How to Save When Money is Tight

Do you ever wonder why it's so difficult to save money - even if you've eliminated the cable, the dinners out, and you've never had a late night dessert habit?

One reason it's so difficult to save is that your fixed costs — those that remain constant month after month, such as rent or mortgage, auto payments, property taxes, and insurance premiums — tend to be your largest bills. These aren't exactly simple to get rid of. Sure, you might reduce your rent by relocating to a smaller apartment, but moving is also costly.

Let’s look at ways to scale back:

Time your Purchases

You may not be able to time a car repair or vet bill, but with discretionary purchases, knowing when to get the best deals can mean big savings. Need a TV? Wait until January, when last year’s models are discounted to make room for the new ones. Looking for new furniture? Retailers often clear out their stock during summer, making July prime time for scoring cheap furniture.

Stick to Meal Prep

Grocery stores play all kinds of sneaky mind games with you, and you’re most vulnerable if you shop while you’re harried and hungry. A great way to combat their money-snatching tactics is to make a shopping list and devote a few hours to meal prep every week.

Pro Tip: Buy in Bulk

Got a Raise? Spend Wisely

Do your tastes get fancier every time you get a raise? This phenomenon is called lifestyle inflation, and it’s a notorious savings killer. You don’t have to live like you’re on an entry-level salary forever, but make a plan for your future raises so your living expenses increase at a slower rate than your salary. For example, plan to save half of your next pay increase and sock the rest in savings.

Cancel Automated Subscriptions

Curbing mindless spending isn’t just about cutting out late-night Amazon purchases and impulse grocery buys. You probably have monthly subscriptions and memberships that are draining your bank account each month for things you rarely, if ever, use.

Lower Energy Consumption

No, we aren’t going to tell you to invest thousands of dollars on solar panels for your home as a way to save money on your electric bill. But there are a few inexpensive tricks that can help you save money on utilities. Simple things like regularly changing air filters and switching to more efficient light bulbs can make a big difference on energy costs.

Repair instead of Buying something new

Just because something’s broken doesn’t mean it’s destroyed. By learning some basic DIY techniques, you can make your lightly damaged goods like new again without shelling out for repairs.

Travel on a Bike wherever possible

Even if it’s not feasible to ditch your car, bike commuting a couple days a week can help you save money on obvious expenses, like gas and parking. But there’s a bonus here: When you’re on your bike, you can fit a lot less in your basket or backpack than you can in your car trunk. So if you have a habit of making extra trips to the grocery store or stopping for takeout on your way home, traveling by bike reduces the temptation.