We all know that it is important to save as much money as we can. But, what do you do when your budget is already stretched as far as it can go? How can you save money when you can’t hardly make ends meet? Here are 5 simple tips which might help you do just that!
1. Cut Your Spending (Wisely).
You might need to back off on what you spend on birthdays and holidays in order to help build up your savings or help your budget. It isn’t the amount you spend, it is remember the person you love! You might even need to back off on your daily Starbucks run and make your coffee at home. If possible, carpool with friends to save on fuel expenses. Where there is a will, there is a way.
To find ways to cut back, just look over your past 2 month’s spending habits and you might find a way to save $20 – $100 in monthly expenses! If you are not yet using a budget, you will have to do this before you can even know where to look to try to save money. You can check out my post on How To Create a Budget.
2. Stick with Cash & Keep The Change.
This might sound like a simple idea, but it works!! When it comes to spending money, if you use cash, you are in more control of your spending. “But I spend more when I have cash” is a statement I hear over and over (and over) again. You do – if you are not making yourself accountable for your spending. Look at it this way, if you walk into the grocery store with only $100 to spend, you look at your purchases more wisely. You keep track of what you are buying and make sure that you stay within your spending limits. Whereas, if you have a debit or credit card and plan on spending $100, you might spend $120 instead. That may not sound like much, but if you do that every week of the year, you will have overspent by more than $1,000!
You might also keep the change from your cash expenditures. My family does this and we use the money toward holiday expenses each year. You might be amazed at home much money you can save if you put your mind to it. This is a great way to work on building that emergency fund!
3. Use your Tax Refund Wisely.
Many Americans are getting ready to (if not already done) file their 2012 tax return. In addition, many will also receive a refund. This could range from $100 up to several thousand. When you get this money back, don’t just go on a shopping spree. Instead, put this money into the bank to help beef up your emergency fund. Or, if you have debt, use it to pay off one of them to free up a monthly obligation. Just look at this money as your chance to get ahead instead of purchasing that new pair of shoes you’ve been wanting.
4. Pay yourself first.
Even if you are saving just $25 a pay period, that is $25 more towards your savings than you had last week. An easy way to do this is to set up a separate account and set up an automatic transfer on each pay day. This way, the money is put into savings without you having to remember to do it (or trying to justify NOT saving for that week).
5. Make the most of what you have.
Sure, who wouldn’t love to update and get a new car. Or, what about the hot new movie release you’ve been dying to purchase. These are wants and not necessarily needs. If you can pay off that vehicle, you will save several hundred dollars every month by not having a car payment. That is money you can then save to use towards the purchase of a new vehicle — and those repairs you may need as your car ages. If you can just take good care of the things you have, you can extend the life and thereby save money by not having to replace those things.
What steps have you taken to try to squeeze extra money out of your budget? We’d love to hear from you!!