Concerns about money are a nearly universal experience. The good news is, you’re not alone and you don’t have to solve everything yourself. There are many ways to not only survive but thrive on when living on a budget. Here are 30 ways to save money on a tight budget.
Financial difficulties can come out of the blue or following a major life event. Such as: welcoming a new baby to the family, sending children to school, starting a new business, or finding ourselves unexpectedly without work.
How do you save money on a tight budget?
Although this may seem like an impossible task, there are actually many creative ways to start building up your savings no matter what your starting point is.
Try a 'no spend' month
Saving is about more than just accumulating earnings. It’s also about holding onto what you already have and not going into debt if you don’t have to. Committing to a month where you don’t spend money on any non-essential items can be a very eye-opening and empowering experience. It will motivate you to use what you already have, such as clothes you rarely wear or gadgets you hardly use. And it will show you that you can maintain a good quality of life without having to overspend.
Move to a more affordable location
One thing that holds a lot of people back from improving their financial situation is believing that some expenses are fixed and unchangeable, like their home. It is important to remember that no expense is truly fixed, and there are lots of options for saving if you’re willing to consider new possibilities. Plus, many people find it a relief to move to an area that is within their means rather than remaining in an expensive neighborhood that they struggle to afford.
Change Your Mindset
Our minds are powerful and they tend to put our beliefs into action and create the conditions that we believe to be inevitable. If you think that saving is hopeless since you’ve never been able to do it before, then it’s very likely that your experience will reflect that belief. Try changing that belief and see what happens. Decide, for example, that you will save just $5 in the next week. Setting small, achievable goals will help you build momentum toward much bigger savings.
How do I stop living paycheck to paycheck?
If you’re struggling to save money on a low income, you might find yourself living from paycheck to paycheck. This is a stressful situation, as it leaves you feeling as if you just barely have enough to get by. It’s also very easy to overspend and end up in debt.
The good news is, you can get out of this cycle and start building up your savings. Here’s a three-step plan to get you there.
1. Make a budget
When you need to save money on a tight budget, it’s essential to actually have a budget. It’s not hard to put one together. Look at your expenses and plan how much money you will need every month for each of your bills. Don’t forget to factor that in some bills, such as heating, go up and down throughout the year.
2. Earn extra income with a part-time job
Give yourself some breathing room by picking up part-time work that brings in extra money. There are plenty of options, such as waiting tables, working as a barista, becoming a tutor, and more. Think about what you’re good at and what you like to do and then start job hunting.
3. Commit to saving each month
Now that you’ve got a budget and a little extra cash flow, start building up your savings and free yourself from the stress and anxiety of living paycheck to paycheck. Choose a percentage of your earnings (aim for at least 10%) to put straight into a savings account as soon as you’re paid so you’re not tempted to spend it.
30 Easy Ways to Save Money on a Tight Budget
Here is a collection of actionable tips that you can start using today to save money on a low salary.
1. Stop eating out
Dining at restaurants and shops adds up quickly. Cook most of your meals at home and watch your savings start to grow immediately.
2. Shop for groceries on a weekly basis
Take a list with you to ensure that you only buy what you need. Buy a week’s worth of fresh produce at a time so you’re less likely to overbuy and end up wasting food.
3. Take advantage of end-of-day sales
Bakeries and other food shops often discount their prices at the end of the day to sell off their remaining items. This is the best time to get a good deal.
4. Find a cheaper phone plan
You can call your provider to see if they’ll offer you a better deal. You can also try switching to a new provider, as they often offer discounts and bonuses to new customers.
5. Negotiate your car insurance rate
Once again, negotiation is key. Talk to a representative from your insurance provider and ask what your options are. There are usually ways to broker a better rate for yourself.
6. Switch to a no-fee bank account
Monthly bank fees are another thing that can chip away at our savings without us even noticing. Many banks and credit unions now offer no-fee accounts that let you hold onto your money. Do some investigating online to find out what your options are.
7. Don’t browse either at malls or online
Window shopping and ‘just looking’ can easily lead to unnecessary impulse purchases. Remove the temptation and don’t go shopping unless you really need something.
8. Do some of your own grooming
Personal services such as manicures, facials, and haircuts are a luxury. You can save money and still look great by doing them yourself at home.
9. Keep an eye on your spending
Simply taking note of where your money goes is a powerful way to save money. Once you see how little purchases here and there add up to huge amounts, you’ll be much more careful about how you choose to spend.
10. Comparison shop
Products are often priced differently depending on where you get them. Before making a purchase, visit a few different shops that carry the same item and check online to find which place offers the lowest price.
11. Cancel subscriptions you don’t use
Automatic monthly charges can drain away your savings without you even noticing. Take stock of all the streaming services, online platforms, magazines and other subscriptions you regularly pay for and cancel the ones you don’t make frequent use of.
12. Pay down debt as fast as possible
This is an example of how spending money now can save you much more money later. Paying off your debts as quickly as possible saves you huge amounts in interest, so make it a priority to reduce and eliminate your debt.
13. Set up a system of sharing with friends and family
If you need an expensive item that you will only use some of the time (such as power tools, pressure washers, special kitchen appliances, etc.), arrange to buy the item jointly with friends and family, so you can split the cost and get more use out of it by sharing.
14. Shop in bulk and split with friends
Another good way to get your friends in on the savings is to buy non-perishable items in bulk (which is usually much cheaper) and share them, along with the costs.
15. Learn how to fix things yourself
Hiring a repair person is often expensive and inconvenient. You can save on money and time by learning to do simple repairs around the home yourself. There are lots of online tutorials that can show you how.
16. Sell off items you no longer use
It feels great to get the clutter out of your home, and it’s easy to earn extra cash by selling your gently used things to a thrift shop or an online auction site.
17. Pay yourself first
Prioritize your financial health by putting 10% of everything you earn into savings. This money adds up over time and is a really important way you can start saving with a low income.
18. Set savings goals for yourself
It’s much easier to make good decisions when you have a goal you’re reaching for. Commit to saving a certain amount next month and remember this goal every time you’re tempted to make a non-essential purchase.
19. Take a savings challenge
Some people do a lot better when they’re accountable to someone or something outside themselves. If you’re this kind of person, a savings challenge is your best friend. Not only will you be part of a group of other people working toward the same goal, but you’ll benefit from more details and tips about how to boost your savings.
20. Only use cash to make purchases
It’s been proven that people spend more when they buy with credit cards and debit cards. Tapping your card at checkout is quick and easy and it doesn’t let you see the money leaving your account. Using only cash is a good way to keep track of your spending and to limit yourself, since it’s harder to ignore the fact that you’re spending when you have to hand over the actual bills.
21. Schedule money meetings with your household
Every week or every month, sit down with your partner or anyone else who is involved in your household spending and go over your finances together. This will help avoid unexpected surprises and keep you accountable.
22. Reflect on your spending habits
All of us have ‘triggers’ around money. It could be that you spend more when you’re lonely or stressed out. Identifying your triggers can help you avoid them, and keep more money in your account.
23. Cut back on alcohol and other expensive drinks
It’s amazing how much money can slip away on a daily cocktail or bubble tea. These treats are actually very expensive indulgences that only provide a few moments of pleasure before they’re gone. Decide to limit these splurges to once a week or, better yet, avoid them entirely.
24. Use coupons
Whether you clip coupons from store flyers or download them from online sites, they are a great way to save money when you’re on a tight budget. You can often save $100 or more every month on essential items such as soap and detergent.
25. Find free activities to do
If you usually spend money going to movies, concerts, or arcades in your leisure time, replace those activities with no-cost alternatives. Museums and art galleries often have weekly open houses where you don’t have to pay an admission fee. Playing frisbee or reading in the park are other fun ways to spend time that don’t require money.
26. Reduce your energy consumption at home
You can trim down your energy bills by turning off the lights in unused rooms, changing out your air filters for more efficient air flow, and using ceiling fans instead of air conditioners.
27. Use public transportation
Even if you’re a car owner, leave it at home as much as possible and opt for public transportation. You’ll save a lot of money in gas and parking fees as well as wear and tear on your vehicle.
28. Get a deep freezer and fill it with prepped meals
You’ll be less likely to impulsively buy food and snacks on the go if you know you have frozen items that can be easily reheated for quick meals at home.
29. Choose generic brands
Whether it’s food items or prescription drugs, choose generic over name-brand items. The quality level is almost always identical for a much lower price point.
30. Exercise at home
Stop paying gym fees and do your workouts at home. Household items such as water jugs can double as weights and you can access thousands of free exercise routines online.
What can I do to earn extra money?
Picking up part-time work is a great way to earn some extra money on the side. Finding opportunities is easier than ever, with sites like GrabJobs that connect job seekers with openings in a range of fields.
Here is a top ten list of part-time jobs you can apply to right now to start earning extra money:
1. Part-Time Waitress & Server - Sport Bistro
Salary: $12 – $25 per hour
Potential to earn in one month: $2,000
2. Retail Executive (Part-Time) - La Parfumerie Pte Ltd
Salary: $2,000 – $3,000 per month
Potential to earn in one month: $3,000
3. Part-Time Swim Coach (No Experience Needed) - Swim It Right
Salary: From $22 per hour
Potential to earn in one month: $1,800
4. Part-Time Dog Daycare Attendant - Up For Paws Dog Daycare
Salary: $7 – $9 per hour hour
Potential to earn in one month: $720
5. Hawker Captain - WhyQ Pte Ltd
Salary: $12 per hour
Potential to earn in one month: $960
6. Newspaper Delivery - G.Periathambi News Agency
Salary: $550 – $600 per month
Potential to earn in one month: $600
7. Warehouse Staff - Blackwolves Xpress Pte Ltd
Salary: $70 – $100 per day
Potential to earn in one month: $2,000
8. Part-Time Florist - Ana Hana Flower
Salary: $600 – $800 per month
Potential to earn in one month: $800
9. Shop Assistant - The Laser Clinique
Salary: $8 – $12 per hour
Potential to earn in one month: $960
10. Part-Time Service Crew - The Oyster Bank
Salary: $10 per hour
Potential to earn in one month: $800
How can I save $1,000 fast?
Saving $1,000 on a low income may seem like a difficult goal to reach, so let’s break it down into smaller steps to see just how achievable this is.
Set a daily savings goal
If you want to save $1,000 in the next 30 days, that works out to just $33 per day.
Use part-time work to help you get there
Check out some of the jobs listed above—there are plenty of options that can help you reach $1,000 or more in just one month.
Challenge yourself to reduce your spending
Cutting out takeaway meals and personal treats is another way that can get you to your $33 a day saving goal.
Put our advice into action
Use as many of the money-saving tips provided above as you can.
Before you know it, you’ll hit your $1,000 savings goal!
There are lots of ways to save money on a tight budget, and it’s easier than you think to get started. Once you see your efforts start to pay off (literally!), you’ll be motivated to keep going and grow your savings even more.
Start thinking of your bright financial future ahead, and get inspired to make some changes today. Start by finding a great part-time job and use the tips listed above to start saving on a tight budget.