No one wants to worry about money but many of us do. Especially when unexpected expenses pop up like your car breaking down (again!), a leaky roof, and those dang medical bills. I could go on and on (and on) but you get the idea. That’s why it’s so important to save whenever you can. That way, you’re always ready for those curveballs life throws at you.
Becoming financially free is a journey with a lot of ups and downs. So if you haven’t been the best saver in the past, there’s no better time than today to try again.
It’ll definitely require some sacrifice and work on your part. However, you’ll quickly see that small changes here and there can add up to hundreds or even thousands of dollars every month.
Below are 15 things that you can cut to save money on a tight budget to help jumpstart your savings.
Don’t have a budget? Don’t worry. Find out more here on how to start a budget.
1. Individually wrapped foods
Have you ever noticed that individually wrapped foods cost more? It’s because people will pay more for convenience. Fortunately, it only takes a minute and not much effort to do it yourself. You can save even more in the long run by using these awesome reusable bags.
2. Disposable products
Buying disposable products are super convenient. But the downside is that it’s costing you so much money! There are so many alternatives to those expensive paper towels, plastic sandwich bags, straws, and other stuff that you could replace with the reusable option. Once you start buying reusable products, you’ll be saving money in no time.
I know a lot of people that get their clothes dry cleaned on a regular basis. This special service may not seem super expensive if you’re spending $15-$30 a couple times a year. But if you go regularly then it quickly adds up. You can avoid this cost altogether by buying clothes you can wash at home and iron if necessary. And if you still have to dry clean something every once in a while, call ahead and ask if there are any specials. Oftentimes, dry cleaners will do a 10 or 20 piece special which can cost just as much as bringing in a couple of things.
4. Cleaning services
It’s wonderful to come home to a clean house, but if your budget is stretched thin, this luxury will have to be put on ice. Cleaning services can run you anywhere from $75-$150 per visit. Cleaning isn’t fun but if you incorporate it into your routine and commit to doing one or two chores a day then it won’t feel as overwhelming.
5. Prepackaged foods
Prepackaged foods may be convenient but many times it’s just as expensive as eating out. Buying a premade salad can cost you just as much as buying all of the ingredients to make the salad for an entire week!
This one may be a little tougher for some of you to give up. I’m right there with ya. But if you’re on a tight budget, you need to take a break from drinking alcohol. Drinking at home may be less expensive but it’s still not cheap. Give up alcohol for a couple of months and you’ll see a positive change in your bank account.
7. Bottled water or any bottled drinks
You could save yourself hundreds of dollars a year by filling up your own bottle with filtered or tap water. You could even splurge a little and get yourself a reusable water bottle to carry around with you everywhere you go. I bought mine years ago and have definitely gotten my monies worth.
This goes for all the soda and juice drinkers out there too. It’s time to take a break and stick to drinking filtered or tap water.
8. Coffee out
Caffeine? Yes, please! But make sure to skip the coffee shop and brew your own coffee at home.
Buying coffee out can easily set you back hundreds of dollars a year. Even if you only buy coffee out a few times a week, it’ll add up big time in the long run. Just think about it, the cost of that one cup of coffee at the coffee shop could cover the cost of your homemade coffee for the entire week, if not two!
9. Gym membership
Exercising outside or at home can be just as effective as going to the gym but it’s so much cheaper.
With so many different workout videos out there, you can pretty much take any class in your own home. YouTube gives you access to world-class trainers that’ll whip you into shape in no time. My personal favs are The Fitness Marshall (dance) and Tone It Up Girls (every type of workout).
Related: Fun Ways to Exercise on a Budget
10. Cable, internet, and streaming services
Nowadays it’s common for people to have cable in addition to other streaming services like Netflix and Hulu.
But if you’re serious about saving money, cut cable and streaming services altogether. If you’re not ready to cut your paid tv services completely, try sticking to just one if you subscribe to multiple. To save even more, split that subscription with friend or family member.
Internet at your home is a hard thing to get rid of, so instead of getting rid of it altogether, see if you can add a hotspot to your cell phone service. Generally, it’s cheaper than the cable company so you should definitely look into it.
There’s a reason why restaurants always make it on the list of things to cut if you’re trying to save money. Plain and simple eating out is expensive. Eating most of your meals at home and taking your lunch to work will save you more money than you probably realize.
Even if you eat lunch out once a week, that meal could cost you $8 – $10 which adds up to $416+ over the course of a year! That doesn’t include any other times you eat out. It all adds up.
In order to help keep you in the know either start keeping a log of each time you eat out or join Mint to track your spending. You’ll be shocked how much you spend each month eating out. I know I was!
12. Shopping and delivery services
As tempting as it is to have a company deliver meals and groceries to your house, resist! Doing your own shopping and cooking your own meals will save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars a year. If you’re short on time, don’t be afraid to ask for help. That’s what friends and family are for! If you’re strapped for time then check out our 15 Minute Meals or Cheap and Easy Meal Recipe boards on Pinterest.
Movie tickets have gotten really expensive over the years. So instead of going to the theaters, wait until it comes out on Redbox and watch it at home. This way you can rent the movie and buy a couple of snacks for less than the price of one ticket! Just be sure to return the movie on time to avoid paying extra.
14. Expensive hair care
Getting your hair done can easily set you back $50+ at a salon for a simple cut. That’s on the low end and it doesn’t even include a tip! If you want anything else done, then that price multiplies. I get my haircut 1-2 times a year but my stylist tries to get me to come in every 3 months. If you go on a regular basis then either find a more affordable salon or go less frequently. Maybe even try both.
15. Nail care
It’s a nice treat to be able to get your nails done every once in a while or for special occasions. But if you go regularly then it’s time to learn how to do your own nails at home. It costs a fraction of the price and once you get the hang of it, they’ll look almost as good (or just as good) than when you get them professionally done.
What have you stopped buying to save money on a tight budget?