How to Save Money While on a Budget
When you're already on a tight budget, saving can seem impossible, but the truth is that it's easier than you think — the hardest part is getting started. Read on for six easy tips to help you stash your cash.
Track Your Spending
Tracking your spending for a month is an easy way to see where your money is really going. Use your Notes app to track your day-to-day expenses, and look at your monthly bank statements. You might be surprised to find expenses there that don't serve you anymore, like fees for apps you no longer use. One in-game purchase at a time might feel like nothing, but they can add up quickly.
Cut Some Corners
Think about everything you could possibly change to save a few dollars. Would another insurance company offer you a lower rate? Can you do your nails at home instead of paying someone else? Start meal prepping if you notice you're eating out too often. Skip that Dunkin run and make your own coffee with your favorite creamer. Soon enough you'll have a little extra cash to put aside for bigger purchases or your rainy-day fund.
Pay Your Debts
Debt can accumulate interest over time, so if you're carrying high-interest debt, work on paying that off as soon as possible. It's easier said than done, of course, but if you can pay a bill in full instead of partially, do it — the interest you would have accrued by waiting is money that stays in your pocket.
Forget Credit Cards
Building credit is important, but if you're going to use a credit card, use it only for essentials and not covering splurges. That way you can pay it off every month and not worry about carrying a balance. And don't sign up for cards offered to you at your favorite stores — the perks are never worth the possibility that you'll spend more than you have.
One great way to keep your savings on track is to put a certain amount of cash in your wallet each week, or every time you set out for a shopping trip or a night out with friends. Then pretend like your credit or debit card doesn't exist. You can't overspend when you're limited to the bills in your wallet!
The Envelope Method
The envelope method is a great trick my mom taught me; it's how I saved to pay back my student loans. Pick an amount that is currently comfortable for you and begin placing it in an envelope at the end of each week. Put it in a safe space, then forget about this money and don't consider it yours until there's enough in there to meet the goal you want to achieve.