Do you need money saving tips? Maybe your paycheck is late this month and you’re wishing you knew how to save money. Or maybe your spouse is out of a job and unemployment isn’t rolling in yet. Maybe you’re simply trying to save as much as possible to pay off debt, save for a vacation, or cover your child’s upcoming college tuition payment.
Money Saving Tips and Your Tight Budget
When my husband and I were busting our humps to pay off debt and find the best way to save money, we learned a lot of money saving tips to use with our tight budget. At one time, when my husband was enlisted, we had $0.11 in our checking account! Talk about a tight budget.
The good news is that even though the budget is a little looser these days, we still like to save and invest – so we do most of these money saving tips by habit now. Saving money on a tight budget isn’t always easy, but these money saving tips will help you achieve some budget wiggle room.
Money Saving Tip #1: Switch to a Discount Grocery Store Like Aldi, Lidl, or Scratch N Dents
I love shopping at fancy grocery stores like Whole Foods with their fancy displays, huge selection, and hard-to-find products. But I don’t love the high total on the receipt. Shopping at discount grocery stores is my #1 money saving tip for a tight budget.
Aldi and Lidl are two stores that have great products but at significantly lower prices than normal grocery stores. They cut costs because customers bring their own bags and bus their own carts. The good news is they pass these savings on to consumers in the form of lower prices.
Another way to save on groceries on a tight budget is to find a local grocery liquidator or scratch n dent store in your area. These businesses buy overstocks or shelf pulls from grocery stores and sell them very inexpensively. Or they purchase pallet loads of merchandise when the manufacturer changes the packaging, for example.
You can often find heavily discounted grocery items that are within expiration dates, but have a small ding in the cardboard packaging. I love fancy tea, for example, and in the grocery store, I can spend $4 or more a box. But at the scratch n dent store, tea runs about 75 cents a box – so I stock up when I go.
Here’s another money saving tip in your quest to learn how to save money – Don’t forget to use Ibotta for cash back on groceries at discount stores.
Ibotta is an amazing coupon free way to get cash back on your grocery bill. You’ll get cash back every time you purchase an item and scan your receipt.
Then you can have the savings sent directly to your Paypal account! Ibotta is super easy, and you can even get a free $10 if you’ve never used it before. All you have to do is snap a couple of pictures and push a few buttons on your phone.
Money Saving Tip #2: Always Pack Your Coffee and Water
Every time you stop at a convenience store or coffee shop, that’s money flying out of your wallet (or onto your credit card!). Stop the money drain on a tight budget by planning ahead and packing your snacks and beverages. If you like to drink coffee or tea at work (or at your kid’s playdate), prep it before you leave the house to save money.
Always packing your beverages and water before you leave your house is a key money saving tip in learning how to save money. Personally, I’ve found that the Starbucks stainless steel travel cups are the best for keeping beverages hot for hours. I have these in a variety of sizes and use them everyday:
- Starbucks Stainless Steel Double Wall Travel Tumbler 16 Oz
- Starbucks Brushed Silver & Black Travel Tumbler 20 Oz
Buying bottled water is another money drain. The water flowing from your tap is free so there’s no need to pay. If you like the taste of bottled water and your tap doesn’t taste great, try these best water filter bottle options.
- Ultralight Water Purifier Bottle
- Brita 34 Ounce Hard Sided Water Bottle with 1 Filter, BPA Free
- Brita Sport Water Filter Bottle, Twin Pack, 20 Ounce
Money Saving Tip #3: Shop Through Ebates to Get Cash Back
Do you like to save money at online stores? You’ll like Ebates – where you can get reimbursed when you shop via Ebates. Ebates is just a shopping portal – I like to start there first whenever I shop online. They even have discounts for making purchases at Amazon.
All you do is go to Ebates, search for the name of the store you want to shop at, click the link to that store, and shop as usual.
You will receive 1% – 40% cash back via Paypal depending on the store and the time of year (during the holidays they offer HUGE DISCOUNTS). Also, if you sign up through my Ebates $10 Sign-Up Bonus Link, you’ll receive a $10 sign-up bonus when you spend your first $25 through Ebates!
>>>>>>Here’s a next level money saving tip – if you purchase items online for family members through the Ebates portal, too. My best friend told me she’d earned $80 in just a few weeks, making purchases for her mom through the Ebates portal.
Money Saving Tip #4: Rack up No Spend Days
If you’re on a tight budget, aiming for “no spend” days can help keep your goals on track. Put a big red X on the calendar for every day you avoid spending money, from credit to cash. String enough of the no spend days together and you’ll have extra cash to put toward your goals.
Every day you go without spending money will allow you save.
Instead of focusing on spending money on those days, why not try your hand at a new side hustle and start earning extra income instead? Check out 25 Passive Income Ideas You Can Start Today for some ideas on side hustles you might enjoy.
Money Saving Tip #5: Stretch Your Money with the Dollar Store
Sometimes shopping at the Dollar Store can be a great value – and sometimes, it can be a frugal dud, when you purchase something for a dollar that has less product or is less expensive elsewhere.
When money is tight and you’re trying to learn how to save money, don’t forget to stretch your dollars by getting the following best buys at the dollar store:
- Greeting cards
- Hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, and other first aid items
- Disposable foil baking pans
- Over the counter medicines
- Notebooks and other stationery
- Reading glasses
- Hair ties
- Wine and drinking glasses
- Bubble mailers and manila envelopes
- Sticky notes
- Frozen fruit
Money Saving Tip #6: Do a 52-Week Money Challenge
Have you heard of a 52-Week Money Challenge? This money saving tip works like this: you save $1,378 this year by saving increasing amounts each week.
Start with $1 during week one. You could save in a jar, an envelope, or even in an online account. Then, increase your savings by $1 each subsequent week. That means in week 37 you save $37 and on week 52 you sock away $52.
By the end of a year, you have $1,378 stashed away. You don’t have to wait until the new year to start – start this week and next year at this time you’ll have a nice savings to show for it.
One way you can even earn money on your savings is to use a high-interest savings account to stash your money challenge cash. Learn more about high interest savings accounts here.
Money Saving Tip #7: Stock Your Desk with Snacks
Do you hit the work vending machine every time the afternoon slumps set in? Vending machine snacks tend to be overpriced. Instead, stock up on snack foods specifically to keep at your desk. These are some of my favorite desk drawer snacks (healthy and unhealthy versions ?)
- Blue Diamond Almonds, 32 100-calorie packs
- Bumble Bee Tuna Salad with Crackers, 12 Kits
- Frito Lay Fiery Mix Variety Pack, 40 Count
- Annie’s Organic Variety Pack, 36 Pouches
- Justin’s Classic Peanut Butter Squeeze Packs, Pack of 10
- Jack Link’s Premium 110 Calorie Beef Jerky Variety Pack, Pack of 9
Money Saving Tip #8: Make Sundays Meal Prep Days
Eating at home and prepacking your work lunches is one way to survive on a tight budget. If I don’t cook and we go out to eat, I know my family of three will be spending at least $80, and often more, at a sit-down restaurant.
Do it a couple of times a month and you’re talking about hundreds added to your monthly budget expenses. Even fast food several times a week really adds up. You can really save a lot of money by just doing some simple meal prep recipes.
Related: 8 Budget Meal Prep Ideas & Tips
Meal prepping sounds like a difficult concept but it’s really pretty simple. Here are the steps I use:
- Select 5-7 recipes you and your family enjoy and fit your nutritional desires.
- Shop for the ingredients you need to cook those recipes, including meats, vegetables, fruits, and sides.
- Prepare enough containers to hold individual servings of each meals. I really like special meal prep containers because you can take them from prep to the microwave to the dishwasher.
- Cook your meals and place in your containers.
- Store in fridge or freezer and reheat for each meal instead of cooking.
- Meal prepping saves a ton of time because you’re only cleaning up once! Plus you’re much less likely to go out for dinner or buy preprocessed meals that cost a lot.
There are a few tools that can make money saving meal prep a lot easier.
- 3 Compartment Meal Prep Containers with Lids – Reusable and Dishwasher Safe
- Dual Compartment Meal Prep Containers with Lids – For Hot and Cold Food
- Fitpacker Meal Prep Containers – USA Quality and Safety – BPA Free Food Storage
The Reddit forum /mealprepsunday is a wealth of knowledge if you’re just getting started with meal prepping.
Money Saving Tip #9: Make a Want/Need List
Before you buy anything that’s not essential, put it on a Want/Need list that you hold until the end of the month. At the end of the month, re-evaluate whether you still desire the item and whether you can include it in next month’s budget.
This strategy really helps cut down on impulse purchases that can drain money from your tight budget.
Money Saving Tip #10: Stack up Amazon’s Subscribe and Save Savings
Staying out of the stores is one way to save money and gas costs, but you still gotta have your garbage bags and toothpaste!
I actually save a ton of money use Amazon’s Subscribe and Save program, and it’s quite easy if you’ve never used it.
And when you subscribe to receive 5 or more items from Amazon, you get 15% off of all of your products! And they ship it to your door – how awesome is that?
You do have to be an Amazon Prime member, but if you’re like me, even on a tight budget that Amazon Prime cost is a big savings. We even got a part for our dryer shipped Prime next day – no extra cost.
If you’re not an Amazon Prime member yet, sign up for a free 30-Day Trial. Then you can subscribe to at least 5 products and get your 15% off.
BONUS Money Saving Tip – Set up a Plan to Budget and Track Your Spending
My favorite way to track spending and create a debt free plan is You Need a Budget (YNAB), a budgeting and expense tracking software product. I’ve personally been using YNAB for 5+ years. I’ve used it for business and personal accounts, and what I love about it so much is that it forces me to account for all of those random expenses I used to forget about – and then put on my credit card. The YNAB team also offers a ton of training videos to help you budget and plan for future expenses more effectively.
Personal Capital is another smart way to track and manage your finances. Over 1.4 million people use Personal Capital to track over $350 billion. That’s a lot of people and money. It has award-winning financial tools (that are FREE) to easily manage your entire financial life in one place.
You can get started with a FREE Personal Capital account here.
What are your favorite money saving tips? Let us know in the comments!