Are you living on a tight budget? Do you desperately want to find ways to save money, but can’t seem to find anything to cut from your budget? I’ve read many articles over the years that included really obvious suggestions like, “Make your own coffee at home,” “pack your lunch,” or “carry a reusable water bottle instead of buying bottled water.” Since I’ve always done those things the majority of the time, suggestions like that never really helped me.
However, they did get me to thinking about some really simple ways our family has saved money over the years.
A couple of weeks ago I shared a post to get you started saving money. If you’ve already checked those off you list, I hope these ideas will give you a few additional ways you can curb spending on an already tight budget.
Ways to Save When You’re Living on a Tight Budget
1. Attempt to fix it yourself. Now, before anyone gets excited, I’m not suggesting you rewire the electric in your house. Clearly, that is a skill set to be left to the professionals. Think more along the lines of using YouTube or Google to help you figure out why your dishwasher is making that clanking sound. Mark has never identified himself as a “do it yourself” type, but more and more he will try to fix things himself before calling the repairman. He has in fact, tinkered with and fixed our vacuum cleaner, dishwasher and lawnmower! #standingovation
2. Make do with what you have. Again, this might seem obvious, but I’ve known people who’s first reaction when they don’t have something they need was to rush right out and buy a new “XYZ.” It’s worth considering (especially if you’re on a tight budget) the possibility that you have something in your home that is an adequate replacement. For example, my beloved $100 CHI iron began giving me trouble a couple of months ago. It wasn’t holding heat and would flicker off and on. I realized after a couple of days that the position of the cord determined if it stayed on or off. After experimenting with some black electrical tape, it worked just like normal.
This tape job “bought” me about six more weeks of Chi iron life. In that time, I was able to work a new flat iron into the budget. Oh, and you’ll be happy to know it was on sale!
3. Think outside the box, especially with everyday household items. Around the first of the year, my jewelry outgrew its organizational home and had become a jumbled mess. I searched Pinterest for a couple of days for cute and clever ideas, but most of them required materials I didn’t have on hand. Because I didn’t want to spend any money for this project, I looked around at items I already had. Here’s what I came up with: a small, unused cork board and push pins became a home for my necklaces and this plastic egg carton nestled in my nightstand drawer is the perfect place to wrangle the majority of my earrings and bracelets.
While it won’t win any awards for cuteness, it’s practical and organized, which works for me.
4. Practice contentment. Perhaps your daydreaming about an item, outfit, or vacation that is completely frivolous. I get it. Technology is wonderful, but it can make it difficult to keep our priorities in order. If you find yourself feeling “less than,” consider taking a break from social media. Make a list of ten things you’re thankful for. Do an act of service. Send a sick or discouraged friend a card. These things usually do the trick to shift my mind away from discontentment and covetousness. I have also found that stopping everything for a moment and getting down in the floor to play with my boys is a wonderful way to practice contentment. What’s better for a tight budget than free activities that bless others or give thanks to God?
5. Rather than buying, consider borrowing from a friend or family member. A wagon you only need for a weekend trip, garden tiller, power washer, or suitcase are examples that come to mind. We’ve borrowed my dad’s truck more times than I can count for various projects. Thanks Dad! 🙂
6. Shop your pantry, closet, attic, or garage FIRST. Chances are, you’ve got something in your house somewhere that would work. Y’all know I love that Amish saying, “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.” Regardless of the size of your bank account, I believe we can all practice this.
7. Make it yourself! Similar to making do, I suppose, but slightly different. This could be food you have the ingredients for, but aren’t accustomed to making from scratch. An example that comes to mind for me is syrup. I recently made pancakes THEN realized maple syrup hadn’t made it onto the grocery list. With a plateful of pancakes, I needed to come up with something (other than loading up four kids to go to the store in my pjs). My solution was to make some from some frozen berries I had in the freezer.
A Google search provided me the basic recipe components and I quickly made a batch. Would you believe the boys actually asked for berry syrup the next morning, rather than maple syrup?
Even if you aren’t experiencing a lean season of life, I think these ideas are things we can all do (the Derringers included) to be better stewards of what we’ve been blessed with.
I hope that perspective will help you as you seek to make your dollars stretch.
How about you? How do you save money on a tight budget?