It’s hard to save money.
Especially when you’re on a tight budget.
It’s no fun when payday comes around and you feel like all your money goes straight out on rent, bills, food and paying off debts.
I’ve been there too and the thought of being able to save money on this tight budget feels almost impossible.
But as we’ve all been told by ‘financial experts’ – Savings play a significant role in helping during an emergency or to prepare for your future.
It is challenging for you to know how or where you can start saving money, especially on a tight budget.
Tight budgets are an all too common part of life and are overwhelming. It is always disheartening, especially when you expect some income at the end of the month or any payday, but is swallowed up by expenses.
But still, there is a way you can deal with this situation; every problem has a solution. Keep reading for some of the best ways to use and save money on your small budget.
Slash a little bit on every category of your expenditure
This is a brilliant way to save money without making dramatic changes to your life.
The idea is simple.
What you need to do here is to consider the total expenditures on all expenses you go through in daily life.
Take every aspect of expenditure in your life into account. Rather than cutting out things completely you simply reduce your expenses a tiny bit in each category like food, travel, bills, luxuries, weekend spending.
It might sound tricky to reduce in all those areas but consider things a little more closely. For food, try simply buying one less item on your weekly shop. Walk instead of driving everywhere. Put a jumper on instead of running the heating all the time. Have one less beer or glass of wine on a Friday night.
If you decide to adjust the money that goes to each expenditure by lowering them by a small percentage, you might find it easier than making bigger changes. Plus, if you continue to save money in this way it will become a natural habit in the long run.
Cut off your luxurious activities
Luxury life may be part of living stylishly, and it makes you happy, right?
Of course, luxury costs more money and you can’t be spoiling yourself so much on a tight budget. Maybe it’s getting your nails done at the salon or going out for dinner. At first, it might be tough to forego these elements of your life so I suggest replacing them with free or cheaper activities. For example, home cook yourself a delicious meal for you and your friends instead of going out.
Choose to use public means of transport
Most of us can’t live without a car. It’s essential in going about our daily lives, going to work, driving the kids around and running errands.
Here’s the thing. Cars are expensive there’s fuel, insurance, maintenance and more. I’ve lived with and without a car over my life and I can tell you that it ain’t so bad using public transport.
In fact, taking the bus is far more relaxing and enjoyable than driving everywhere (Well, except for when it’s raining and the bus is late)
Using your car less or getting rid of it may seem like a pain but quickly you’ll start seeing the many benefits of walking and public transport. The biggest benefit is saving a ton of money plus you’ll be more healthy taking with added exercise and less stressed without road rage.
If you do manage to save some money consider electric bikes and electric cars for even more efficient travel.
Create a budget
The key to saving money, no matter what the reason, is a budget.
Without a budget you’ll spend freely until money runs out. We’ve all been there, penny pinching until pay day.
So how do you budget?
It’s simple write down a complete list of expenses – rent, food, bills, subscriptions, luxuries, travel etc. It should be easy to do, grab your bank statement and start totaling it up.
Next, remove any unnecessary expenses and you’ve got your budget. Compare that number to your income to see how much money you have (or have not). This is an amount you can start to save if you stick to your monthly budget.
It’s a good idea to go one step further and work out how much you’ll spend on each category.
Don’t be too hard on yourself if you slip up and don’t quite stick to your budget. Do your best and you’ll start to see your savings grow.
Buy in bulk
Have you ever realized buying small quantities of food and other household items ends up in a loss or too much expenditure? If you didn’t know, now you are aware.
For instance, imagine one packet of milk goes at 1 dollar, while twenty-four of them goes at 10 dollars when bought in bulk. So buying one packet will be more expensive than purchasing the twenty-four packets at ten dollars. On average, bulk buying can save you up to 30% or even more on your daily expenses. Besides that, bulk buying will also save on transportation costs because it will reduce your visits to the shop.
Pay off your debts
Debts are enemies of progress and saving.
High-interest debts such as credit cards eat up much of your monthly income and hinder saving.
If you have a balance on your credit card, you might be surprised at how much you will be spending paying it off.
So for you to save on your tight budget, first take the necessary steps to pay off the debts quickly to avoid these debt charges.
For instance, many credit cards charge well over 15% apr. Imagine how much money you will be wasting on these interests and how useful it would have been if you had no debt.
So if you have any debt, take some time to look at the figures and how much it is costing you. Before you save money, you must pay down your debts first otherwise you’re fighting a losing battle. If you’re lucky you might get an interest rate earning you 1% on your savings while your debt is costing you 15%. That’s a big loss!
Use a separate bank account or prepaid card
Once upon a time I’d say use cash for your expenses so that you can’t over spend. Once its gone, its gone.
In recent years using prepaid bank cards is a brilliant way of sticking to a budget. The idea is to store your money for expenses on a separate card that is not connected to your main bank account. This way, you can only spend what’s on your card. Leave your other bank and credit cards at home so you’re not tempted to break your budget, especially on a night out with friends.
Or go back to old fashioned cash…
Although it might not be possible to pay utility bills or rent in cash, using cash for other expenses helps reduce expenditure. Using cash limits the way you spend and makes you aware of your choices.
Using your card when purchasing items might get you in the trap of buying things without thinking about the price, even more so now with contactless payments.
Switch to cash only to cut back expenses.
Buy only the essentials
When on a tight budget, you will want to use every opportunity to save, and buying only essentials is one of the opportunities.
Payday often comes with a lot of excitement, and you can find yourself buying a basket full of items you don’t need or even want. So, take your time and think of the necessary items you need in your house and only purchase them. Stop that habit of buying what you did not include in your budget. Plus, switch away from big brand name products to the essential own-brand grocery products on your weekly shop, it can literally save you hundreds!
Direct debit to locked savings
One of my favorite tricks is to set a direct debit to a savings account that locks my money away. That way the money goes into my savings and I’m unable to touch it without a penalty.
I started by simply doing $1/£1 a day which totals to well over 300 bucks a year. it felt quite easy to put that small amount away each day, so easy that i quickly doubled and tripled it.
Now money goes out of my account into my savings each month automatically, no matter what.
A word of caution though. It’s so automatic and simple that I’ve sometimes forgotten which leads to me spending over my budget and landing in my over draft. No fun, but you’ll quickly learn from your mistakes.
When you find yourself on a tight budget, finding additional and practical ways of saving are challenging. But despite that, it is essential to at least set aside something for the future regardless of the amount of income you get. You can easily save with the above ways even when working hard to survive on a tight budget.