It’s not easy to follow a tight budget but when you are determined and have your priorities set, it’s not impossible to save money. You may find some of these suggestions helpful:
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Make a plan and stick to it
The first thing you need to do is to make a note of your income and expenses and then come up with a plan on how to increase the former and decrease the latter. Once you have created a framework, follow it.
Discontinue use of things that aren’t important
Don’t use things that aren’t important. Discontinue using your cable service. Use a push mower instead of an automatic one. When it’s not very cold, wear layers and switch off the heating. Similarly, on a cool summer night, don’t use the A/C if you can manage without it.
Use discount coupons and saving offers for groceries and food
If you have discount or saver coupons, use them the next time you need to buy something. Even if you save $1, a dollar saved is a dollar earned.
Shop for the family when a sale is going on
Buy clothes for everyone when there is a big sale going on. That doesn’t mean that you’ll have to buy something every time there is a sale though.
If you plan to buy anything expensive, save for it from your monthly/weekly income
Before buying anything big like a television or a refrigerator, try to save as much as possible from your income. It’s a bit tedious and time consuming but it can save you a lot on loans and interest rates.
Pay credit card bills in full before the bill is generated
Try to pay the full bill every month. By doing this, you’ll have more credit available, make lesser payments at the end of every cycle and if you pay the full amount before the bill gets generated, then you won’t have to pay any interest. Also, avoid doing cash withdrawals using your credit card because the interest rates are generally very high.
Maintain a good credit score
If you’re planning on getting a loan or trying to lower your interest rates, it’s very important to have a good credit score. Avoid late payments and maxing out your card. If possible, get a credit report from the three credit bureaus to keep a tab on your score.
Try to renegotiate your interest rates
Speak to your credit card company, explain your situation and see if they can provide a lower APR for your credit card because interest rates end up being a big part of the total credit bill. If not, look into the options for transferring your account to some other bank at a 0% APR.
Avoid eating out or ordering in
You do not have to run to the restaurant or get home delivery every time you feel hungry. Start cooking more breakfasts, lunches and dinners at home. Not only are they healthier but it’ll also save you a fortune on this additional cost.
Differentiate your needs from your wants
It is important to separate what you want and what you need in order to stop spending on things you can do without like eating more beans than meat for proteins, since it’s the proteins that you need, not the source of it.
Use public transportation or other ways of getting around
You might not have done this before but it can save you a lot of gas money. Carpool if you can, take the bus or any alternate mode of transportation to save some money.
Buy in massive amounts
Whenever possible, buy in bulk. Not only does it save gas money on frequent trips to the market, but it also costs less if you buy more things at one time.
Be careful of buying things from random websites
Be careful when you buy things online. Never do it on a fixed budget unless it’s a well known brand or if you’ve dealt with them previously because a lot of these companies have hidden charges and recurring costs that they levy on your credit cards once you give all the details. Eventually, you end up getting over charged or paying a monthly bill that was not part of your budget.
Buy used things
When it comes to things like cars and furniture, buy used. It costs much less and if chosen wisely, it lasts long. There is an entire market to cater to such needs so why not conserve whatever little money you can.
Use your resources efficiently
Spend very wisely. Use and reuse your resources to the best of your abilities. If something breaks, see if it or a part of it can be use for some other purpose.
Wherever possible, find a substitute
Instead of buying books and DVDs, get a public library membership and borrow it for free. Since you read/watch it just once, there’s no point in spending money on it.
Keep track of your money
Keep bills from your monthly expenses and check them at the end of the month. That’ll help you to understand your success at running things on a tight budget and you’ll know areas where improvements can be made.
Use cash, not card
Try to make all payments in cash instead of using your credit/debit cards. They might seem convenient but the money for the cards either comes out of your savings or decreases your available credit.
Walk whenever you can
Instead of taking the car when you go someplace nearby, try walking. It’s good exercise and saves you a lot of gas money.
Look for other ventures
If you are good at something, try doing it for money in your spare time. Freelancing is a great option because you can do it when you find some time and it pays you decently enough in the comfort of your own home.
Encourage the children to contribute
If you have children, don’t hide the budgeting from them. Let them know that you have to save money so that they don’t demand frivolous things.
You don’t need gadgets/tons of make up
Don’t invest a lot in fancy gadgets and expensive make up just for the heck of it. If you need to, then save up for a particular item rather than buying a lot of different gadgets that you might never use or a lot of expensive makeup that you wouldn’t wear that often. Go for quality instead of quantity.
Avoid eating snacks outside
Avoid drinking coffee and eating cupcakes when you are outside. It might not seem like a big expense but when added up, these small insignificant expenses can amount to a lot.
Use the off switch
Save energy whenever possible by using the off switch when you are not using something like television, PlayStation and electronic appliances. Remember to switch off the lights when you leave a room. Using energy saving bulbs is also a good idea.
Stay with people you know when traveling
When you are going out for a trip, instead of staying at a hotel, stay at a friend’s place if they stay close by. Hotel bills can add up to much more than you anticipate.
Make gifts rather than buy them
Giving handmade gifts to people is a great idea for saving money. Not only do you save a lot on the gift itself, but the presents become more personalized and make the other person feel good.
Throw a party at home
You cannot expect to stop having fun with friends just because you are on a small budget. Instead of going out for a celebration, invite them home. It’s going to cost you much less and you’ll end up having more fun.
If possible, move to a house in the suburbs or a town where the cost of living is much less.
Do things yourself
You can wash your own car, mow your own lawn and learn to do basic home repairs yourself. This will save you a fortune of money that would have had to be given to people whom you’d hire for these jobs.
Do not borrow money
Understand that whenever you borrow, you’ll have to return the money as well and that might not be easy when running on a tight budget. So, avoid borrowing money altogether.
Avoid getting tickets for parking, driving outside the speed limit and drunk driving. This can save you some hefty fines.
Rent out if you can
If there is a spare room at home, rent it out to get additional income.
Exercise at home
Instead of going to the gym, go for a walk or jogging in the park. There are a lot of exercises like stomach crunches and light weights that you can try doing at home instead of hitting the gym.
Sell things you don’t use
It’s a good idea to sell thing’s you don’t use on sites like eBay and you can use that money for meeting your daily expenses or just save it altogether.
Go to the Farmer’s Market
Buy vegetables worth a week’s supply from there instead of the supermarket. Not only will the vegetables be fresh, they will also be cheap because the Farmer’s Market does not have any middle man. So, you get things at the manufacturer’s price instead of the retail price.