Want to know how to save money fast on a tight budget?
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Saving. The dreaded “S” word.
Something that we mentally attempt to do, but the moment we have money it almost seems impossible to do so.
You have bills to pay, credit cards to pay off, food to buy, a car to pay for, oh and did I mention FOOD! Yes, you can tell that food is one of the things I spend most of my money on.
Saving is one thing but saving fast – on a tight budget… oh, that’s a completely different thing.
I know some of you reading this are probably thinking that I have gone mad. But what if I told you that there are ways to save money fast even if you are on a tight budget?
As a society, we are not taught about personal finances, but instead, we are taught to love debt.
We accumulate so much of it like a small whining child who has spent every bit of their pocket money on candy and chocolate. In that present moment as they take a bite into their chocolate bar, that moment right there is bliss – but little does that small child know that if they continue to do so as years go by this will only result in bad health.
The same goes for our finances. We must make sure we take the steps to be financially healthy and fit, so we are able to save for the future and never have to worry about our finances again.
So, if you’re ready to propel yourself away from debt and towards having an emergency fund, there here are 10 simple ways to save money fast on a tight budget.
10 Ways to Save Money on a Tight Budget
First things first, we’re talking about saving money on a tight budget. In order to do this, you need to sit down and figure out what your budget is (aka. how much you’re spending week-to-week vs. how much you can afford to spend). Do you know? You really need to.
If you don’t know how much you’re spending, it’s almost impossible to find where you can save. But, creating a budget (even a tight one) is easier than you think.
If you haven’t created a budget as yet, click here to get your FREE Simple Budget Spreadsheet.
#1. Pay Yourself First
This is one of the most, if not THE most important factor when it comes to saving money. The mistake some of us make is that the moment we get money, all we want to do is spend, spend, spend. The more money we make, the more we spend. This is wrong.
The first thing you need to do is to pay yourself first. Not the bills, not the credit cards and certainly not the burger and fries that keep calling your name at McDonald’s. But YOURSELF!
When you learn to pay yourself first, you are making it a priority to put your own personal finances and future at the forefront, not your electric bill.
Paying yourself first means saving your money first!
It’s not just a phrase for self-employed people with businesses.
An article on the Balance states that savings need to be the most important bill that you pay and you need to pay that bill first. The article also goes onto say that by using this method “it converts saving money from a desire to a necessity.”
Instead of leaving what little you have left for your savings, start by paying yourself through your savings, tax-free savings account, emergency fund, retirement savings and more FIRST, not last.
Yes, that means when you get your income tax rebate or unexpected money like inheritances and refunds you save it, NOT spend it.
👉🏽 RELATED POST: How to Budget Your Money with Sinking Funds
“But how I meant to pay myself when I am on a tight budget anyway?” – yes, I guessed you would ask that.
You THINK you can’t afford to pay yourself first because you are overwhelmed with bills and other priorities, but the moment you make it a priority to pay yourself first you will then force yourself to cut back on unnecessary expenses.
#2. Stick to Your Budget
The B word.
It is something that some of us love and love to hate, mostly because it will either do two things for us:
- Allow you to be on track with your personal finances or
- Gives you a mini heart attack because you’re wondering how the hell will your monthly income match up to your outgoings – I mean, it’s not even close.
But once you get over that fear, you will learn how to properly handle your finances and take control.
When we create clear monthly budgets that are written down, you will be able to get a clear idea on what you don’t or do spend your money on, further allowing you to easily create budget goals that you can stick too.
Many people claim they are on a tight budget but when it comes to putting that idea into a clear, plan – they crumble, spend all of their money and say they will wait until next month because they had way too many things to pay for.
Read how I budgeted for the week in my monthly money diary here.
Trust me, creating a budget isn’t complicated! Click here to grab your simple budget spreadsheet and go step by step through budgeting.
#3. Stop Buying Lunch and Take-Out Every Day
Food! The #1 thing we daydream about all day every day.
I mean, I’m not afraid to say it. It is the first thing I think about when I open my eyes, when I am on my way to work, while I’m eating, on my way home and while I am going to bed.
But do you think we think about our finances in the same way, especially when spending it on food?
Many of us don’t, and that is the problem.
👉🏽 RELATED POST: How To Improve Your Money Mindset Right Now
By carrying out simple daily tasks, such as preparing lunch and bringing it to work or even going so far as to plan your dinners to avoid buying out, this will save you so much money and fast!
Think about it, you’re probably spending $30+ a day on food:
- $5-10 morning coffee and bagel or muffin
- $15 for lunch with coworkers
- $5 for a mid-afternoon coffee
- $15+ for dinner out with friends
Something so simple as this can prove to be very beneficial to our bank accounts in the long run.
You can eat healthy when you’re busy if you take the time to plan your meals. Sunday’s are perfect for grocery shopping and meal prep.
By spending $75-$100 or even as little as $50 a week on good food, you’re already saving.
#4. Say Bye-Bye Debt
If you want to save money fast, you need to say bye to the dirty little secret we call debt.
In fact, you need to slap it in the face and throw it in the bin. Yes, that was dramatic, but trust me you will feel so much better after you have done so.
When we keep mounting debt this will be the #1 burden in our lives that will never allow us to save.
Society makes us believe that there is good debt and bad debt, but in fact, any debt is bad. If you are in this situation, confront this head-on so you can be on the right track to saving money fast.
Take stock of all your outstanding debts, from student loans and car payments to credit cards and mortgage. With the money you’ve saved from buying food every day you can start attacking your highest-interest earning debts first.
In many cases, a dollar in debt repayment is worth more than a dollar earned. That $1 in debt is costing you more than you can earn the longer you take to pay it back.
Think about it – one dollar in debt today, can easily become 100 dollars in debt a year from now. Is it worth it?
#5. Start Investing
If you want your money to grow – invest! When many people hear the words “invest”, some immediately think that they’re at risk of losing all their money.
Well, with any type of investment your money will be at risk, but it is important to educate yourself and properly understand what type of investment may be best for you especially on a tight budget.
If your money is tight don’t start investing in the stock market, but instead, speak to your bank or investment broker about safe or guaranteed returned investment.
You don’t need a boatload of money to start investing either! Taking $100, $250 or even $1000 and locking it away in an interest-earning investment can go a long way in the long run.
Better yet, set up an automatic withdrawal of $100+ per month from your newfound savings to your investment can go a long way towards helping you make big purchases in the future.
#6. Educate Yourself
The wealthiest people in the world are the ones who never stop learning.
By prioritizing your time to educate yourself on how to be in control of your personal finances, this will spark new ideas and allow you to be equipped to tackle any upcoming challenges.
Financial literacy doesn’t have to be a meticulous task that involves sitting with a pen and paper hours on end. Something so simple as listening to a podcast while driving, reading a blog post like this one, or asking advice from a mentor.
- Why Didn’t They Teach Me This in School? by Cary Siegel
- Rich Dad’s Increase Your Financial IQ by Robert T. Kiyosaki
- How to Manage Your Money When You Don’t Have Any bt Erik Wecks
- The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
No, excuses! Educate yourself about money, spending, savings and more!
#7. Don’t Keep Up with the Joneses
…or the Kardashians for that matter! I recently read in The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey that “we destroy our finances by buying garbage we can’t afford to try to make ourselves appear wealthy”.
I mean, is it worth it? When you decide to “keep up” you are living for the sake of others which will never be beneficial to your own needs.
It is seen as a need for approval by others, even though your bank account is not set up this way.
You’ll always be trying to keep up and catch up, but you can’t! And you don’t need to.
Quit keeping up with the Joneses and focus on yourself, your own happiness and your own approval instead.
- Who is this for?
- Why do I need this?
- Will this bring me happiness?
- Is it for a social media post?
- Am I going to use this now (not maybe someday)?
👉🏽 RELATED POST: Why I tell myself I'm poor and stopped spending money
#8. Learn to Love Sales
Who doesn’t love a good sale? If you don’t, you really should!
Make it a necessity to write a list of all the things you may want and from that list write down all the things you could save money on if you were to buy it for much less.
If you need to buy something, I guarantee you there’s a sale somewhere, a coupon code, a cheaper version or a way to save!
Shop around, wait a bit, and do your research. Always hit up the clearance or sale section FIRST.
These simple saving habits can save you so much of your precious money.
#9. Cancel Under-utilized Subscriptions
We all do it! We pay monthly to subscriptions and never use it. Many times, we even forget that we are still paying until we have a close look at our bank account statements.
Make it a priority to cancel monthly/ yearly subscriptions you don’t use. Think about it, most of these are $10+ per month, that’s $120 or more a year x multiple.
If you know you go to the gym once or twice per week, try incorporating these exercises at home.
If you pay for Netflix or any other TV service, try sharing the account with someone you’re close with.
- Amazon Prime
- Spotify or Apple Music
- Cable or Premium channels
- Subscription boxes
- A gym membership
- Food delivery service
Take a cold hard look at your monthly credit card statements and start canceling. Remember, most of these memberships will auto-renew unless you cancel.
#10. Work Smarter, Not Harder
For those who are trying to save money on a tight budget and never do even though you work incredibly hard. Stop right there! That is why. You are working incredibly hard, instead of working incredibly smart.
Avoid being so heavily reliant on jobs that pay you by the hour and instead learn how to utilize your time into big wins. It’s all about passive income!
👉🏽 RELATED POST: How to Make Extra Money on the Side
Think about something you feel passionate about or something you know you are good at and figure out ways to transform this into a side hustle in your spare time without breaking the bank. Once you do this, you can really be able to save with a lot fast.
But, instead of spending your side-hustle income, you’ll manage your side-income and invest it into savings and your future, not buying more stuff you don’t’ need.
Break the cycle of working harder, just to spend more!
Free Simple Savings Spreadsheet
Ready to start saving money on a tight budget? To stop spending, and start saving? Awesome, get the Simple Budget Spreadsheet, compatible with Google Docs and Microsoft Excel.
Start Saving Money on a Tight Budget
It’s simple. Just go for it! One of the things that hold people back in many areas of their life is that they don’t know how to start something.
Your finances need to be something that pushes you enough so that you want to take control. For some people, saving seems impossible especially when you are already on a tight budget and virtually have nothing left at the end of the month.
But when you make it a priority to put your finances in front of everything else, you will be able to save more than you could’ve ever imagined.
Start by writing down a clear, precise goal of how much you want to save and give it a deadline. Once you do this, break it up into small pieces and give yourself smaller deadlines. I found that once we accomplish small goals, we become even more motivated and inclined to reach our bigger goals.
Then create a plan based on the 10 steps I gave you on how to save fast on a low budget and start coming up with ideas on how to do this.
You can achieve your financial goals if you just get started by saving!
How do you save money fast on a tight budget?
More About Guest Contributor
I am Tiffany was created for young people just like me who refuse to conform to a way of living just because society tells them it is the right thing to do. Life is about learning and sharing. My aim is to share all the experiences I have encountered and to inspire those just like me to live the life they have always dreamed of.