend to help you out too.
ALSO READ: 10 THINGS TO STOP BUYING TO SAVE MONEY
3. Reduce your bills and food consumption
It’s a part of adulting to have multiple billing statements lying around the table. It is only you who have the power to lessen the total amount. Let’s start with electric bills. You can implement earth hour initiatives in your home by dedicating 30 minutes to an hour of turning off all lights, either on a daily or weekly basis. With phone bills, you might want to get a prepaid line instead of a postpaid one. With water bills, limit your time in the shower and set the water pressure to low. These are just a few. There are other thrifty bills saving tactics that you can search online! Here’s a great article I found to save money on bills.
Since we need to eat food every day, it is recommended to spend on groceries monthly rather than spending days on a meal. With this, you can pack your own lunch at home before heading off to school or work. Eat mindfully and drink more water so that you could keep check of your appetite.
4. Stop using credit cards
Credit cards may seem like a good investment because banks usually advertise clever marketing schemes like the point system. If you haven’t heard, the point system in credit cards will make you want to spend on unnecessary items. The goal is for you to feel satisfied in unlocking the so-called “perks”.
You could get a free trip to Hawaii or a 50% discount on a nice laptop. The catch is, you have to spend first before you can avail these perks. You have to give it to them, banks really know how to effectively attract unknowing bystanders. At the end of the day, credit is still a debt.
5. Skip a meal
Skipping a meal per day won’t be bad for your health if you already had a fulfilling breakfast at home. After all, breakfast is the most important meal of the day and fortunately, you can survive with that. Think of it as fasting, for the love of saving more money.
However, if you are the type who needs to eat three or more meals per day due to medical reasons, you could skip an unnecessary snack instead. Maybe, you could cross out that usual milk tea drink or piece of cake from your routine. Either way, sacrifice a snack!
6. Bring your own water. Make your own coffee
Buying bottled water or coffee from the convenience store or even from the grocery store could add up to your list of expenses. You may not notice it at first but it will eventually affect your overall budget in the long run. This is most especially true if you live in a first-world country such as Singapore, where bottled waters cost a fortune!
Bringing your own water bottle or mug can save you extra money. If your workplace or school provides a water dispenser or drinking fountain, take advantage of it. You can always refill your bottle throughout the day. Plus, you help save the earth by being one less person who supports disposable store-bought water bottles.
7. Track your expenses
Monitoring personal expenses, whether you are using a digital app or a notebook, can help organize your financial life. It gives you an overview of where your money ends up. Although it takes a portion of your time to note every expense made, it can be beneficial because you become aware of how you truly treat money. Truth be told, money must be treated with respect especially if you are on a tight budget.
The purpose of tracking your expenses is to get rid of wasteful spending habits and incorporate better ones like saving money. You could also piece together what your unconscious mind is telling you such as when you went for that impromptu online shopping spree. Sometimes those extra clothes, gadgets, or accessories you’ve bought are just a spur of the moment and you might not even use them. Tracking my expenses revealed an underlying truth that I spend a whopping 100 dollars on coffee alone. That could have been used to pay bills.
8. Use budget apps
Just like tracking your expenses, budget apps are great at keeping you updated on your financials. But budget apps could help you plan on how to spend your income better. This also makes sure that you prioritize needs rather than wants.
What you need include expenses on rent, bills, water, and food. Meanwhile, what you want are just miscellaneous or unnecessary expenses. The goal of budget apps is to make you realize the reality of your lifestyle and how you should spend on it based on your income.
Here are 7 best budgeting apps of 2021
9. Declutter and sell items you don’t need
There are various apps where you could sell pre-loved or used items such as Carousell ph, Etsy, and Instagram. If you are the traditional kind of businessperson, then set up a garage sale in your front yard. Trust me, strangers will definitely buy a thing or two.
Decluttering can do wonders in your home; it clears up space! Selling the items, you’ve separated and placed in a box can give you extra cash instead of just throwing them away. You know what they say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. If you are new to decluttering, I highly recommend Marie Kondo’s book. Everyone raves about how effective it is.
10. To save on a tight budget, always carry cash
The trend today is to pay establishments and other people via card or an e-wallet because technology has made it possible to do this kind of transaction. It is convenient, easy, and safer since you don’t have to carry physical money. However, this could make one believe that he is spending less.
Paying with cash can help you make conscious spending decisions. You can literally see and feel how much money you have left on your wallet. Also, you might need it in case of an emergency such as if the restaurant has gone offline for a while.
11. Set a no-spend day challenge
Since the lockdown due to COVID-19, people have been very creative with online challenges. Well, this one is for those who are trying to save and who have a tight budget. Try to set a no-spend day challenge!
You could start small such as not spending on snacks after lunch. As much as possible, make this challenge a personal one. In this way, you can execute it better and it will truly affect your choices. It will make you realize that sometimes there are services or items that you could simply survive without. In fact, it might also make you into a wiser person.
I follow Erika from Faithful with Finances on Pinterest. And she has a board dedicated to no spend challenge days. Check it out.
ASLO READ: HOW TO ATTRACT MORE MONEY INTO YOUR LIFE
12. Make your dinner
By making your own dinner at home, you basically pay for the ingredients and utilities used. You might be the one who took the time and effort to prepare the meal but at least you don’t have to spend on outrageous service charges or tips. You can save that for yourself. Yes, a lot of things done at home are cheaper.
Cooking dinner is a practical life skill. You can also use cooking apps such as Big Oven. I learned how to cook Japanese dishes on Udemy. The more you do it, the more you improve. Plus, you could personalize the meal depending on your taste.
13. Do not go shopping on payday
Payday is one of the days that every person is waiting for at the end of the month. Since most are feeling excited, they usually spend their money unwisely after work. That is why it is not recommended to go shopping on payday. It is tempting to spend the fruit of your labor without considering your hard work to earn that money.
You might want to think twice before spending your salary. It is wiser to spend it after having a clear mind and peaceful state. This is when you are over the payday jitters.
14. Take the savings challenge
There are a lot of viral savings challenges around social media platforms, especially on Facebook. People have already posted their experiences and results. You could do the 52-week money challenge, 12-month saving challenge, envelope savings challenge, no-spend weekends, or $1 a day challenge.
You could experiment and have fun with the challenges. As long as you save a certain amount of money for a given period. If you do this continuously, you’ll have more money than you used to.
15. Ride a bike or walk to work
Riding a bike or walking can reduce your costs of commuting to zero. Not only does this save you money but it also gives you a small dose of workout every time you go out. It will improve both your financial life and well-being.
Good quality bikes might also come with a hefty price. However, it will be one of the best decisions of your life because it is a great investment. As you use the bike more over time, you don’t need to spend on commuting. You can bypass the long lines and traffic. Also, walking might take more time, but you could do more me-time activities. For example, while walking, you can take this time to be grateful and relaxed. Don’t forget to be aware of your surroundings though! Last but not the least, all of these are for free.
16. Shop at thrift stores
Thrift stores are a great way to shop for things at the lowest possible price. It helps you save money as you shop. You could also earn by reselling the items online at a higher price. Of course, sell after you refurbish or clean it. A lot of millennial entrepreneurs are doing this now. Guess what, there are tons of interested buyers as well!
The items in thrift stores have massively decreased around half or more than half of their original price. These are usually second-hand or vintage items ranging from clothes, shoes, furniture, etc. The most common thrift item is clothes. Clothes at the thrift store can save you a great deal of money with the same value for fashion. In my article 15 ways to save money and spend less, I talk about holding swap clothes with friends.
17. Unsubscribe from emails
Don’t be the type who is always on the lookout for discounts via email because chances are, you’ll spend more than you used to. It tempts you to avail of other services or products so that you could have the ultimate discount that you want. When you think about it, you are spending twice. This is the reason why being part of a brand’s email list is a bad idea.
When you spend on something for a discounted price, that is still not saving. It is considered a cost. So better clean out your emails now.
18. A practical way to save money on a tight budget is to eat in
Spending for food outside is nice to do once in a while. Come on, it’s a treat after a hard day’s work. However, if it becomes a habit and you are not saving much money then it is time to reconsider your dining options.
It is cheaper to eat at home and spend on monthly groceries instead. Cooking at home is better because you get to personalize the mean according to your taste. Also, you don’t have to pay for service charges or tips!
19. Stop wasting your money on birthday parties
Birthday parties come by once a year in a person’s life. That is why people try to celebrate their birthdays by treating friends, relatives, or loved ones with a hotel staycation or restaurant celebration. But this does not come cheap. Also, when other people have birthdays, we try our best to please them by buying gifts.
If your budget does not allow it, please stop spending it on birthdays. You could celebrate your next year or the following year. You can also give others gifts the next time you have the means to do so. Just don’t force it. If you are on a tight budget, the real people in your life will understand deeply.
20. Lastly, Find an accountable partner
Having a partner that can help you become accountable with your money is what you should be looking for in a relationship or even a friendship. Nothing beats a partner who knows how to deal with financials. They will influence you to save your money instead of buying them gifts. They might even be the financial mentor that you needed.
This partner can range from your family members, live-in partner, co-worker, or any person in your life. There’s this cliche quote but it’s nice to revamp things at times. Well, here it goes: Birds with the same financial goals, flock and earn money together.
OVER TO YOU
There you have it, 20 ways to save money on a tight budget! Renewing old spending habits is challenging. It has sort of becoming an addiction that you can’t just let go of. It might be difficult to take the first few steps in your journey to financial freedom but it will be worth it in the end. I hope that these tips and tricks to save money on a tight budget will give you an idea of where to start.