You have a tight income and all the money coming in goes to bills. You know you need to save, whether for retirement, an emergency, or a big-ticket item, but if every penny is going to essentials, you’re out of luck. Right?
Believe it or not, saving money is never ever impossible. Here are 14 ways saving money with a limited income can be done:
Cut back on grocery store spending.
The scenario replays itself every time you’re at the checkout: the clerk is scanning each item and with each “beep”, you’re getting more and more discouraged. How did this happen again? You were so determined to keep the costs down this time! Next time, try these tips:
1. Stock up on produce when it’s in season and on sale, not when it looks yummy. Once home, become a master of freezing or preserving what you can.
2. Find clearance meat. Ask the deli or butcher counter whether they have a special sticker or section for meat that needs to be cooked or frozen soon.
3. Stick with store brands.
4. Grab day-old bakery items. Like meat, these items are still great for your family, but cost about half of their fresh-baked counterparts.
Grow your own.
You don’t need to be a master gardener to save some cash.
5. Keeping a few container plants on your windowsill add both visual interest and food to your kitchen. Learning how to grow a few vegetables and herbs indoors during winter, and on the patio during the warmer months, can do wonders for your family’s saving capacity. An extra benefit is the healthy nutrition these items will offer, as opposed to pesticide-laden produce from thousands of miles away. Who knows – this may even save you money on doctors’ visits later on!
Attack your utility bills.
From “fuel surcharge” to “administrative fee”, extra line items are popping up on utility bills, but you’re not powerless. Try these tricks to cut back on the inescapable cost of heat, air conditioning, water, trash collection, electricity, and more.
6. Use less. Of course, you’ve heard this a thousand times. If you’re looking for a novel way to save, first, look in the mirror and ask yourself whether you’re willing to keep the thermostat cool in the winter, warm in the summer, and don/shed layers as needed to cope. Can you cut your showers short? Can you re-use dishwater to wash the car?
7. Use the toaster instead of your oven when possible.
8. Turn your water heater down and take quicker showers.
9. Flip the switch. Switch to energy-efficient light bulbs, that is! And don’t stop there. Look for the energy-star certification when you have to replace your appliances. Finally, use your bonus check for new windows.
10. Can’t afford new windows? Use a $8 tube of caulk to seal the edges of windows and doors where cold air leaks in.
11. Fan yourself instead of turning the air conditioner on thoughtlessly.
Too often, people spend money on gym memberships as well as gas money to get themselves there! Instead, get creative. Saving money with a limited income can be done if you:
12. Walk or bike whenever you can.
13. Get familiar with public transportation and use it.
14. Start a carpool for routine jaunts, like your work commute.
None of these tips will put a hundred bucks in your pocket overnight, so be patient and stick with it. Over time, the savings will add up, and you’ll feel like maybe that income isn’t so limited after all.
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Consumer Education Services, Inc. (CESI) is a non-profit service provider of comprehensive personal financial education and solutions for all life stages and for all of life’s milestones. Our goal is enhanced economic security for everyone we serve.
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