You can still put money in savings, even if your budget is tight
Sometimes we need creative ways to save money because we don’t have a lot of extra cash on hand.
The important thing to remember: We have a spending plan in place and that is what matters most.
Budgets can be hard to stick to, especially when it is a tight budget we’re following.
This chapter will teach you creative ways to save money as well as how to be more frugal with your money so that you can still enjoy life while building a strong and stress-free financial future.
Creative ways to save money on daily expenses
You might think that the best place to start saving with a tight budget is finding ways to save money on groceries, but actually, there are several steps you can take before you go shopping.
Here are some tips:
- Compare prices at grocery stores in your area and buy items when they are on sale rather than buying them full price
- Find recipes for dishes that utilize ingredients that are currently in your pantry.
- Go through older recipes and make notes of which ones need an ingredient replaced or if there’s a way to tweak the recipe for cheaper ingredients.
- Plan out your meals for the week before going grocery shopping so that you don’t end up buying food impulsively
- Make use of free or cheap entertainment options as well as free activities in your community
- Take advantage of the library’s services and attend local park concerts
- Take walks around your neighborhood or through your city or town for exercise or personal quiet time
As we all know, eating out is a luxury and not exactly affordable for most people who live on a strict budget.
But if you do decide to eat at restaurants, make sure to check Groupon and other daily deal sites for discounts before making your final decision on where to go. You might be surprised how affordable a meal at a nice restaurant in your area can be when you use a cash-back or discount service to save money.
Another big expense that is often overlooked in a budget is gasoline.
The price of gasoline has been increasing steadily over the years and doesn’t show any signs of stopping or slowing down, so cutting out unnecessary trips or carpooling whenever possible can help to cut down your gas bill.
If you must drive a car, make sure your tires are properly inflated and refrain from speeding before you take off, since these simple tips could increase the length of time that a tank of gas will last you.
In addition, there are many other ways to cut down on household expenses.
- Unplug any appliances that are not being used, including lamps and coffee makers
- Install energy-efficient light bulbs to reduce your electric bill
- There are many different types of lighting available so take time to research which ones would be best for your house or apartment before you head out to purchase any
- Throw out or donate items you don’t use to save space and give yourself extra room in your house
Creative ways to save money and build your bank account
It can seem impossible to put money into a savings account when you are struggling just to pay your required living expenses.
The important thing to remember is a small amount of money adds up over time.
No matter how much you can save each day, week, or month, keep your focus on the importance of saving and you will grow your account more quickly than you think!
Creative ways to save money you may not have thought of:
- Start small
- Saving money doesn’t require a certain amount
- If you are comfortable with $10 per month and that is possible, start with $10 a month
- Automate the action
- Saving money is an action and when it is on automatic pilot, you don’t have to remember to add the money to your savings account each month (which means you can’t back out of doing it)
- Ask your bank if they offer a round-up savings account program
- If you are using the envelope system, this won’t work because it is just for debit card use
- Round-up programs (mine is called Smart Change) automatically round up your debit card purchases to the next dollar and add this difference into a special savings account for you
- Shop for the savings accounts that pay the highest interest
- Let your money work harder for you by earning more interest on the money in your account
- When your expenses decrease such as the price of gas going down, for example, increase the amount of money you put into your savings account rather than using it for unnecessary things like going out to eat
More creative ways to save money
Here are a few more tips to help your money go further each month:
- Call lenders and service providers
- Ask if you can lower your monthly payment
- Call your student loan provider and ask if you qualify for loan deferment or forbearance
- Shop around for the best insurance rates
- Get a bank bonus
- Opening a new account can mean free cash at some banks
- Each will have requirements to meet, but it is worth researching to explore this possibility
- Opening a new account can mean free cash at some banks
- Ask your employer about pretax saving options
- Many employers offer pretax savings on health insurance, retirement contributions, daycare, etc.
- Refinance your mortgage
- When mortgage rates are low, refinancing can save thousands of dollars over the span of the loan, not to mention monthly savings for your budget
- Review your paycheck tax withholdings
- What you are looking for is to make sure you don’t have too much money being withheld so you get a refund, or not enough money being withheld so you are required to pay tax at the end of the tax season
- A tax refund is not a good thing because that means you overpaid on your taxes and let the government use your money all year when you could have been using it yourself
- Lower your rent
- Negotiate your monthly payment with your landlord – if you are a good renter they may not want to take the chance of losing you to someone that may be less dependable
- Move to a smaller place that is less expensive
- Team up with friends or family and share the rent expense
These are just a few ideas on how you can get more money in your pocket.
Wrapping up creative ways to save money and previous chapters
It may be tough to create and maintain a budget, especially if this is a new journey for you.
Always keep the advantages of sticking to a budget for long-term gain at the front of your mind.
Don’t be discouraged if you feel stressed and overly challenged when starting out because you are not alone.
Most people find it difficult to stick to a budget at first, yet over time, they discover that it becomes easier and even rewarding so much they look forward to their budget reviews.
You have to start somewhere and unfortunately, it isn’t at the top!
The majority of wealthy people did not grow into their wealth overnight. They had to work hard and give up things they enjoy to get where they are today.
If you stick to a budget and monitor your spending, you will start to feel the rewards within the first month.
Your life will improve, and you will feel less stress.
You’ll be able to enjoy the little things in life again without constant worry.
You will also have a bright future in front of you that you are excited about and look forward to every single day.
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