If you are ready to take your monthly savings to the next level and don’t have a lot of cash to spare, then today is your lucky day. In this post I’m going to show you how to save money on a tight budget!
Yes, it can feel challenging to set aside extra money for a rainy day when the bills keep piling up. However, you might be surprised at just how much you’re actually able to save with these 7 simple little money saving hacks!
Okay, are you ready for some easy tips to help you save BIG, even when money is tight??
Then let’s get to it right now…
7 Hacks to Save Money on a Tight Budget
Tip #1: Keep a Spending Diary to Know Where Your Money is Going
Does it feel like your money disappears as fast as you can earn it? Your first assignment is to create a spending diary. Any notebook will do. For two weeks, jot down every expense you have in your diary, and assign a category to it, like Food, Gas, Entertainment, Clothing, etc. You may be amazed to find out just how much of your hard-earned cash is slipping away into certain categories! But don’t worry, we’ll work on that in tip #2. For example, I used to be a bit of a coffee shop addict. Once I started tracking how much money I was dishing out for fancy coffee drinks, I got really motivated to start making my own gourmet drinks at home!
Tip #2: Create a Budget, and Stick To It!
Now that you know where your money is going, it’s time to create a budget! However, creating a budget isn’t the only thing you’ll need to do. You’ll also need to commit to sticking to your budget.
After creating my first budget, the hardest part for me was actually doing what it said to do. No more slow wandering shopping excursions without a list… nope, it was time to buckle down and start saving! I’ve actually come to love my budget now and how it keeps me accountable with my spending. It’s so much more fun to save more now and splurge later on the things that really matter!
Tip #3: Slash Your Food Bill
Okay, it’s time to start addressing each item in your budget! Now is the time to see if you can reduce the amount of money required for every expense category in your budget each month. For me, one of my biggest budget drains has always been food. Let’s face it… going out for dinner is fun! However, it can really add up, too! So your first step is to stop splurging on restaurants and coffee shops, and commit to cooking at home more. You won’t believe how much money you’ll start saving right away!
Also consider meatless meals several nights per week. I know, I know… adding meat to your dinners can be delicious, but it can also quickly double or triple the cost of your dish!
Tip #4: Cut Back on Clothing Expenses
Over the years, I’ve really worked hard to cut back on clothing expenses. Don’t get me wrong, I love shopping for new clothes! In college I used to work at the Nordstrom sales each year just so I could spend all of my earnings on more clothes! I had to quickly learn though, don’t just buy it because it’s a good deal. Buy it because you need it. Now I keep an ongoing list on my phone notes of exactly what I’m looking for. So when I head into the store I’ve got a clear and concise plan of action. This helps me keep from grabbing one of everything cute I see!
Tip #5: Reduce Your Utility Expenses
It’s amazing how quickly your utility expenses can add up, right? Well there is one easy way you can shave hundreds of dollars off your electric and gas bills every year. Simply use less A/C in the summer by turning your thermostat up 5 degrees. Then keep your shades closed and use ceiling fans to help compensate for using less A/C. In the winter, turn your heat down 5 degrees, while dressing warmer and using more blankets.
Also, be sure to check with your utility provider to see if you can switch to a better plan. For example, I’m on my electric company’s super-saver plan here in Phoenix. I save a lot of money by simply limiting my use of electricity between 3pm and 8pm Monday through Friday. One simple trick I use to keep my house comfortable is that I set my A/C extra low before 3pm, then move the thermostat up 10 degrees during the more expensive time of the day. Then I turn the thermostat down low again after 8pm. I also make sure to only do laundry and use my oven during non-peak hours.
Tip #6: Cut Your Housing Costs
Does it feel like your housing costs are sucking your income? There are a few things you can do to cut them quickly. If you own your home, consider renting out a room. My aunt lives near a college, and has rented out a room to college students for years. It’s such a simple way to supplement your income, or to help pay off the mortgage. If you rent an apartment, consider inviting one or more friends to move in and split the cost of the rent. My hubby did this with a friend before we were married, and was able to have a great apartment for half the cost! Or you may also just need to consider moving. Moving can be a lot of work, but if you’re able to drastically reduce your housing costs, it can also be totally worth it!
Tip #7: Always Make Your Savings Your #1 Priority
It’s not savings until you actually save it, right? So are you ready for one of my favorite tricks to make sure your savings is a top priority? Don’t think about how much money you’ll save at the end of each month. Instead… plan to save it all, and think about how little you can spend. This simple idea to reframe your thinking about money can really help you supercharge your savings.
Now that you’ve tracked your spending, created a budget, and slashed your bills, you’re well on your way to saving BIG! When you make your savings your #1 priority now, you’ll thank yourself later! Trust me… small sacrifices each day will lead to big dividends down the road! So are you ready to start saving today? Let’s do this!
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