10 Thrifty Ideas for Saving Money on a Tight Budget

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If you are on a tight budget and you need to find those “extra” dollars that seem elusive or non-existent, here are some neat tips as to how you can do just that.  Some of these 10 tips can be applied to your personal budget as well as your business budget.  The goal to keep in mind is that the dollars you manage to free up by using these tips will give you the opportunity to put those dollars towards something better.

10 Thrifty Money Saving Tips

discount tag

1. Ask for discounts with your cable, phone, and insurance providers. You never know, they just might grant your request. If they value you as a customer, they may be willing to lower the cost rather than risk you taking your business elsewhere. For instance, if your cell phone service provider is unwilling or unable to give you a discount on your cell phone bill, you may have to consider finding another provider that provides the same service at a cheaper rate. AT&T used to be my service provider; I am now using another provider that is much cheaper.

2. If you own real estate property, challenge the value of the property to get your property taxes reduced. Oftentimes, the property tax is erroneously high, and if you successfully challenge the property tax assessment, the amount of money saved can be substantial.

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3. Instead of paying your utility bill in full (which can vary from month to month), ask to be enrolled in the company’s “budget billing” program. This program is designed to allow you to make equal monthly payments spread out over the course of a year. The equal payments will help you stabilize your budget and eliminate the highs and lows that can occur.

 

4.  Resist the urge to spend your tax return money unnecessarily. Instead, put this money into a savings account. If you do this regularly, you will eventually have built up a savings nest egg that can be reserved for emergencies only. In addition, if you do have an emergency, you won’t have to use your credit cards and incur more debt.

5. Open several checking accounts to separate your funds in order to help you keep track of your funds. Do your research to find a bank that offers no fee checking accounts with no minimum balance requirement. The purpose of having separate checking accounts is to:

  • help you “remember” to save for periodic payments (quarterly or twice/year)
  • help you keep track of your personal spending (expenses incurred on a bank debit card)
  • help you make scheduled electronic loan payments and avoid costly insufficient funds charges and postage

With a Periodic Payment Account, figure out what is the actual cost of the payment per month and then just deposit or transfer the exact amount of the payment into the account each month. As the payments become due, they can be deducted from the account as a lump sum. With the Personal Spending Account, you can use your bank debit card to make everyday purchases and track the balance instantly. This will help you see where this money is going and it will not be hidden or “lost” in your household account.

6.  Make a real effort to save some dollars from your paychecks each month if at all possible.  This money could be used for either an emergency or pleasure; just make sure that you put this money into a separate account so that it does not get “accidentally” spent.

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7.  Get rid of unused “stuff” and sell it on eBay or at a garage sale.  If you have a lot of stuff around the house that you are no longer using (and is still in relatively good condition), you can sell your stuff on eBay. Some good items that can be sold for example are, old music CD’s or movie videos/DVD’s, clothing, etc. What you consider junk can be a treasure to someone else.

8.  Avoid impulse spending. Master the 30-day rule.  If you are up in the air about buying something, wait 30 days. After 30 days, that is usually enough time to see whether or not you feel the same about making that purchase. More often than not, the urge to make that purchase will have passed and you will have saved yourself some money simply by waiting.

9.  Avoid buying fast foods and convenience foods. Much money is wasted here as people tend to be lazy and do not want to cook–either because they feel they can’t or they just don’t want to spend time cooking. You do not have to be a gourmet chef; there are dozens of simple recipes online and in cookbooks that teach you how to cook healthier meals. One hour of cooking for example, can leave you with several days of meals and possible snacks for the following week.

brown bag lunch

10.  Brown bag your lunch at work. This is another big money waster. It amazes me that some of my coworkers spend as much as $35-$40 per week ($7-$8 per day) on buying lunch. That same money can be used instead to buy the food you need in bulk to prepare your lunches for the week.

 

Final Thoughts

Currently, I am on a tight budget myself, and I am always looking for ways to stretch what little dollars I have available. I can personally attest to using tip #’s 3, 5, 7, and 10. Overall, I have saved a lot of money that I would not have had otherwise.

This list is not all inclusive; also, some of these tips may not be possible for everyone. The most important thing is to implement the tips that you can do. There are many more ways that you can save money if your budget is tight. In fact, you probably can think of other ways that I have not mentioned. If you know of other ways to stretch your dollars, I would love to hear about them. Feel free to share your money saving tips, comments, or questions in the field below; I will be happy to respond in kind.

The sooner you get started, the better off you will be.

Have a great day,

Deidre

Sources:
1. “How to Save Money: 100 Great Tips to Get You Started” by Trent Hamm, posted May 21,2015 in The Simple Dollar newsletter.  www.thesimpledollar.com
2. “Budget Tips” by Janet Harper, Superior Debt Relief Services, Jan. 2012  www.superiordebtrelief.com
Images courtesy of www.clker.com

 

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16 thoughts on “10 Thrifty Ideas for Saving Money on a Tight Budget

  1. bidnesslady says:

    Great article. I am always looking for new ways to be frugal. Lol. I do often ask for discounts,use coupons, and I love cash back websites. There are so many options to save money. I use to drive a Taxi cab and one thing I had daily was a pocket full of change, so from then I just made a habit of throwing my loose chain in a jar.

    I need to know about frugality and saving money so I can pass those tips on to my children. I already show them how to save (though they just want to spend) by cashing in soda cans and they split the money, but I require them to save some of it. So if they get $6 in cans, they can each spend $1.50 or less and the rest must be saved. Thank you for the info. 🙂

    • Deidre says:

      Hi bidnesslady,

      I think that it’s great that you like to save money are also teaching your children how to save some of the money they earn. However, it is also important to know how to wisely invest the money that you save so that it will even make you more money passively, meaning that you do not have to physically work for it. When I say invest, I am talking about other vehicles which give you a higher rate of return other than just putting your money into a bank account. I would suggest reading the book, “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki. He talks about how he learned about how money works from his friend’s father (rich dad) and compared it with what he learned from his own father (poor dad). Keep doing what you are doing and never stop learning 🙂

      Deidre

  2. Alex says:

    Hello Deidre,

    The tip that my fiance and I use the most is tip #6. We have an automatic savings plan that we treat as a bill and if it means that we have to cut cable in order to have that money available on the day that money moves, so be it. We did this when we were on tight budget and now that our income has substantially increased, we still do the same thing. However, nowadays, we don’t have to sacrifice the cable or date night to make it happen

    Great article. All of these tips are very useful. I’m going to call my insurance provider later this week to see if I can get some sort of discount. I didn’t know that you could do that.

    Alex

    • Deidre says:

      Hi Alex,

      I am so glad that you are actually doing some of the tips I suggested in this article. You are living proof that these tips do work. As for calling your insurance provider about a discount, go right ahead. It really cannot hurt you to ask. If they really value your business, they should do all they can to keep you as a customer. If they tell you no discount, then you are within your right to shop around for cheaper insurance. Let me know how it turns out.

      Deidre

  3. My tip: Don’t buy a book, if you can get in in your local library. And even if they don’t have it you can suggest it and they sometimes buy it for you and the other locals. And if the book has gigantic value for you (you want to mark on every site), then you can buy it late anyway.

    • Deidre says:

      Hi Dirk,
      Great tip…even though I like books in general, they eventually become dust catchers once you finish reading them. So libraries and audiobooks
      have become great alternatives to buying books. Thanks again for the tip.

  4. Chris says:

    Really liked the information provided here – made a change from the usual save money garbage you find online ( like buy your stuff from garage sales and turn down the heating lol ). I especially liked the splitting up of the accounts so you can properly keep track of things – a really good idea that I may well try out myself!

    • Deidre says:

      Hi Chris,

      I can personally attest to this–having a separate account for making everyday purchases has been a blessing for me. I use a prepaid debit account for this and I only get charged $6 a month for the service. (PM me if you want to know more about the prepaid debit service I use). The sooner you get started, I think you will find out that it will work well for you. Thanks for commenting. Good luck!

  5. I love this article. It is really helpful and there are some common sense stuff that we know we should be doing but this is a good reminder. Brown bagging lunch is probably the most valuable thing to me because I LOVE to eat out.

    The tax return is awesome as well. Especially because we get it pretty much right after the Holidays. I always want to spend the money on something ridiculous. Emergency funds are the best!

    Thanks for this!

    • Deidre says:

      Hi Veronica,
      I’m glad that you’ve found these tips helpful. In regards to brown bagging lunch, this has saved me a lot of money because the
      eateries near my workplace usually on average charge from $7 to $8 for lunch (entree and/or salad and a drink). However, I like to
      eat out as well. So what I like to do on occasion is to bring something from home, like a sandwich and a drink, and then supplement it by
      purchasing a salad. It’s also amazing to me how hard retail stores try to get you to spend your tax return money. It’s not a crime but
      people should at least put away SOME of that money towards savings, even if it’s only a small amount, like $50. Best wishes for success.

  6. GT says:

    I think this article should be shared with almost every american. I have been through Dave Ramsey’s financial peace university and that was a wonderful resource. It has been a couple of years since that was completed so this was a great reminder. People don’t realize that packing a lunch is probably one of the most beneficial things you can do for your budget.

    • Deidre says:

      Hi GT,

      I also make an effort to pack my lunch daily. I don’t know how people do it, but they spend upwards of 6 to 8 dollars per day ($30-$40 per week) just on lunch. They don’t realize that this money could instead be invested either in a retirement account or other investment vehicle that will give them a better rate of return.

      Can you tell me more about Dave Ramsey’s program? It sounds interesting. You can send me a PM. Thanks for your kind words regarding my post.

      Deidre

  7. Richard H says:

    These are all great ideas for saving little bits of money here and there. My favorite one is number 1. As soon as I read it I was nodding my head saying I do that all the time. I say “I’m not happy with my current internet, I think that (competition) might give me a better deal”

    I’m so surprised at how good that works. Also bundling everything together can get you a very good discount. Using your cellphone and cable/internet through the same company help get everything for cheaper instead of using different companies for each one. Do you have a bundle discount?

    • Deidre says:

      Yes, I do have a bundle discount–it is with my cable/land line phone/internet. There was a time when I cancelled my cable service because I could no longer afford it. This was a blessing in disguise because I learned how to stream TV shows from the internet. I ended up getting a Roku box which I think is one of the best decisions I have ever made. I continue to save money because I no longer need 2 cable boxes; I can see my TV shows through the Roku box on one TV and 1 cable box for the other TV.

      I am glad that using this method has worked for you. Do you know that this method can also work with credit card companies in regards to lowering interest rates?

      Deidre

  8. Bev. says:

    Hi, I really love your website and actually found the tips quite handy. I like it that although the article was a bit lengthy, never one time did I loose interest in reading. You did a wonderful job with your transition of thoughts and making it interesting. I love that you included your reference source as well. Just one very minor thing, I noticed in one of your articles a couple of the words used may be difficult for the lay person to define, like myself (lol)…Other than that I absolutely loved your site.It was most informative and I took care to bookmark it for a return visit. You are so doing this…Awesome Job!

    • Deidre says:

      Hi Bev,

      Thanks for your thoughtful comments. In regards to the article being lengthy, I try my best not to make it too long. I think the length is OK; I said what I needed to say using as few words as possible, Also, can you give me an example of a word(s) that you felt were difficult to define? It was not my intention to use words that are unfamiliar. Glad to know that you like my site and find the content informative; I will keep up the good work!

      Deidre

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