When it comes to saving money, it might seem easier said than done. This is especially true for those already on a tight budget and watching their spending. However, taking a comprehensive approach to saving can help. This means that you look at every aspect of your spending habits and lifestyle and highlight areas where you can trim the fat a little bit.
As one of today’s leading monthly budget software providers, the team from CalendarBudget has helped many find ways to save money on a tight budget. That’s why we wanted to share some of our insight and gather some savings tips for you here.
1) Set up a Budget & Stick to It
One of the best ways to save money on a tight budget is to set a monthly budget and stick to it. Using the help of a budget calculator to determine your expenses is a good idea. Also, look for opportunities where you can reduce your expenses by determining whether some weekly/monthly purchases are a necessity or not.
2) Pay Bills on Time to Avoid Late Fees
For those who might be more forgetful at times or have a hectic schedule, it can be tough to remember to pay bills on time. Unfortunately, this often results in late fees that essentially mean you’re throwing money out the window. However, you can use transaction reminders with your monthly budget software to make sure you don’t forget.
3) Avoid Overdraft Fees
Like late fees, overdraft fees are an unnecessary expense that can be easily avoided by identifying the low points in your budget so you can avoid dropping below a specific balance. Many banks also offer overdraft protection to account holders, so be sure to look into that as well.
4) Save Money on Groceries
One of the best ways to save on groceries is by developing a meal plan to help minimize food waste. Then, create a weekly shopping list and only take a trip to the grocery store once a week, sticking to your list. When at the grocery store, try to buy items on sale, discount brands, and in bulk that won’t spoil to save on your overall food costs. Also, sticking to eating home-cooked meals will help you reduce those expenses even more and is much cheaper than going out to eat or ordering delivery.
5) Save on Gifts
Another great way to trim the fat a little and save more is by making homemade gifts for friends and family members rather than buying them. You can also figure out fun, free events to bring your friends or family members to and plan a day of it as a gift, or go in on presents with other people to reduce the cost.
6) Have an Emergency Savings Plan
Also known as a rainy day fund, an emergency savings plan is money you set aside that helps you deal with unexpected expenses, such as suffering a health setback or losing your job. This can help you weather the storm until you’re back on your feet again. Prepare for emergencies by having cash reserves that can last you anywhere from three months to a year.
7) Buy Gently Used
These days more than ever, it simply isn’t necessary to buy new all the time. Even when it comes to things like cars and computers, purchasing refurbished or pre-owned items can help you save while still ensuring you get a high-quality product. Likewise, buying used can make the unattainable reachable.
8) Avoid Debt
Avoiding debt is an entirely avoidable expense, especially with the added interest charges and late fees. This is especially true if you’re in debt and need to pay high credit card premiums or other payments that add up each month. So, it’s essential to live within your means. A few ways of doing this are to pay with cash or a debit card to reduce interest fees and use the avalanche method to make more than the minimum payments on your cards each month.
Some of the people you know might be willing to barter for goods and services. For example, those with children can trade babysitting or house cleaning services for meals with family or friends.
10) Home Entertainment
When it comes to entertainment, try to think of ways to do things at home, like trading going to the theatre or the movies for family hikes or bike rides. You can also go on a “staycation” instead of taking your usual annual vacation.
11) Get Freebies
Keep in touch with friends and family and when they’re moving or remodeling their home, ask if they have anything they might be willing to pass on to you. You’d be surprised at how many things wind up on the curb in such situations. Additionally, take advantage of reward programs at stores and gas stations.
12) Home Repairs
Taking some time to learn some basic DIY home repair and handyman skills is often beneficial. Also, use things until they’re unable to be used anymore; wear them out. You can also learn how to make your own clothes and patch up older clothing items to extend their lifespan.
13) Research Before You Buy
When buying things, regardless of whether it’s a new car or the weekly groceries, always do a bit of research and compare and contrast to find the best prices. This is especially true when it comes to more costly items.
14) Don’t Buy What You Don’t Need
This is where people usually have the most trouble: identifying the difference between wants and needs. So when trying to save on a budget, focus only on essential items rather than making purchases that could have waited until down the road, when you’re on a firmer financial footing.
15) Watch for Seasonal Sales on Items
There are always seasonal sales, on everything from cars to clothes. Keep track of when they occur each season and consider buying things in advance; purchase summer clothes during the winter sale season, for example.
16) Buy vs. Rent
Do you need to buy a new house or car, or can you rent things for the next year or so? Often, renting short-term can help make saving more manageable, as long as you’re not overpaying. However, when deciding to rent or buy, also consider the cost over the long term. Which is more cost-effective, and which can you afford now?
17) Stay Healthy & Active
Another great way to avoid unnecessary expenses is to stay healthy. Getting plenty of rest, eating well, and exercising will help you prevent health problems and added healthcare costs.
Contact us today for more ways to save money on a tight budget
If you’re pinching pennies to pad your savings account, the budgeting software from CalendarBudget can help. Learn more by visiting us online and signing up for your FREE 30-day trial today.