If you are looking for tips for frugal living on a tight budget, this post is for you.
Being on a tight budget means looking for even the slightest opportunity to save money. It could be saving to clear your loans, for a bigger purchase, or even for early retirement.
When money is tight, the first thing you should do is step back, evaluate everything, and start embracing a frugal lifestyle.
Looking to get started? These 15 tips are just what you need. Read on
1. Track Expenses
Frugal living on a tight budget entails tracking your expenses to the last coin.
You need to understand where exactly your money is going. If you don’t track your expenses, you may end up using even more than you earn without knowing it. This is a financial blunder any frugal person should never commit. Your expenses should always be lower than your income to give you room to save money.
Also, tracking your expenses will help you discover where loops in your expenditure are and how to fix them.
For instance, if you know how much you spent on groceries in the last month, you can know if it is reasonable or needs to be reduced.
2. Cut Unnecessary Subscriptions
Many people keep paying for subscriptions they do not use or no longer need.
Start by listing all your subscriptions, and sift the ones you need from the ones that need to go.
When you list those you need, and cannot do without, consider paying for them upfront. The sites typically offer massive discounts if you pay annually rather than monthly. You, however, want to do this for subscriptions you are sure you need and will use.
Next, you need to unsubscribe from those you do not need, such as premium food delivery services.
For those you choose to keep, you may also want to consider sharing an account with a friend or relative to cut costs.
3. Cook at Home
The average cost of eating lunch out is $10, and dinner is $20. You can cut these costs by ⅓ if you cook at home.
Plan your meals, shop for your groceries, and cook in batches. This way, you will save time, money, and effort.
Just be sure to store all the food you cook well. Proper food storage skills are essential for anyone looking to cook at home.
Bring your lunch at work, meet friends over homemade food, and find hobbies other than restaurant hopping. These will go a long way in helping you save money for your financial goals.
4. Shop with a List
Struggling with impulse buying? The first step to solving this issue is always shopping with a list.
Create a list by inventorying your fridge, freezer, and pantry. Make a list of exhausted items to replace on your next grocery store trip.
Sticking to your grocery list means buying what you truly need and never forgetting essentials. Forgetting essentials means going back to the store unplanned, which almost always means additional costs.
Always write a shopping list and learn to stick to it for better money saving.
5. Use Coupons and Discounts
Whether shopping at a physical or an online store, always take advantage of coupons. There is no shame in collecting and using those coupons. Collect them both offline and online, and it will help you save some bucks.
A study by Fin Masters revealed that people who use coupons only a few times a year save an average of $11.60 per year. Looks like such a small amount? The same study revealed that those that coupon and seek discounts more keenly save up to an impressive $1000 per year.
The difference is in how vigilant and dedicated you are in seeking them.
6. Embrace Second-Hand Items
Buying second-hand items is the ultimate way to keep going on a tight budget. A 2022 Recommerce report by OfferUp revealed that 82% of Americans buy and sell pre-owned items. Popularly sold categories include furniture, homeware, kitchen items, and clothes.
The same study revealed that people who frequently buy second-hand items save at least $1700 per year.
Embracing second-hand items will not only save you money for regular household items. It is an excellent bet on getting vintage items at meager prices. It is also a great way to show love to the planet; go for it.
7. Cancel Unused Memberships
Cancel all the subscriptions you do not use today. A 2022 study by Chase Bank found that 71% of Americans had unused and unwanted subscriptions.
First, start by analyzing that enticing free trial trap; you may lose money for a subscription you don’t need. A lot of people end up unknowingly paying for such subscriptions for months. It all starts with getting a free trial and forgetting to cancel it in time.
Go through your bank transactions today and cancel all subscriptions you do not use.
8. Negotiate Bills
Life is too expensive to accept bills without trying to negotiate.
If you have excellent negotiation skills, you can successfully have a chunk of what you thought to be fixed cut down.
The most successfully negotiated bill is the medical bill. A study by LendingTree and Qualtrics revealed that over half of Americans have been in medical debt. While this may be disheartening, there is a brighter side.
The study found that 75% of people in medical debt negotiated the costs. And of those who negotiated, 93% of them were successful. Some did it alone while others used negotiating services or help from family members.
As you can see, the success rates are incredibly high; you should do it too. And it does not have to be in medical bills alone. You can negotiate your telephone, cable TV, car insurance, credit card interest, and gym memberships.
Beef up your negotiation skills and make that call; you could succeed in cutting down your bills.
9. DIY Repairs and Projects
You can do many things on your own that you pay professionals to do for you.
These could go from activities such as plumbing, HVAC, and appliance repairs.
A simple online search could help you find tutorials to fix appliances independently.
It takes some time to learn the skill, but it will go a long way in saving you money. Other projects you can learn and do independently include making and repurposing furniture, car maintenance, and house painting.
10. Plan Free or Low-Cost Activities
Being on a tight budget does not mean your weekends have to be boring. You can always find enjoyable low-cost, and free activities to do.
For example, you can go hiking on a weekend instead of paying to go to the gym. It is a win-win for you. You get to have fun and exercise while at it.
Other low costs or free activities include movie nights at home, playing board games with friends, visiting museums on their free days, visiting farmer’s markets or hosting yard picnics.
The fun does not have to be expensive. Find cheap activities and like-minded people to do it with you, and you will save a lot of money while at it.
11. Set Savings Goals
Have a clear short and long-term saving goal set. There is no need to be frugal just for the sake of it; it will not work to the best of your interest and is not worth it.
Are you saving money to pay your student loans or to put a down payment on your house? Are you looking to put up an emergency fund or seeking early retirement?
With your short-term and long-term goals well stated, create a clear plan of how your frugal living will help you get there. For instance, you can stop using your car and embrace public transport, then the money saved can be put towards an emergency fund.
Set goals of how much you want to be saved and after how long you plan to achieve the goal and start working towards it.
12. Reduce Energy Consumption
Reducing energy consumption is one of the effortless ways to save money. There are very simple things you do that escalate your bills. What light bulbs are you using? Do you leave light bulbs on and appliances on standby mode? How often do you change or wash your air filters?
These are simple things you can fix that can lower your energy consumption.
There is more you can put into reducing energy consumption. For instance, you can iron clothes in bulk rather than daily, air dry your clothes, get a smart thermostat and energy-efficiency appliances, and run full-load machines.
13. Sell Unused Items
There are a lot of items you can sell to declutter and make extra money. It is time to let go of that baby cot and toys that have been lying in your house for ages.
There are more unused items you can sell on yard sales and social media communities, such as clothes your children have outgrown, clothes you no longer wear, books you no longer need, appliances (and yes, there are people that would buy your damaged appliances), and furniture.
14. Avoid Impulse Purchases
Impulse buying is a problem that makes many people go over their budgets. If you want to stick to your budget, you must learn to let go of impulse buying.
The thing with curbing impulse buying is that you have to learn from the simple day-to-day activities. For instance, if you keep buying junk food that you did not intend to buy, there is no way you will control yourself when the temptation to buy those expensive shoes kicks in.
If you are battling impulse buying, ensure to shop with cash and walk in with just enough of it, shop on a full stomach, always have a list to stick to, always postpone purchases to give you time to think things over, and remove saved card information from online shopping platforms.
15. Practice Mindful Spending
Always think things over before buying them. Are you buying it because you need it or because it is now a “trending must-have”? Do you need it, or does the sale just look good?
By being a mindful shopper, you will be making money choices that impact your future.
Embracing this lifestyle means looking at an item you need and thinking it over as many times as you can before paying for it. Look at its quality before paying, and compare it with other products and vendors.
The idea of being a mindful shopper is buying fewer items you need while ensuring quality.
Frugal Living On A Tight Budget
Living frugally is a gateway to achieving your financial goals. Most people’s goals may never be achieved unless some sacrifice goes into it. If you are on a budget and looking to sacrifice for the life you have envisioned, these frugal living tips should be your way of life.
Implement what works best for you; step by step, you will start getting closer to your short-term and long-term financial goals.
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