10 Ways to Save Money, Even on a Tight Budget

Shireen Fitzgerald
by Shireen Fitzgerald

Are you trying to work out ways to save money on a tight budget, but you think all your expenses are set and there's just no way you can save more? I can inspire you to try a few things that will show you it’s possible to live on a budget and save money. Get your pen and paper out and get ready to save!

1. Set a budget

The first thing I do is I set up a budget on a spreadsheet and you can do it on a piece of paper, it's quite easy. I put the income at the start of the page and after that, I list all of my expenses.

Usually, anything to do with the house is first. Then I add some personal variables like health insurance or the accountant. After that, I only have my business expenses and then I have my spending allowance. I try to keep it simple so it's not too hard to follow.

2. Get involved

Now, one of the interesting things I have set up is I am part of a co-op board, with condo fees. I make sure that I'm on the committee and by being on the committee you can influence those things. You can ask to go to the meetings and have an influence on the budget.

By attending meetings and having a say in how money is spent, I saved $400 quarterly by helping fees go down.

3. Review your mortgage

The other thing I like to do is always review my mortgage. I check the fees. I'm in a package deal at the moment and that's okay. I make sure that I compare that regularly to see if I switch banks and if I could get fewer fee charges or a less annual fee and I always ask for a review of the mortgage.

Why pay the bank more money than you need to? Changing banks might be an option.

How to save money on lighting

4. Check your lighting

Another thing I do is make sure that I look at the lighting in my home. I have LED lighting because it's cheaper and when an old-style bulb goes out I will change it to the cheaper LED because it will save you money in the long term on your electricity bill.

5. Pull the plug

The other thing I do is turn off power points. Did you know that if you don't pull the plug out, it still supplies power to the connection? Pulling the plug out can save you money.

6. Wash on cold

There are some other ways that you can save power. There also if you do your washing machine on cold, which I always do, then you're not heating the hot water and shorter showers, for instance, not heating hot water for that. If you're on power, even on gas, you can save money with that.

Reviewing health insurance

7. Review your health insurance

Another thing people don't tend to necessarily do is review their health insurance. Reviewing this sort of thing can save you a lot of money.

For me, I do get calls from the health insurance company asking me to review, but I'm in such a good deal now that because I've been with them for so many years, they tried to talk me into going with the new package. It's always worse because I'm on a grandfathered health insurance plan. In Australia where I am, it means that the rate I got 20 years ago will stand forever more.

8. Cut back on groceries

The other thing I do is I cut back on groceries. I try to cut back on groceries to see how cheap I can eat. Like just before I had oats and I'll have oats any time of the day. I'll have it for dinner, it doesn't matter. I try to cut out meat most of the time. I don't know that I eat meat that much anymore unless I've gone out for breakfast or lunch with someone. So I try to do that and just buy generic brands.

When I go to the supermarket, I buy packets of things that I know I might get by with. So if I bought a packet of sugar, I'll buy a smaller no brand packet, because sugar is sugar and it's very unlikely I would go through a giant packet. Be realistic about how much you need in a bulk purchase and if you would ever use it.

9. Rent out part of your home

I live in a small, tiny home. What I do is I live on one side. It's a two-bedroom, two-bathroom unit, but it's like a duplex in an apartment situation. Next door is the size of a bedroom and ensuite, and it's got a little kitchenette.

I rent out that and that brings me an income. So if you have the option to rent out a room, you've got a garage that you could set up with a kitchenette or a bathroom or it's already there, that might be something that you could do the figures and work out whether it could bring you an income.

Ways to save money on a tight budget

10. Shop financial accounts

The other thing I do is always shop accounts. I don't like paying for anything that I shouldn't have to pay for. So if I have savings accounts, for instance, I would never pay a monthly fee. They've already got your money so they should be paying me with interest.

Ways to save money on a tight budget

As you can see, there are many ways you can save money on a tight budget. I am in a no-buy year and I'm liking it. It's been quite interesting to learn how to budget and save money. As a minimalist, I am trying to make sure that I have less stuff and find that saving money has gotten easier than when I first started.

What do you do to cut back on your budget? Add your tips to the comments below.

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