When you’re in debt, saving money is a challenge.
When you’ve committed to a strict budget, saving money can be difficult.
If you think being on a budget means no way to save more money, you’re wrong!
We can help you find hidden savings you may not even know are available.
Here are 17 ways to save money on a tight budget.
We’re going to cover:
- Local Trade School Opportunities
- Check Your Insurance Deductibles
- Smart Grocery Shopping
- Dollar Store Deals (and no deals)
- Generic Cleaning Works
- Finding Ways to Eat Out Cheaply
- Avoiding Late Payment Fees
- Lower Your Tax Bill
- Take Advantage of Free Samples
- Finding Free Entertainment for the Family
- Stop Having the Bank Print Your Checks
- Avoid High ATM Fees
- Paying it Forward for Yourself
- Change Your Withholding
- Fund Your Retirement Account Fully
- Don’t Pay for Tax Preparation
- Become a Bargain Hunter
1. Trade School Opportunities
Trade schools are a great place to get great deals.
You’ll have to plan ahead to get an appointment, but you may be able to get haircuts, general car services like tune-ups, and even minor car repairs.
In some instances, a trade school with a cooking class may even offer discounted fully-prepared meals.
Even if your town doesn’t have a trade school, check surrounding towns. You could save up to half of the cost of going to a local shop for services you’re going to need, even on a budget.
2. Check Your Insurance Deductibles
You could be paying too much for insurance.
Check your homeowner and auto insurance policies and see what your deductibles are.
Remember, as your car ages, you may also save by removing unnecessary insurance.
Make sure you’re getting the best deal available on insurance.
While bundling your policies with one provider may provide you a discount, it’s not effective if you’re paying too much to begin with.
Compare your current insurance rates using The Zebra which provides car insurance comparisons.
3. Smart Grocery Shopping
Food shopping is a major expense for nearly everyone.
Smart use of coupons, using rebates and rain checks, and taking advantage of sales can help you save more money and preserve your budget.
However, there are some other tricks you can use as well.
Local farmer’s markets often have better deals on produce. There are even winter markets.
If you’re in a small household, talk to a neighbor about buying items in bulk and split the costs.
Always check the unit pricing on items! You may not be getting as good a deal as you think.
Consider using an application that will pay you back. No matter where you shop, you can scan receipts and earn a few extra dollars every time you shop.
This is smart saving allowing you to pay down your debt faster.
4. Dollar Store Deals (and no deals)
Dollar stores can be goldmines or traps.
There are items like shampoo, gift bags, wrapping paper and more where you can save money at dollar stores. Avoid items like batteries, tools, and toys since in these cases, you get what you pay for.
Pay attention when purchasing at dollar stores so you’re saving money. Some deals are not as good as they appear.
For example, if you buy a 50-yard roll of foil for $1.00 but the grocery store offers 250-yard rolls for $2.29 you’re better off at the grocery store. Know your pricing!
5. Generic Cleaning Works
While it may be tempting to buy Clorox® bleach or clean-ups, generics can work just as well.
Detergent, shampoo, conditioners and other cleaning items are necessary, but brand names are not necessarily better.
You would be surprised at how much you can save buying generic cleaning products.
Think before you buy, and you’ll find your savings add up faster than you thought.
6. Finding Ways to Eat Out Cheaply
While eating out is a luxury, there are methods you can use to eat out cheaply from time to time.
You can save money by going out to eat during early-bird specials.
If this isn’t an option, check out community groups and religious organizations offering family priced meals as a fundraising event.
Another option is to use restaurant coupons and specials. Check out options to buy gift cards for a local restaurant where you can get a meal for less than full-price.
If you have a credit card that offers cash-back use it to pay for dinner, but immediately pay your credit card bill so you’re not paying interest.
— Get Out of Debt (@getoutofdebtcom) October 9, 2018
7. Avoiding Late Payment Fees
When paying down your debt, late fees can set you back.
Instead of paying late fees, contact your creditors. Ask them about changing due dates so you’re not paying late fees instead of lowering the amount you owe.
While you’re on the phone, ask about lower interest rates on your credit account.
If your minimum monthly payment is $50, and you’re incurring a late charge because your pay date and payment date are different, you could be paying only $15 or less towards your balance. Make sure you’re not losing money.
When you do call your credit card companies, find out if they’ve put “add-ons” to your account. In some cases, you’re paying small amounts for credit card insurance you’ll never use.
Remember, for many years, it was standard practice for credit card companies to add on these fees without accountability.
8. Lower Your Tax Bill
We all pay taxes but there’s no reason to pay more than necessary.
Make sure you’re saving receipts for donations.
If you’re operating a home-office, make sure you keep track of your spending. Don’t overlook expenses for mileage.
Another option is to make sure your property value is accurately listed with the town. You do have the right to dispute unfair or excessive tax valuations.
9. Take Advantage of Free Samples
Free samples give an opportunity to try products before you buy.
One thought is to set up a free email account before requesting samples. That way you are not getting a lot of extra emails in your regular account.
There are many sites where you can get health and beauty products, food coupons, and other free items.
Trying before you buy can save you money since you’re less likely to waste money on items your family doesn’t like or want.
10. Finding Free Entertainment for the Family
Entertainment seems to be one thing we sacrifice when saving money.
You can stick to your budget and still enjoy going out for a film or a show.
Check locally for productions at community colleges and high schools. The variety of plays, sporting events and more will give your family options to enjoy an evening or afternoon out without breaking the bank.
Another way to save money on entertainment is to find local landmarks. Most states have one, or more, options for free day trips which can be entertaining and educational.
Another option is to check with your local library for free passes to museums and other attractions. This may take some pre planning, but the savings will be worth the time.
11. Stop Having the Bank Print Your Checks
You might think your bank’s doing you a favor offering you check printing. Don’t be fooled.
You have options and you should take them! Find out how much your bank charges, then shop around online.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take advantage of pay options offered by your bank. Many times, your bank will offer free bill paying options. Use these whenever possible.
Not only can you save time, and avoid late fees, the bank pays the postage to mail your bills.
12. Avoid High ATM Fees
ATM machines are everywhere. That doesn’t mean you should use them!
Bankrate estimates that 30 percent of all ATM transactions are completed at “out of network” ATMs. This could mean you’re spending more than $4 for every ATM usage.
Go to your own bank and get cash before you go anyplace. This does two things — first, it keeps you on budget. Second, you can avoid high ATM fees that are unnecessary.
Remember, you can often get cash up to certain amounts as a cash-back if you use your debit card when grocery shopping.
13. Paying it Forward for Yourself
There are ways to save money for the future while still maintaining your budget.
For example, if you sign up at upromise, you can save money towards an education for yourself, your children, or your grandchildren.
You might be surprised how quickly you can save money if you use this program effectively.
Another way to pay it forward is to look at your monthly minimum payments. If you assume your average minimum payment on a credit card is $50 and you opt to pay $25 every two weeks at the end of the year, you’ll have paid an extra $50.
While this may not seem like a lot, if you have three or more credit cards it adds up.
This also means you’re going to pay less in interest to the credit card company, meaning more savings for you.
It doesn’t take much to manage your #finances even on a tight #budget. Check out these tips on saving #money: https://t.co/P2jwXdkDxo#debtfree #getoutofdebt #moneymatters #moneymoves pic.twitter.com/YkKJqt07j4
— Get Out of Debt (@getoutofdebtcom) May 23, 2018
14. Change Your Withholding
When was the last time you checked your payroll withholding? There are two options you can choose.
First, you can opt for a bigger paycheck weekly. This is done by using exact dependents. For example, if you’re married, with two children, that’s how you should claim on your W4.
If you prefer to get a bigger tax refund, to pay down debt or fund your IRA account, then consider having more withheld (meaning a smaller paycheck).
This is the same as loaning money to the IRS but can help you save money while sticking to a budget. You can verify how much of an impact changing your withholding will have on your bottom line, and your savings.
15. Fund Your Retirement Account Fully
Your retirement account helps pay for your future. This is important, since we all need to have a nest egg.
However, you could be leaving money on the table, or you could be missing out on income-reducing options.
Having the maximum amount withheld from your paycheck reduces your tax obligation.
If you have a separate IRA account, use the maximum annual contribution to secure your future and reduce your tax burden.
A fully-funded retirement account means less worry about saving money later. Budget for these contributions every month.
16. Don’t Pay for Tax Preparation
Too often we pay someone to file our taxes. However, there are free tax filing options which many qualify for but don’t use.
Only those who have complex tax situations should be paying for tax preparation.
If you have a local tax preparer you like, then try to negotiate a lower rate for filing. Many times, if you prepare early, or opt to file an extension, they will give you a lower rate for filing your taxes.
17. Become a Bargain Hunter
The best way to save money on a budget is to avoid paying full price.
While coupons and rebates help, this shouldn’t mean you overlook clearance sales. If your local options are too limited, check around online for your favorite items on clearance.
Shoes, clothing, office supplies and more are often available online at reduced prices which could save you hundreds of dollars a year.
Don’t overlook holiday shopping saving. For example, purchase Christmas decorations immediately after Christmas. Stock up on wrapping paper, gift bags and other non-perishable items and store them in the back of a closet until next year.
Sales can mean 75% off an item that would otherwise blow your budget.
You can also find online tools to help you find the best prices on items you need.
For example, NexTag is one comparison shopping site where you can find the best prices on just about any home item, gift item or clothing.
Debt free living doesn’t have to mean you shouldn’t enjoy your free time with friends and family. It simply means you must be creative about the ways to save money on a tight budget.
Start planning today for tomorrow and before you know it, you’ll be on your way to a debt-free life.
What have you done to help you save money? Let us know in the comments!