Trying to save money in today’s economy can be difficult.
With many people living from paycheck to paycheck, there’s often no such thing as “extra money.”
But to survive in the long run, you need to save, right?
Keeping that in mind, we’ll discuss a few ways that you can save money, even if you’re on a tight budget.
1. Save 2 Paychecks a Year
Let’s say you’re paid every other week. Most months, you will receive two paychecks. However, at least two months out of the year, you will receive three paychecks.
A good way to save money is to treat these third paychecks as a bonus. Chances are, you can get by fine without using this check for anything.
So, instead of spending it, take this third check and place it in your savings account. By the end of the year, you will have saved at least two paychecks’ worth of funds! This will be one of the biggest ways in which you will bolster up your savings account, even if you’re on a strict budget.
2. Reduce Your Cellphone Bill
How much are you spending on your cell phone bill each month? When was the last time you browsed your options? If you’ve used the same plan for years, you may be paying too much.
Every six weeks, you should check for lower cell phone rates. There’s always a newer, better deal out there, and often you don’t need to sacrifice quality. If you don’t use a lot of data, you can save money by using a call-and-text-only plan. You could alsos try a pay-as-you-go plan where you only pay for the data you actually use, as well. In some cases, you can save as much as fifty bucks a month. And all you have to do is stay vigilant for the best possible deal.
3. Use Trim
Trim is a service that bargains with your cable and internet provider for you. Negotiating a better deal for yourself can be time-consuming, so this is a valuable service. They not only lower your monthly bill, but they continue to work for you long after they’ve done it.
Also, there are more ways to save money with your provider than a lower monthly bill. Trim will work to get your cable and internet provider to award you credits. When you experience interruption of service, Trim will request compensation on your behalf.
When you’re awarded these credits through Trim, add them to your savings account. Any money you aren’t expecting is ‘bonus money.’ If you can do without it or would have done without it, then use it to grow your savings!
4. Cut Down on Food Expenses
This tip appears on almost every money-saving article on the web, but that’s because it works. When you eat outside, you also pay for the service provided and the convenience. That means you actually pay double or even triple the actual cost of the food. The cost of one meal for one person at a mid-grade restaurant can feed as many as three people when prepared at home.
So, instead of eating food prepared by others, pack your lunch and eat breakfast in your own home. It can be difficult to break from the convenience of fast food, especially if you spend a lot of time on the road for work. If you make the effort, though, you’ll find your reward in a hefty nest egg at the end of the year.
5. Lower Your Prescription Costs
Like most things of the medical variety, prescription medicine is a large expense. If you suffer from chronic illnesses or conditions, saving money here is a big deal. From insulin to amoxicillin, there are coupons for just about every medication.
So, how do you find these coupons? Well, there are two helpful (and free!) apps that you can download on your phone to offset prescription expenses. GoodRx and LowestMed find coupons for your prescription. In some cases, they even find places that offer your prescription for free! Even if you have insurance, the deals you find on these two apps are often lower than your co-pay.
With these apps, you can either order your prescription online or go pick them up in person. The apps will tell you if there are stores nearby that carry your medication.
6. Save Perk Savings
Almost everyone uses a perks or rewards card when grocery shopping or visiting a gas station. At the bottom of your receipt, there is a place that tells you how much you saved by using the rewards card.
Next time you go to the store and receive these savings, take the amount you saved and set it aside. If you do this every time, you will watch your savings account grow each month. Most people spend these savings without thinking about it, but you could save upwards of $100 a month.
7. Set Goals for Yourself
If you want to save money, then you might think that setting yourself a target amount for the end of the year is enough. It’s not. You’ll want to give yourself weekly and monthly goals as well. This is the best way to keep yourself on track. It will ensure that you meet your annual goals.
So, what kinds of goals should you set for yourself? Well, you could pledge to save your perk savings every week or to prepare your meals at home. You don’t have to do all these things every week, either. You could choose to do one or two of them each week, as long as you reach your weekly goals.
Saving money can take a while, especially if you’re on a tight budget, but it’s always possible. Remember that any progress is progress, no matter how slow. Many of the tips we covered don’t cut into your budget at all, like the perk saving one. This is money you would have spent but didn’t.
About the Author:
Melissa Lobo is a young and energetic writer, a mom to a sweet little boy, and a fur-mom to two perfect pooches. Before becoming the Associate Content Director for Project Female, she was a journalist specializing in topics related to women in politics and policy affecting women.