Saving Money While on a Budget
If you’re on a tight budget, you might think that saving money isn’t possible. That’s understandable. When you’re budgeting closely and using all of your available income to pay for bills, expenses, and debt repayment, it might feel like saving for the future isn’t something you can afford to do right now.
However, having savings is critical. If you don’t have any savings, you’re leaving yourself vulnerable. If something unexpected happens, and you have no savings, you could end up unable to pay for a sudden expense. This will likely mean that you’ll end up having to take on debt to make ends meet, which could lead to financial trouble in the future. If you’re on a tight budget right now, you likely don’t want to find your budget eaten up by high interest payments going forward.
The good news is that there are certainly ways to save money, even if you’re on a budget.
Think of What You Can Do Without
It can often be tough to find places to make cuts when you’re living on a tight budget. However, one strategy that might help is to look at your spending and see if there is anything you can do without. Cable packages, phone plans, and various subscription services are all potential places to start. You don’t have to cut these expenses entirely, but you may wish to make some changes. For instance, do you always use all of the data on your phone plan? If not, you might be able to switch to a cheaper plan and save some money each month. If you’re paying for cable TV channels that you never watch, consider switching to a different package. The same is true for music and movie subscription services. Most people subscribe to several different services, but you may not watch or listen to everything you’re paying for. If you’re not, you can make cuts and save.
Even if you are using a service or watching a cable channel, could you modify your habits and put some of this money towards your emergency savings fund instead? Even a few extra dollars each month will add up over time.
Cook at Home
Eating out is expensive. If you regularly buy your meals out, head to the grocery store and start preparing your meals at home instead. You can save quite a lot of money by bringing your lunch to work instead of getting fast food, for example. Even if you only eat out a few times a week, cooking at home will still save you quite a lot.
Don’t be intimidated by cooking at home. It doesn’t have to be complicated or time consuming. There are so many different recipes to be found online and many of them are quick and easy. Start with a few simple dishes, do some meal prep in advance to save time, and you’ll soon find yourself with some money left in your budget each month to apply towards your savings.
Look at your Utility Bills
How much do you pay every month in utilities? A lot of people can save money each month by being more energy efficient. Adjusting the temperature a few degrees warmer in the summer and colder in the winter will be barely noticeable in your home, for example, but this change can make a big deal when it comes to your bill.
If your electricity provider charges different amounts depending on the day and time (often called “time of use billing”) find out the schedule and do energy-intensive chores when electricity is less expensive. This could mean running washing machines, dryers, and dishwashers, on evenings and weekends, for example.
Look for Free Activities
If you can trim your entertainment bill by even a few dollars each week, you’ll have more money to put towards savings. Check out local websites and newspapers for free activities taking place nearby.
Your local library can be a good resource as well. Many libraries allow you to borrow more than just books and at no cost at all. See if your library offers DVDs, music, eBooks, or even streaming services. These free options can be a great way to entertain yourself while giving you some extra cash to put in your emergency savings fund. Remember, every little bit counts!