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Living paycheck to paycheck affects people at many different income levels. If money is tight in your household or you’re running out of it before your next paycheck, this can make it difficult to save money and get ahead. However, saving money on a tight budget is not impossible.
You’ll need to get creative and utilize the resources made available to you, but it can be done. Check out part two of our list of 20 practical and effective ways to save money on a tight budget.
Do you ever just wish that you could lower your monthly bills? Now you can with free bill Negotiation services like Truebill and Billshark. These companies will negotiate your bills for you and can also help cancel unwanted subscriptions. The only catch is that these companies may take a service charge, which ends up being a percentage of what they helped you save.
You still get to keep the bulk of the savings and don’t have to do any negotiations yourself.
Go through your spending line-by-line and determine which purchases might be unnecessary. Did you buy something you already had or didn’t really need? This extra spending can easily add up and eat into your tight budget.
The next time you are considering making an unplanned purchase, give yourself 48 hours to sleep on the idea and determine if you really need to make that purchase.
If you usually get paid every two weeks, there will be some months where you get an extra paycheck. Try to budget only based on getting paid twice a month. That way, when you do get a 3rd paycheck in one month, it can be viewed as extra money that can be automatically saved instead.
Save money on entertainment and things you need by utilizing free community resources. Your local library provides books, movies and other media for free. Check your local library or neighboring organizations to see what other programs they might. You may be able to find food and clothing giveaways, free classes and workshops, and more. These resources are made available to the community so people can use them. Plus, doing this will save you more money and help you stretch your budget.
Put your finances on autopilot by automating your savings and bill payment each month. It’s easy to set up an automated transfer through your bank and you won’t have to worry about overdrafts if you track your budget and income carefully.
Researchers have found that using cash helps people spend less because the money has to physically leave their hands. With a debit or credit card, it may not feel as real as cash so there’s more opportunity to overspend.
Try taking any of your trouble spending categories (the ones where you typically overspend) and using cash only to cover costs in this area for the month. Put your money in an envelope and once the cash is gone, you’ll have to stop spending in that category. Using a cash-only budget can help you avoid overspending and save more money.
Consider how much money could be lying around your home right now in the form of unused items. Start selling some of the stuff you no longer want or needList items online on sites like Offer Up or the Facebook Marketplace and add the cash you earn to your savings account.
If you don’t have cable, you’re already saving quite a bit of money. However, streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime can all add up. It seems like everyone has a streaming service these days, so only choose two to three at most. If you’re not using a streaming service, you can easily cancel or pause it to save money.
You may also be able to save money while watching TV by bundling your streaming services. For example, Disney Plus, Hulu and ESPN TV have all partnered together to offer these services at one low monthly rate. If you are a student, check out streaming services that offer student discounts.
If you’re looking for super easy ways to save money on a tight budget, cash back apps like Rakuten and Fetch Rewards can help you earn money back on regular purchases you make each day. Rakuten also provides coupons for online shopping and partners with multiple retailers to offer cash back.
When you have a solid budget in place and have cut all your expenses, consider starting a side hustle so you can earn extra money. You can only cut expenses by so much, but you can always earn more money.
Narrow down your interests and skills and set an income goal. Whether this involves getting a part-time job or starting a side business, make sure your idea allows you to consistently earn extra money on the side so you can increase your savings rate.
These are some of the best ways to budget money and save. These may not be the most obvious solutions, but they do work. Challenge yourself by breaking old habits and in turn, you can stop living paycheck to paycheck.
Know your budget well, including how much it takes to meet your monthly expenses and explore your options with earning extra money. Consider implementing some of these simple savings strategies to loosen an already tight budget.
In case you missed it, find 10 more tips in part 1 of this series:10 Ways to Save Money on a Tight Budget: Creative & Easy Tips
Saving money with a low income may require you to make some sacrifices and cut unnecessary expenses. Focus on some of your highest costs like housing, transportation and food to start. Then, you can trickle down to smaller bills like insurance and your cell phone bill.
Get into the habit of paying yourself first so you’re saving some money right when you get paid before you pay other bills—even if it’s a small amount.
Start small if you have to. Saving money is all about mindset and building a habit. Focus on those smaller daily choices you make to spend money and just make a few small tweaks and changes. Also, use the 52-Week Savings Challenge as motivation for the year. You’ll save $1 during week 1, $2 during week 2, $3 during week 3 and so on.
Try using the 50/30/20 budgeting method if you are struggling to come up with a budget that allows you to save monthly. This budgeting method is designed to help you save 10% to 20% of your income.