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7 Ways to Save More on an Already Tight Budget

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Guest post from Kristin of Joyfully Thriving.

As a frugal mom, I am always looking for ways to save my family money. We were always on a tight budget, but after having children our income was cut almost in half when I became a stay-at-home-mom. Since then, I have had to work harder than ever to find ways to save.

I have learned that saving money is possible, even when your budget is tight. These ideas aren’t earth-shattering but they do work. You probably won’t be able to save as much as you used to save (or as much as you would like to save) but you still can save something!

Work hard and get creative to start saving.

Here are some of the ideas that we used to save money on our tight budget.

1. Sell things.

This is one of the quickest ways to earn money and can be done anytime money is tight. Look around your house and find some things to sell. I guarantee you have things to sell!

You can sell just about anything on Craigslist or through a Facebook garage sale. Have an actual garage sale. Sell books at Half Price Books or via Sell your clothes at a consignment shop or online through a site like thredUP. Whatever you make from selling, put it straight into your savings account.

2. Eat from the pantry.

I would venture to guess that you have food in your pantry, fridge and freezer. It may be an eclectic mix but that’s okay.

Give yourself the challenge of eating from what you already have on hand and skip the grocery store for a week. Put whatever you would have spent on groceries into your savings account.

3. Use coupon apps and put the money earned in savings.

I have become a big fan of coupon apps for the simple way they can earn money. Start using coupon apps and whenever you can cash out, put the money directly into savings. The same principle can be applied to shopping through cashback sites.

4. Audit all your bills.

Really look at all your bills. It is a known fact that we can negotiate bills with most companies, but how many of us actually do it?

Start by cutting any bills you possibly can. If and when you’ve already done that, call the other companies to see if they can lower your bill.

Utilities, car insurance, your mortgage – any bill is fair game. You can even do a grocery audit to save money! Whatever the difference, set up a monthly transfer into your savings account.

5. Stay put.

When you don’t go out, you don’t spend money. You don’t spend money on food, entertainment or gas. It’s harder to calculate but look at your gas bill for the month.

See if you can skip one fill-up this month by staying put. Whatever money you save, once again, put it into savings.

6. Challenge yourself to a no spend week / month.

This idea is old and often encouraged by the most frugal of us, but when was the last time you completed a no spend challenge?

Now is a perfect time. You set the rules and the time frame. No matter how long you do it, you are bound to find savings that you can tuck away!

7. Look for a cheaper way to do everything.

Instead of going to a movie theater, rent a movie on Netflix. Instead of using Neflix, borrow a free movie from the library.

If you go on a weekly date night, can you switch it to an every other week date night?

Instead of hiring a babysitter, swap babysitting duties with another mom and her family.

If you like to eat out, commit to only eating out with coupons or gift cards.

Start thinking about everything you do and look for a more frugal way of doing it.

I hope this post has given you some new thoughts on ways to find savings on your tight budget.

Remember, get creative and you will find ways to save. Be careful not to let the savings disappear into your monthly budget! As soon as you find a new way to save, put the savings into a specific account or else it will get used for other purposes. (I have learned that lesson too many times!)

How do you save money when your budget is already tight?

Kristen is a frugal stay-at-home mom of two, who works hard to save her family money. She writes at Joyfully Thriving about learning to love her frugal life, as she encourages others to do the same. She loves baking with chocolate, good books, and saving money. 

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  • Sabrina says:

    After being with the same company for over 20 years, I recently decided to re-evaluate our home/vehicle insurance policies.
    Taking the time to check with another company saved us a little over $1200 per year. AND, the new insurance company gives us a discount for payroll deduction of our payment. One additional extra bonus, we no longer have to pay our homeowners in a lump sum in November. Cheaper payment, lower rate, auto-pay, and no lump sums: WIN!

  • Staying home saves us tons of money! We all probably have board games and yard games and all kinds of fun things available to us at our homes that we never use.

  • Staying home is a big one for us. Also, when we do go out, we find free things to do whenever possible. Most communities have free outdoor concerts, kids’ activities, etc. during the summer. We’ve been able to do all sorts of fun things this summer without paying a dime!

  • Mrs. W says:

    Great post! Lots of super helpful tips. Thank you!

  • Carla says:

    Great tips! I do the same, I focus on “the bare necessities” and nothing else…!

  • Alicia says:

    We have relatives that like to give our kids a little gift for birthday/Christmas. We generally suggest clothes and/or a few special toys. We have spent almost nothing on clothes or toys for our kids ever. (Books are another story…) When we do, we check out the thrift stores first.

    As long as the kids have a nice outfit for church, an okay-ish outfit for a less formal event, and a few sets of everyday clothes, we’re set. We just use old t-shirts for pajamas.

  • Amy says:

    I just wanted to add that the payouts from thredup are pretty slim- I sent in 12 pieces of name brand clothing in excellent condition and they only accepted one and have me about 1.50. I’ve heard of other similar experiences. Craigslist or a local consignment may be a better way to go with clothes!

  • Maryalene says:

    This is such a great list. I think #5 is key if you are trying to save money (vs. make money). It seems like every time you leave the house, you can find a reason to spend money. Even going to free things like the library or a community concert seem to lead to the kids asking to get ice cream or eat out and I always find myself easily swayed and saying yes. Or at least this is one of my personal weaknesses!

  • Sarah says:

    This post is well timed for me. Long story short, I lost my husband over the weekend after a three year lung cancer battle. I haven’t worked outside the home in months (I have made some extra money on Fiverr) because I took time off to care for him and our 5yo. I’m applying for survivor benefits, and have an interview for that, but it’s not until August. I’m left kind of scrambling for what we’re going to do for the next month (I’m borrowing from my in-laws to pay funeral expenses). Depending on what happens over the rest of the week, I’m going to be selling A LOT of our stuff and making several phone calls.

    • Elyse says:

      Would anyone be able to set up a GoFundMe for you, or host a garage sale to raise funds to pay for funeral and living expenses? I am so sorry for your loss.

      • Sarah says:

        Thank you. I’ve considered setting up a GoFundMe, but haven’t done it yet. I’ve been meaning to have a yard sale for a while, but have been too busy. I have a ton of stuff that has barely been touched since we moved (over four years ago!) I do have a plan, it’s just a matter of putting it all into motion.

    • Oh, Sarah. My heart aches for you, as you mourn the loss of your husband. I’m thankful your in-laws are able to help right now as you figure out the next steps! My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  • Great tips! It’s been awhile wince we’ve done a ‘no spend challenge’ in or house. Might be time to do that again!

    • I think it’s time for us to do a no spend challenge, too. What I love about these is that we can truly adapt them to our circumstances and set our own rules – and time frame – for a no spend challenge! Good luck to you on yours!

  • Bella says:

    Thanks for sharing these great and helpful tips. Most of the time, we avoid eating out and make my kids’ favorite items at home. It’s quite helpful and I always search for online deals and discounts and compare them.

  • Jen says:

    I love hand-me-downs. Luckily, my kids don’t seem to mind. (I remember hating having to wear clothes my cousins already wore.) I do buy some clothing for my kids (probably too much) but I almost always buy from the clearance rack or from Once Upon a Child.

    We love free events too. After swim practice this morning, we went to the library for story time. It was outside in the sunshine with a snack provided by the library. We then went back into the library and my kids played for a while.

    We then went to one of the elementary schools and my kids got a free lunch (government program but no income requirements).

    I brought my kids home and one watched a DVD we checked out from the library and the other was picked up by a friend. She and her friends are going to the movies – multiple theaters in my area have free movies on certain days/times.

    They had a big day and it cost me $5 for popcorn/drink for my daughter.

  • Ilaina says:

    How do you negotiate a lower mortgage? I have done it with the other bills, but never that one. Thank you.

  • Jess says:

    What are your favorite coupon apps and how do you use them?

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