When every dime seems to go to paying rent and bills, saving on a tight budget can seem impossible. Often, we go into the red, waiting for the next lifeline to bail us out. But there are always ways to save and make your money grow. It’s natural to spend money without thinking – we all do it – so taking back control can be the most satisfying way to get savings back on track. Here are five easy money-saving tips to make your money grow.
- Make a budget. Knowing where your money is going is incredibly helpful, because it lets you know where savings can be made. Everybody has a few things they spend on that they can economize on, whether it’s by eliminating it entirely, or finding a cheaper version of it.
- Look for an expense to cut and make good on it. You can’t always change your fixed expenses, but variable expenses are what you should be targeting. Some ideas include: cable TV, magazine subscriptions, expensive haircuts, dry cleaning. Netflix is cheaper than cable. Beauty schools can offer similar quality services to salons at a fraction of the cost. The library is cheaper than buying books. Consider joining Bunz, where people trade and shop locally without exchanging money.
- Ditch the car. This will depend on where you live and how you commute to work, but in many large cities it’s entirely possible to live without a car. You can save many thousands of dollars a year by removing insurance, maintenance, parking, car payments and gas from your monthly expenses.
- Take lunch to work. This seems basic, yet so many people don’t do it. And it adds up. If you spend $7 every working day, you’ll spend about $1,800 annually. If you pack your lunch, you can create a well-balanced meal for about $1.50.
- Consolidate your debts. Debt won’t get better or go away on its own and ignoring it won’t help. If you can put all your debt into one easy monthly payment, you could pay less interest and pay off debt faster, leaving you with more money to save.
Get started by challenging yourself to a “buy nothing” week, every month, where you do as many of these seven tips as possible. It might sound hard, but it isn’t that bad. For one week, pack lunches, skip Starbucks and eating out, and make meals from groceries already in your cupboards and freezer. Say no to shopping online and offline by resisting trips to the mall, by not clicking on online ads and by unsubscribing to newsletters from your favourite stores. And you will start to see the difference in your bank account each month!