five ways to save money on a tight budget

5 Ways To Save Money

five ways to save money on a tight budget

I would like to give you five tips to help reduce your spending. 

I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who are on a tight budget and don’t have much or any extra spending money. Maybe this will help.

Even while your own personal economy is doing well, it’s good practice to be careful and efficient with your money.

Why? Because you never know when your economy will get worse… and if you had saved that money prior, then you’d have more of it when you need it.

1. Coordinate Your Errands

Driving your car costs more than you might think. There’s the obvious cost of fuel. And then there are hidden costs per mile that get you over time.

These include the occasional replacement cost of tires, break jobs, oil changes, exhaust systems, and general repairs. It all adds up to a surprising sum!

Then factor in the replacement cost of a vehicle after it’s all ‘used up’!

The equivalent cost per mile of all these things is a lot more than you think!

Since it costs $$$ to operate your vehicle:

Stop backtracking everywhere…

We all have errands to run. Places to go. A lot of money can be saved over time by coordinating your errands.

It involves planning ahead and being efficient about your driving.

For example, if you need to pick up something at Walgreens or CVS, can it wait until you do groceries since you’ll be driving nearby anyway?

Eliminate backtracking and going different directions all the time.

2. Don’t Go To ‘The Store’ Too Often

Don’t go to the store too much. That means groceries or shopping in general.

It’s tempting to buy stuff when you’re there. So if you’re not there as often, you won’t be tempted as often!

I can tell you that I get tempted when I’m at certain stores… there’s always an excuse for a new tool, right? Just be smart about it…

3. Eat Your Food Storage

This one presumes that you are into preparedness and have a food storage or ‘deep pantry’.

It’s a great idea to actually rotate and consume those foods rather than letting it all sit there.

The money saving aspect is two-fold.

One, you can restrict yourself to buying ‘food storage’ items only when they’re on sale. That’s pretty much what we do. That way when you need something, you can just get it from your ‘deep pantry’ (bought on sale) instead of adding it to your grocery list and paying full price next time you’re out.

Two, there are certain preparedness food ‘staples’ such as dry grains, oats, rice, etc., that are inexpensive. For example, oatmeal for breakfast from your bucket of oats is pretty darn cheap compared to other choices.

The point is, Check out what you’ve stored. Dig in and start consuming it.

Store Foods that you would Normally Eat

Most Common Survival Foods

4. Eat At Home

Eat at home. As in, don’t go out to eat.

You do know how ridiculously expensive it can be to eat out compared to making your own food at home, right?

By the way, eat your leftovers too!

Ordering pizza for delivery does not count for “eat at home”!

5. Wait One Day Before Buying

Ask yourself, “Can I wait 24 hours, just one more day before I buy this?”

Then the next day, ask yourself the same question.

This will help to determine want versus needs (necessities). Impulse buys can be brutal and regretful. So just wait. You might feel different tomorrow!

Now I know we have a bunch of great contributors here who will add even more suggestions how to save money in the comments below:

Continue reading: Preparedness on Low Income

Best Ways to Invest Your Money?


  1. Don’t shop for groceries when you are hungry.

    Don’t shop for anything with a friend, but especially not for clothes.

    Don’t “save” money by buying cheaply made things that won’t last. (Don’t buy anything made in China, either.)

    1. One of the problems with taking someone with you when you shop is that, even if you don’t find what you want, you feel you have to buy something anyway, since you took up your friend’s time and they will be disappointed if the shopping trip ends up a bust.

      Most of the things I have bought that I wish I hadn’t bought were things I bought while on a shopping trip with a helpful friend.

      1. DaisyK — good point DaisyK…..and there is always the possibility they will urge you to buy something because they think it a good deal/tasty/etc

      2. Ha ha DaisyK

        Last time I went shopping with a friend I bought my farm.

      3. Daisy K
        I like shopping with my friend & neighbor, but found the best way to get in & out ASAP. Is take two baskets start off together when we have different rows of goods we meet up in another section go from there until we are done.

        It saves gas money, one vehicle, we trade off driving. If we have more places to go we schedule it into our day.

        When we get home we help each other unload the groceries to the front door of each others homes that way we share the work load. It makes a drudgery into somewhat of a fun day. lol (OK, we are strange rowl)

        1. Antique Collector,

          Yes, I have a good friend that I go to Walmart with. (60 miles each way) And we each go our own way after we get there. But that is not the same as having a friend help you shop and seeing that you didn’t buy the thing(s) you said you were going to buy.

          Actually, this friend is pretty frugal and she has actually talked me out of buying something that looked good at first. But she is the exception to the rule.

    2. (Don’t buy anything made in China, either.)

      Let me know how that works out for you…

      1. Chuck

        You are right; if you don’t buy anything made in China you don’t buy much. Then you don’t spend much money. Occasionally, there is something you really need that you can’t find except Made in China, but most of the time you can do without it and save the money.

        How many things have you bought from China a year ago that still work?

      2. Chuck, it works out fine. I buy old used stuff or I just don’t buy it if red communist china is my only option. I’ll buy from foreign countries. But I won’t knowingly buy from them red devils

    3. Being hungry is spot on. Mr. is famous for sneaking things in cart which he usually pushes and this is when he is hungry. What did you buy that for??? :-)

  2. We have a credit card that offers us 1.5% back on all purchases. Although we don’t spend on anything but gas and groceries, we do pay our utilities using the credit card which we also receive 1.5% cash back. It adds up over time.

    1. PG
      I get about 600-800 a year back in rebates on my Amazon card. Used to use my cabela’s card the same way but switched. I pay it off each month and so pay zero interest. You can pay grocery’s gas electric ect and as you said the rewards add up. If people check they will find you can pay for darn near everything with a credit card. You do however have to have the discipline not to over spend or carry a balance.

      1. I agree – we are able to collect about 1200 dollars off of one rewards card, paying it off monthly. We put everything on it, and since we have to pay for those things anyway, we get free money back. It has no fees, either, so it is free money that we use without interest every month.

    2. Yes, PG. Anything we buy we purchase on our rewards cards. I can make a backhoe payment 2 times a year with the stuff we have to spend money on anyway. And we pay the credit card off every month, and these credit cards have no fees. So it is a great deal to get the rewards, and we use their money (like banks use our money) for a month without interest.

      1. Sorry all – I tried to post this comment and the site said I already had – and it did not show til now. So, I have 2 comments!

  3. I forgot to mention that we do use one store loyalty card. We only use it to get money off at their gas station. Every dollar you spend in their grocery store adds up which allows us to get gas as much as 1.50 off each gallon. We don’t spend anymore for having the card as we only purchase items on sale.

    1. I hear ya on that one. But it’s ‘challenging’ for some people to determine the true difference between need and want. There are thresholds of such… ;)

      1. If I get delivery pizza and have to heat it up in the oven because it is a little cool, does that count as cooked at home?? 😜

  4. These are all excellent! To add to number one, pay attention to vehicle maintenance. Even simple things like low tire pressure wastes fuel and can cause a sudden blowout-or worse. Other simple things like keeping an eye on filters and fluids can save a very expensive repair….

  5. also a slightly different way to save….If you can stick to only buying stuff which is on stupid cheap/deep manager’s discount etc.., and only buy stuff you need/eat now or eventually, pretty soon you will have the luxury of shopping from your stores at home. Then you really need only buy when it is stupid cheap.

  6. For some reason on every prepper blog this comment gets pretty much as close to zero positive comments of anything I have ever read. It seems to generate an almost hate-filled response.

    It use to be how Americans were made and how we thought, but I think it has been bread out of us the last 100-years.

    And what comment is that????????


    Make more money.

    Become self-employed, the second you do so you and only YOU are in charge of your income. You can work just a bit more to make a bit more money or you can work a lot more to make a LOT more money.

    The more money you have the less you have to worry about the price of your corn flakes.

    And over the years I noticed (as have others I associate with) that the more you do it the more opportunities seem to come your way.

    As far as what you can do, it’s something you have to figure out. WE all have a skill others would pay for. Figure out what is inside you and bring it on.

    What did you do for a job the last 30-years, what hobbies, what did you always want to know more about?

    Learn it, get good at it and if need be print up flyers and deliver them door-to-door (by the way this is just what I did my first self-employed job)

    I went through a long (years long) personal SHTF and what changed it was self-employment. And because I was good at what I did it changed over night. I went from no money to having money in a few days.

    Anyone that decided they can do this can do it.

    But if you wallow in a pool of “I can’t do that” you will be right, you won’t be able to do it.

    WE all need money, SHTF we are still going to need money. The Tax-Man will still come and take your home if you don’t pay your taxes. This was common during the 1930’s.

    1. Chuck, I had a few minutes to come back to your comment. I believe in what you are saying but I also recognize the difficulty people have making the self employment adjustment. Every situation is different. For expediency, many of us first become employed at whatever job we can find just to get money coming in on a regular basis. We have to eat and pay the rent and utilities. Many do not use government assistance even when we would qualify. In our household, there were times that we worked self employed as secondary incomes to bolster the money coming in and give us a leg up. At this point in our lives, my spouse continues to work self employed in a business that provides a good income.

      And frankly, if you are fortunate enough to land a federal or state job that provides an income stream and benefits even after you retire, it is a bonus. I have no problem working for the people. And I appreciate all of those who have served in this capacity whether military, LEO, firefighters, yes, even teachers, etc….as long as they served the people and pulled their weight. It is individuals that create the stereotype that we dislike, not the profession they have chosen.

      But if you are in a job that has no benefits and pays poorly, it is time to think about what you do well and put it out there so you can start earning money. It is hard work to get established, but amazing once you get there and have the income coming mostly under your terms….to some degree. You still have to work with those who employ you to do work so they become your temporary boss in that you have to satisfy their needs and wants. Which sometimes can be a pain, but it is temporary until the work is completed. Or you have to sell your product to someone who may be a pain…or maybe you don’t and you have more product on your hands for awhile. All work entails some aspect that we may find unpleasant but it is life and we can deal with it. It just should not be a constant in your everyday life.

      Self employment is frightening to many because of all the unknowns and we need money to pay our bills. Consider getting your feet wet by starting the business you want to do while working that other job that pays the bills. Unless you’ve signed a non -compete agreement and then you need to be careful about the other job so it doesn’t come under that clause.

      We have had this conversation with three different married friends in the past year that needed income, had good skill sets that are in demand, but just couldn’t make the transition. It was too scary for them even though they could see the evidence of how we have benefitted from being self employed. Of course, we worked our butts off getting there (as they put it). It is a leap of faith in yourself.

      1. DAMedinNY I’ve heard it said many times that the best way to kill a Man’s dreams is to give him a good paying job.

        What is meant by that is you are not hungry for more when you have a job that pays.

        Why risk it is you can cruse and get by?

        I did this for years and got by well. But it changed in a moment (Motorcycle accident) and EVERYTHING I had went away.

        What I said above or in another post of the last few days is to try self-employment one-day a week. Keep at it till you find something that works and then do more of it.

        As far as to when to give up a regular job, that’s easy. When you find it getting in the way of making more money being self employed.

        It may be that only one day of working for yourself is enough, but people will never know if they don’t try.

        And here is something to think about.

        What happens to you if the government checks stop or are not worth the paper they are printed on? Same thing with that retirement check.

        (Self employment is frightening to many because of all the unknowns and we need money to pay our bills.)

        Very true, but what about the unknowns of the checks stopping and not showing up every month? I went through this and more, NEVER AGAIN. It took years to get over and that was in a good economy, it would be many times harder post-SHTF. Or impossible to do.

        Being self employed you don’t worry about this.

        I can and do fix just about everything in a home, rentals and businesses. Good or bad times things are still going to need fixed.

        No most people don’t have the repair skills I have, but I would bet they have some skills Joe & Jane Public needs.

        And I can guarantee it’s better to flush them out today then it is post-SHTF.

      1. LOL I can’t walk through Home Depot without a stroll down the tool isle…..

      2. blackjack22 & Chuck F
        Well the tool section and sporting goods are the exception.

        1. Pegasus
          Forgot to include the farm stores, lumber yards.
          Ohh good grief what list?

  7. Learn to do your own repairs. This time of year it’s the lawnmower (yesterday). Or it may be the transmission on your car (last year), or the broken limb on a tree (needs to be done), or the washing machine. Or this week, my sewing machine. : )

  8. A hinda related thing happened to me in the last few days.

    My parents always bought a lot of insurance policies and I have been going through them.

    I decided to turn a John Hancock policy they had on me from years ago. It is a $4,200.00 cash-out. They sent me a check after I canceled it.

    I normally pull this money out of the bank right away and put in one of the safes I have.

    I was a bit busy and did not do it for 5-days and got a letter from the bank telling my they removed $4,200 from my account.

    It turns out they misspelled my last name by one letter on the check and canceled it. But they canceled it 2-days after I deposited it in my bank.

    They since have issued another check that came in the mail today.

    But the bank took my money, and it was my money as the check was good when I made the deposit. They had no right to steal over 4-K of my money that was written on what was at the time a good check. They should have went to John Hancock, not stole my money.

    Once I go to the bank in 2-days I will cash it for cash and not deposit it at all. This way it’s my money that is in MY HANDS.

    My point is to never trust your bank as their interest and your best interest is not the same.

    Money in the bank use to mean “as good as gold” but no so much any more.

    We all work hard and our money should be our money.

    Sad but the banks don’t see it this way.

    1. Good as gold. Nowadays that actually means “printed on the best TP available.” I always just keep the bare minimum in my bank. I trust it a lot more in my pocket than in their hands.
      Side note: almost everyone I work with doesn’t use cash anymore. They use their phones to pay for everything. I am overseas and see that everywhere. To me, cash is king until it becomes worthless (which it is more and more every day).

  9. My add on would be to get rid of services you truly do not need.

    Cable and internet in this area are $160 per month. We can get along without cable but we want the internet.

    Phone service can be from a company that does not lock you in and charge $800 for a phone.

    You don’t need a gym membership – push mow your lawn, garden, and do your own work around the house.

  10. I have dozens of batteries in flashlights and remotes and have removed them from those that are rarely used.

    1. Good one Chevy. I’ve had many remotes and devices ruined from leaky batteries. It took me a while but I have wisened up some. I said some as I still have a long way to go.

  11. Spend your money wisely.

    I time my bulk propane purchases for mid-summer when propane companies tend to run “specials”. Most people tend to put off until they run out in mid-winter when prices are at their highest.

    Limit your trips to the stores. Two $500 trips is a whole lot better than ten $150 trips (impulse buying kills you).

    Be diligent doing preventive maintenance on your power equipment, and don’t abuse it. Learn what makes it work so you can repair it yourself should it quit working.

    If it’s on sale, and you use a lot of it, if it don’t spoil, stock up on it.

    Went by Tractor Supply yesterday to pick up some pesticide for the garden, with wife and grand daughter. Located the pesticide we were looking for, browsed around while trying to locate wife and grand daughter. Located them, grand daughter holding a stuffed toy dog, price $12.95. Value? Probably 50 cents. Left store with two items, a jug of pesticide and a smiling grand daughter clutching a priceless stuffed dog. Money wisely spent.

    1. Some may say the purchase of the stuffed animal was a waste of money and you should not teach her to waste money on junk. My opinion is I work hard to make money for just those types of buy’s. Why earn money if you can’t enjoy it.

      1. The only reason I go to work and make money is to take care of the people I love. If all the bills are paid and I have the money to spare then I will buy what we want. Happy grandkids are worth a lot to me. DW will sacrifice what she wants to get stuff for the grandkids and me. She does not understand that I also want to sacrifice to make her happy.

        There was a story about a young married couple. The husbands prize possession was his grandfathers pocket watch. The wife’s prize possession was her long beautiful hair. They had no money to buy each other gifts for Christmas. The wife cut her hair and sold it to buy her husband a gold watch chain. The husband sold his watch to buy his wife a beautiful hair ribbon. The moral of the story is, no matter how poor we are we will sacrifice for the ones we love.

        1. car guy — I too recall reading / being read that story in school.

  12. One thing I’ve learned from the comments is that although saving money is important there are other things that are more important and are worth paying for at any cost. Giving is a bargain

  13. Similar to others, use an air miles, no fee, CC for everything during the month. Deduct from the budget weekly, don’t have the cash then we don’t buy it. Pay the CC bill monthly to zero out and start the next month. Vehicle/equipment gas, fuel oil, groceries, other stuff purchases, etc… The miles accrued allows basically free airline flights (aside from any additional fees, taxes), no serious cash outlay for hunting trip travels or any unplanned travel due to possible family emergencies. We had two airline CCs, but cashed in the miles on one card since we were not using the miles, cashed in for specific retail cash cards, helped stock up some. Previous work travel racked up about 250,000 miles. For what it’s worth.

  14. Another way to save. Buy NEEDED seasonal items when they are on sale at the end of the season when stores rotate their stock. If possible, save those items for use during the next season when they will come back in use.

  15. And yet another way to save. Buy clothing at thrift and discount stores. Instead of buying that $70 pair of Eddie Bauer pants, buy those like new Wranglers for $4.99 at Goodwill.

    But wait there’s more!!

    Every other weekend Goodwill has half off on most items. So just think about how many clothes you could buy for that one $70 Bauer pants. No, no… I am not saying that you have to go out and spend $70 on clothes but just showing how there is a large price difference.

    And no, I am not a spokesperson for Goodwill or the Salvation Army. Regards

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