10 Ways To Save Money When You’re On A Tight Budget

The economy has been in a tailspin these last couple of years, and many people are finding themselves either unemployed or underemployed.  We all need to make sacrifices at times in order to make ends meet – but sometimes it can be hard to come up with new ways to save. Today I thought I would try and list a bunch of ways to save that my family uses, and hopefully a few of them will be ideas that you hadn’t thought of before.

10 Easy Ways To Save Money

  1. Stop paying for cable or satellite TV:  Stopping your subscription TV service can save a ton of money on a regular monthly basis.   On average when we’ve been paying for service the bill can run anywhere from $35-$125/month.    Over an entire year canceling  your TV service can save you  $420-$1500!  Instead of paying for cable try watch TV shows for free using a software like Playon, or by hooking up  your computer to the TV.  Check out my article “How To Watch TV For Free Or Cheap Without Paying For Cable “  for a detailed look at this option.
  2. Make it a point to shop for better rates on insurance:  One place that a lot of people overpay is when it comes to insurance.  Take a day off from work and shop your homeowners, auto, health, life and other insurance coverages to see if you can find a better rate. The last time I did this I ended up saving over $1000 a year on my rates!
  3. Use subscription services? Cancel them and use a cheaper alternative:   Are you paying $15 a month to pay for a subscription movie rental service like Netflix – but only rarely watch movies?  Cancel the subscription and use a cheaper alternative like the Redbox movie rental kiosks.  Paying for several magazine subscriptions?  Read the magazines at your local library instead!
  4. Realize that you don’t need to buy new:  When buying things that you need, realize that you don’t always need to buy those things new when used can be bought for a much smaller price. Save$5-6 grand by buying a used car, or save hundreds by buying a used version of last year’s model of digital camera.    Buy used clothing, books,  electronics or other high ticket purchases.
  5. Eat out less often:  It can be extremely easy to justify spending when it comes to eating out.  We did it at our house until we actually kept a budget and realized we were overspending by hundreds of dollars every month just because we were eating out.  Packing lunches and making dinner at night meant we saved in excess of 2-300 dollars a month!
  6. Save on entertainment at the movies:  My wife and I love going to the movies, but nowadays you almost have to take out a second mortgage in order to afford the movies.   But there are ways to save on going to the cinema.  You can go to a matinee, see the movie at a second run theater, buy packages of tickets at a reduced rate, bring your own snacks (if they allow it), seek out free family movie days in the summer or join movie watcher loyalty clubs.
  7. Maintenance saves money: By maintaining the things you own you’ll end up spending a little up front, and saving a ton down the line.  Go for regular oil changes and service checks, and do regular maintenance around the house in order to ensure that all of your things are in good working order.
  8. Sleep on it: A lot of people like to buy things on impulse and the result is they overspend on a ton of things they end up realizing they don’t need. Give yourself a waiting period for purchases over a certain dollar amount, and quite often you’ll realize while you’re waiting that you don’t want or need the item.  My waiting period?  At least 24 hours, but more depending on the cost of the item.
  9. Make a list – and use coupons: One of the biggest things that I don’t do when grocery shopping sometimes is actually making a list of the items we need to buy. The result is that we end up buying a bunch of junk food or other items that aren’t needed.  Instead, make sure to shop when you’re not hungry, make a list – and actually clip some of the coupons you see in the paper to save some extra cash.
  10. It never hurts to ask for a discount:  There are so many times that you can save big just by asking for a discount.   For example, we recently called up our internet service provider and asked them to reduce our rate in order to keep us as a customer. They found a promotion that was currently running, and applied it to our account to save us $15/month.   Another big one we’ve used is to ask for a discount on medical bills.  Often if you call up the hospital billing department you can save 10-20% off of your bill just by asking, and paying cash.   This can end up saving you hundreds or thousands of dollars!

So there are 10 easy ways to save money on your regular and not so regular bills.  Get creative, don’t accept the status-quo and look for savings in places you maybe didn’t even think to look before.

Where do you find savings in  your budget? Tell us some creative ways that you save money every month!

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I’m a thirty-something Christian Midwestern father of one son, and have been happily married for 9 years to my beautiful wife. I love playing tennis, shooting hoops, or taking part in the occasional flag football game. Of course, I love writing and financial topics as well, and that's how this site came into being! Check me out on Google +!


Comments

  1. says

    Great tips! I think the library is an often overlooked money saver! We can read magazines, borrow books instead of buying them, rent movies for next to nothing, and even use the internet if we only need it occasionally.

  2. says

    Ahh, combining sales and coupons is a wonderful way to save money. As a matter of fact, I was on my soapbox about this just yesterday!

    Comcast is killing me and I know it. If I didn’t have my email address tied to a million different things, I would dump them in a heartbeat.

    Great list!!

  3. says

    Ugh, we pay $145 on a cable package (I HATE it, but its my husband’s luxury that I grumble about quite often). I don’t mind paying for basic TV. I am not the one that watches it. And what I can’t watch, I can catch later on the internet.

    Use coupons – nah! But definitely make a list.

    And definitely eat out less! It’s so freakin’ expensive!

  4. says

    You forgot one! If you live in a metropolitan area, take public transportation when you can. I walk past my car every weekday on the way to the bus and then train.

  5. says

    The best thing to do is to sell the TV. That way you get money and watch less free TV (do they still have that?). Plus, it removes the temptation to get TV service again.

    I’ve done it and it changed my life.

  6. says

    Hubby and I also refuse to watch TV, because it is generally a complete waste of time.

    Planning meals before going to the grocery store also helps a lot, because you then only buy what is truly needed for the meals on your list. Saves you buying those ‘maybe we will cook that tomorrow night’ impulse purchases that rot and grow in the back of the refrigerator!

  7. says

    Great tips! We cancelled all of our subscription services this summer and save $45 a month! Another strategy is to freeze a few meals so you can have something ready on a crazy night when you are tempted to go out to eat.

  8. gwen hicks says

    I’m sorry i love to read magazines. i Love to have subscriptions also. You can be frugal with this also I have subscriptions to 14 or 15. I spent only twenty dollars on all of them. I got forbes, jet,newsweek,maxim,p c world,digital photography,living the country life,entertainment tv for free on line. i paid 7.50 for 3 years of readers digest and 5.98 for two years of taste of home and entreprenuer each. i got ebony, woman’s day and instructor as gifts. i get good house also.you can be frugal and do the things you like. You just have to work at it.

  9. says

    Very nice articles, during this time we should consider saving money especially on our grocery items. All the money that we can save will add on to our savings and we can use it to pay off our debt or to buy things we needed most. Make it a habit to save money every time you go for grocery shopping or to anything you are spending.

  10. Brett Varney says

    Additional to #9: without a list, you’re likely to forget things, then spend (waste) time, gas and energy going back more often (and more impulse buying!). We’ve had a list of everything we regularly buy for years, and only shop once every 2-3 weeks. It’s a big trip, but good planning saves almost everything in the long run.

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