Real Ways to Save Money on a Tight Budget

by Alli

Are you looking for real ways to save money? Let’s jump right in! 

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I check out a financial planning site on the web and get dizzy within the first few minutes. I mean, really, who writes that stuff? 

Why don’t they write in everyday language that the average person can understand? Why don’t they show us real ways to save money on a tight budget?

Real Ways to Save Money on a Tight Budget

I remember way back when my husband and I were finishing college and had four young kids. Even with full-time jobs, times were tough, and checking the sofa cushions for stray coins became a thing.

Do you ever wish you could have a do-over with the knowledge you have now? I don’t think I want to go back to my twenties (well, maybe a little), but I do wish I was smarter about saving money back then.

I’ll never forget the day I had a revelation that paying ridiculous prices for kids’ clothing is, well, ridiculous. I told myself it was OK because I passed the clothing down to my sister once my kids outgrew them.

Since then, I’ve had lots of revelations.

Real Ways to Save Money on a Tight Budget

Learn the Difference Between Needs and Wants

Food is a need. Another pair of shoes (unless you don’t have any shoes) is a want.

Have you noticed that the closets in our homes are much bigger now than they were back in the 1970s? Why is that? We have more stuff.

Most of the things we buy are wants.

And we call them needs, but they are wants. ~Dave Ramsey

Storing Too Much Stuff Has Become A Billion-Dollar Business

Many people have garages but don’t have room for their cars. Why? Too much stuff!

When I was researching to find out how many people rented self-storage units, my mind went tilt when I realized that the revenue for the U.S. Self Storage Industry for 2019 was forecasted to be $35.5 billion. That’s a whole lot of stuff!

The secret of happiness, you see,

is not found in seeking more,

but in developing the

capacity to enjoy less. ~ Socrates

Don’t you think it’s time we learned the difference between needs and wants? I’m not saying we should never buy something we want.

There’s nothing wrong with working hard and being able to get what you want. But, when you can’t afford it and you buy it anyway, that’s a problem.

Don’t Be Fooled into Thinking You Saved Money Because it’s on Sale

I love a good sale, don’t you? Before I go shopping, I always pray that I’ll find the best deals. I really do!

But, let’s be completely honest here. Yes, I saved a few bucks. What if I had stayed home? What if I had never gone shopping in the first place? I’d really save then! Spending money is not saving money. Period.

Have you ever bought something on sale and later regretted buying it at all? I have! That thing I thought I had to have lost its appeal very quickly.

Don’t Make Impulsive Purchases

I’m a list maker. Usually.

Have you ever been to the grocery store and realized you forgot your list or didn’t make one at all? What do you do? You make impulsive purchases.

When I make impulsive buys, it’s usually not good for my wallet or my waistline. Make a list and stick to it.

Window Shopping - Real Ways to Save Money While on a Tight Budget

Never Make Large Purchases Without Sleeping On It

I consider large purchases to be high-end furniture, cars, Hermés bags, you get the drift. My dream is to own a Hermés bag. Unless someone buys it for me, it’s not happening.

My husband and I made an agreement a long time ago. When it comes to large purchases, we talk it over and we sleep on it. This rule has saved our butts many times.

Save Your Change

Save your change and designate where it will go.

glass jar full of coins with the word save on the front

My husband and I take a vacation – just the two of us – at least once a year. I consider it a need and a want.

Everyone needs a vacation. We always come home refreshed and ready to get back to work. 

Real Ways to Save Money on a Tight Budget

To pay for our vacations, we save money, including all of our change. If I make a purchase that amounts to $3.52 cents, I give the cashier $4.00 and the change goes toward vacation. It adds up quickly.

When vacation time rolls around, we don’t have to touch our checking account to pay for food and all the extras that go along with vacation.

Psst: Planning a vacation? Check out my top 10 packing tips.

Top 10 Packing Tips - Save Money

Make a Plan and Stick to It

You can plan until the cows come home (grandpa saying), but if you don’t stick to it, it won’t work.

If you’re single, ask yourself some tough questions. If you’re married, sit down with your spouse and talk about where you want to be (financially) in one year, five years, ten years. Then make it happen. If it’s to be, it’s up to me.

There are no shortcuts when it comes to getting out

of debt. ~Dave Ramsey

If you’re on a really tight budget, get rid of things that are not necessities (Mani/Pedi, Cigarettes, Etc.).

Helpful Hint:  Grab a small notebook or use a notes app on your phone and keep up with every penny you spend for a month. It’s an eye-opener!

Little Ways to Save Money

Instead of getting your tax return refund back and splurging, try throwing at least half (or more) into your savings.

Skip the coffee shop and make coffee at home.

Pack a lunch most days of the week.

Enjoy date night in instead of going out.

5 Ways to Prepare for Date Night In including playing with your food!

Have friends over for dinner instead of meeting them at a restaurant.

Turn off the lights when you leave a room.

Get a library membership instead of buying books.

Stop subscriptions or club memberships you don’t use.

Cook at home instead of eating out. 

Cancel your gym membership and workout at home. 

Do you have a hot tip on how you save money?

Even More Real Ways To Save Money