Saving on tight budget - is it possible.?

Canada
January 29, 2008 11:00am CST
Many people are on a tight budget. Retired people on a fixed income, people who have to live from paycheque to paycheque just to keep up with their bills and sometimes not making it to the end of the month. So how can you save as well? It seems to be impossible. 1. Start small - do you buy coffee or a soft drink every day? I used to go to the coffee shop next door to me, just for a morning coffee, read the paper and socialize with friends who live nearby. The coffee shop closed down to make way for a new condo building. I realized I am now saving about $ 50 per month. I make a pot of coffee at home and invite my friends from time to time. I go across the street to get a free daily paper. 2. Cut down the number of times you buy take-out. 3. If you go to work and buy your lunch every day make a point to bring it with you once a week and then twice a week or more often. 4. Cut down on your day time minutes on your cell phone. Wait to chat with a partner or friend until you get home. 5. Cut down your purchases on credit. 6. Visit second hand stores - I have found some wonderful stuff for pennies. 7. Watch for sales if you need an item. My son bought a slow cooker last week for $ 49.99. This week it is on sale for $ 19.99, the exact same model. He is taking his receipt to the store. They said they would honour the sale price and give him a credit for $ 30. 8. Make as many meals from scratch as you can. Baked beans, Sheperd's pie, chili, chicken and other meats. Some of this can be made in quantities and frozen. 9. Make sure you protect your credit. Make at least the minimum payment on your cards on time. 10. Buy only necessities until you are on more solid ground and have a little bit of money left over each month. How about you - do you follow any of these tips to save money?
3 people like this
12 responses
• United States
29 Jan 08
First of all, I'm rating this discussion a + for excellent, relevant content. Since I'm a smoker, quitting is the best way I know of saving. Yard sales are great! I bought a brand new paper shredder for $15.00. It's a large one. I also bought clothes that are in excellent condition for $1-2 per item. The other method I have for seeing money at the end of the month is rounding everything I deduct from my checkbook up to the next 5-10 amount. For example, if I've spent $16, I deduct $20. That's how I build a little nest egg (secret savings). It has saved my buns on numerous occasions! Purchasing from the Dollar Tree or other dollar store is another way of saving oodles of money. I buy shampoo, dishwashing soap, yarn, food, and a lot of other things there.
• Canada
30 Jan 08
You have some excellent suggestions yourself. If we put every one's suggestions together each one of us could find more ways to save a little. I think the secret is to do it gradually otherwise if it hurts too much people give up.
1 person likes this
@winterose (39897)
• Canada
30 Jan 08
I am beyond that too poor to have a cell phone, just the house phone, never buy even a coffee outside the home, make sure I eat before I go out. live from food banks wear second hand clothes have internet but it does bring in money so it is not a luxury for me but a necessity
1 person likes this
@winterose (39897)
• Canada
30 Jan 08
I am a writer and author and e-zine publisher, I get payed for my writing, I made close to 4,000 last year, not talking about these little sites, like mylot and stuff like that.
• Canada
30 Jan 08
Why that is wonderful. Hopefully you are on the way to increasing those earning from writing and publishing. One day you might hit a really profitable venture and then you can fulfill some of your dreams and splurge a bit. Best wishes.
@winterose (39897)
• Canada
31 Jan 08
thanks linda, that is my goal, I hope it will turn into a full time job, that is what I am hoping for.
@cher913 (25865)
• Canada
29 Jan 08
what if you do all these things and still are having problems financially??? we are, but we are getting a consolidation loan which will help, but we will still be living frugally to save for the girls college ed, weddings and retirement.
1 person likes this
• Canada
30 Jan 08
It is hard to manage all this. A consolidation loan will help you immensely as long as you don't add more debt. I don't know how old your girls are but when they are teenagers and have little jobs themselves they can cover some of their own expenses and you can save a little more. More and more young people pay for their own wedding and spend only as much as they afford. Retirement, yes that is the big thing. People who have enough money to live comfortable in retirement seem to be the happiest. Best wishes.
30 Jan 08
There are many website avialble for the girls to apply to scholarships and to recieve grants, that are based on a number of different qualifications. You would be surprised as to how little amount of people actually apply for them. I know some people that have been able to pay for their whole education by applying to them.
@cher913 (25865)
• Canada
30 Jan 08
i am sure its different here, we are in canada...all i know of is student loans which have to be paid back, i am sure we make too much for a grant...
@dudumodu (48)
• Israel
29 Jan 08
Excellent subject. The best way to save money is to budget and to review your expences periodically, say monthly. I also want to draw attention to the this- that a very important fact is hidden in your point number three:the point that once you begin to save, you progressively find it easier to exist on less and less and of course to save more and more.I am referring to your point about bringing lunch with you, first once a week, then twice,thrice etc. The crucial starting point if you use the budgeting route is sve 10% compulsorily.Grasdually, you will find yourself moving to 20,30 etc.It however applies to all sorts of saving.
• Canada
30 Jan 08
You are so right, reviewing expenses is really important. You are also very observant it is best to change habits gradually otherwise it is too easy to give up. Starting with ten percent does not hurt that much, you hardly notice it and when you see your savings grow a little it will give you momentum to move on to the next level.
1 person likes this
• Israel
30 Jan 08
Thanks for your kind comments. More on this kind of talk can be gotten from the books Rich Dad,PoorDad by Kiyosaki and The Richest Man in Babylon by George Clason. I also got to know a site only a few minutes ago and I see it might benefit you. http://www.babystepfinance.com All the best. I am still very much in on this discussion.
1 person likes this
• Canada
30 Jan 08
Thanks for this site. I will spend some time reviewing it. Best wishes.
1 person likes this
@tinkerick (1257)
• United States
29 Jan 08
These are awesome tips - perfect for the average person. I too used to buy coffee from the gas station everyday, largely because they had the flavored creamers. Then it dawned on me that it was cheaper to make coffee at home, and buy a container of flavored creamer - which would last me at least 1-2 weeks, then to buy the $1.00 cup of coffee each day. You don't happen to have any advice on how to get yourself out of debt from payday loans do you?
1 person likes this
• Canada
30 Jan 08
There you go, you are already saving a bit on the coffee. Put the money away until you have a bigger amount and pay off a bill with it. As far as payday loans are concerned I think they are evil. I get annoyed every time I see a Money Mart. These places profit from people who can least afford to pay the high interest rates. If you get in deep with them it is very difficult to get out of debt. My best advise is to approach your bank or a debt consolidator to pay off the payday loan and then make smaller payments to the other institutions. If money runs out between paydays try and prepare meals from what you can find in the house, get some help from a food bank if there is one, watch TV instead of renting a movie or going out. Not much else I can say since we all have different situations. Best of luck to you.
@crazylife (855)
• United States
29 Jan 08
It is kind of hard to save on a tight budge but you should always put down at least $20 or $30 every two weeks or at least every month.
1 person likes this
• Canada
30 Jan 08
Yes, you are right it is hard and sometimes impossible but if one makes a start and has a little money left over to carry forward it will grow and inspire to do it again.
1 person likes this
@suspenseful (40314)
• Canada
29 Jan 08
I make most of my meals form scratch, and the only time we go for takeout, my husband pays and we have a birthday, anniversary, or special occasion supper. I do not like cutting out my credit cards because I pay it off at the end of the month or before I get the statement. I do not buy second hand as I am overweight and have to go to the specialty shops. So a lot of the advise does not work because well do not have a coffee every day, do not work outside the home, etc. I have my own way to save money, decide what you want to buy, and save the money for it, it will get interest, and then you can put it on the card, get the points, and before you get the statement pay it off. Also cell phone, call only when it is free in the evenings and weekends and do not use text. And during the daytime only talk to those who use the same kind of provider, otherwise use the land line.
• Canada
30 Jan 08
As you say you have your own way of saving money which suits your particular circumstances. You seem to be doing all the right things.
@Sillychick (3279)
• United States
29 Jan 08
I do. I used to buy a large cup of coffee on my way to work every day, plus a bottle of water at lunch. By making coffee at home and refilling the water bottles, I saved $3 a day. We hardly ever eat take out. Instead we make the same foods at home- pizza, burgers, that sort of thing. I shop at second hand stores all the time- especially for my son. He outgrows things so fast that it would be a waste to spend a lot of money on clothes. I got his snow suit for $6 at a second hand store. A similar one new is around $40. Some other things I do to save. Buy generic of most things. It's even cheaper than using coupons for the name brands. Make a menu for the week before going grocery shopping so I don't over buy and then let the food go to waste. Turn of lights and unplug things that are not in use to cut down on electricity. Turn down the thermostat and wear a sweater. Shop at the library or church book sales for 'new' books to read. Pay bills online to save postage and envelopes. Group errands in as few trips as possible to save gas.
1 person likes this
• Canada
30 Jan 08
I see you are a pro. You have many good suggestions that we can add to the list. Thank you so much. You also made an excellent point about coupons. I find the same thing. Often name brands even with coupons are still more expensive than generic foods or bulk foods.
• United States
30 Jan 08
Your response to my comment gave me an idea -- to make a collection of all our ideas and lump them together for a mega-discussion. What are your thoughts, Linda?
• Canada
30 Jan 08
It is a good idea but I am not so sure if it is suitable for Mylot. I think they don't want discussions where the subject has already been discussed. But you write and I thought after, all these tips would make a good article someplace.
• United States
31 Jan 08
That's a possibility. Thank you for your suggestion. I'm thinking about how to write it and give everybody the credit for contributing. Meanwhile, i've got the responses saved in a Word document. I thought of another one I didn't see listed. Instead of buying bottles of water, take your collection of empty bottles to a water store and get them refilled for a fraction of the cost of buying another bottle from the store.
• Canada
31 Jan 08
Yes, you should add the water. It can be done wherever there is a water store. Where I live there is none nearby. What I do is fill a big jug with water, let it stand for a couple of hours to get the chlorine to evaporate, then I add a couple of slices of lime or lemon and put the jug in the fridg and make sure to cover it so it does not pick up flavours from other foods. Then when I go out and take water with me I fill a small bottle to take with me. I also use it to fill the water glasses on the table at dinner. I change the water every three days or so. As far as giving credit when writing the article I would just mention that many people in a forum (too many to mention individually) contributed the tips and express your thanks. You are very thoughtful to think of giving credit. If you want to expand your article, go to my profile. I posted another thread on tips how to save fuel. Nobody seems to be interested in that one, or maybe it is because I created it under Canada. Best wishes.
@chrysz (1603)
• Philippines
30 Jan 08
Thanks for the tips...my mom lives in Canada and she cleans houses just to support me, my kids, my brother and his family, my grandmother and my little who lives with her. She is one of those who lives "from paycheck to paycheck" but I don't know how she manage her finances because she can still send goods here in the Philippines and even sends extra money. Sometimes she compalins of being in a tight budget but when you ask money from her, she always has something to give. She doesn't go to the mall always and she packs her lunch to avoid buying food. Also, she is not ashamed buying things from garage sales and the "dollar store'.
• Canada
30 Jan 08
I am in awe. I also live in Canada. Your mom must be a saint and she must be working so hard to be able to support all of you. There is no shame to buying things from garage sales and second hand stores. It saves the person money and it saves the environment since the articles are not thrown out. Bless your good mom.
@chrysz (1603)
• Philippines
30 Jan 08
Thanks, I'll tell her that... I'm also amazed and so proud of her for doing everything for us. She is just disappointed that we are not able to join her in Canada soon. I am hoping my younger brother would be allowed to immigrate there soon.
@Aingealicia (1906)
• United States
30 Jan 08
I just quit smoking to save money, use your ideas a great deal to be honest. I bought our groceries for the week today. Leftovers are great when you learn to be creative. Aingealicia
• Canada
30 Jan 08
Quitting smoking will certainly save you a lot. I also don't waste food. If you are creative leftovers do not taste like leftovers. Also when you get short on cash trying to make meals with what is still on hand can be very creative and uses up food that otherwise may go bad.
• United States
30 Jan 08
Absolutely, also I penny pinch, ride the subway and all the rest of the savings tips you list there. Aingealicia
• United States
30 Jan 08
I am a check to check person and it can be extremely difficult to save. I have a certain amount of money going to seperate accounts that i try not to touch but unfortunately for me this year i've had to dip into one of my accounts which bothered me but hey, life is life is sometimes things come up that are out of our control. All of the suggestions you listed i have tried. It's all about being disciplined also. To fight our urges to buy those hot shoes (which i love) or to order out knowing full well you can't afford to. We just have to be strong.
• Canada
30 Jan 08
As you say, life is life and things come up when you least expect them but you did have a little cushion when you had an unexpected expense. And yes it is hard to be disciplined. But I think the secret is to start with small sums that you really don't miss and all of a sudden you have a little nest egg. Best of luck.