I don’t know about you, but sometimes I find a financial planning sight 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?
I remember way back when my husband and I were both 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, then it becomes a need) is a want.
Have you noticed that the closets in our homes are much bigger now than they were back in the 1970’s? Why is that? We have more stuff.
Most of the things we buy are wants.
And we call them needs, but they’re wants. ~Dave Ramsey
Many people have garages, but don’t have room for their cars. Why? Too much stuff!
When I was trying 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 2016 was forecasted to be $32.7 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 it’s 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.
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 or I save the money required to purchase one, 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. My husband and I take a vacation – just the two of us – at least once at 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. I admit to sometimes working on vacation. Sorry.
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.
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.
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.
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Do you have a good tip to save money on a tight budget?