10 MONEY SAVING TIPS
TO STRETCH YOUR BUDGET
(WHEN IT IS ALREADY STRETCHED)
How do you stretch your monthly budget when it is already stretched? We’ve come up with 10 tips to help you do that.
It is a tough question and chances are, given all the uncertainty that is happening right now, you are concerned about how you can save more money and cut your expenses.
You may also be concerned because you don’t feel you have any other cuts you can make. What we hope to do in this article is to share a few ideas that may help you take a fresh look at your spending and give you several more areas where you can save money in your budget.
Here are 10 ideas to help you stretch your budget when it is already stretched.
Review Your Accounts for Recurring Auto-debits and Determine if They Can be Reduced or Eliminated.
Many times we will sign up for services and applications that we have forgotten about. It is a good idea to review our accounts on a regular basis to see if we still need the service.
It is also a good idea to review recurring debits to see if there has been an increase that makes the service no longer beneficial.
Another idea is to see if it is time to renegotiate the price of these services. For instance, have you gone a couple of years without any negative marks on your driving record; is it time to call your carrier and look for a rate reduction? This may save you quite a bit – with a quick phone call.
Finally, if we add up all of the debits we may find a larger chunk of our budget is going out each month than we feel is worth it. Then we can prioritize which ones we can keep and those we can eliminate.
REQUEST OR NEGOTIATE LOWER PAYMENTS
Another great way to add dollars back to your budget is to contact providers and request lower payments. Sometimes providers already have payment options in place for people who need it.
Even if they do not, providers may still approve requests to lower or put payments in forbearance on a temporary basis. However, the answer will always be “no” if you do not ask or as my mother-in-law used to say, “closed mouths don’t get fed.” It never hurts to ask.
If you are able to request or negotiate lower payments, make sure you get this in writing with specific amounts and duration.
ELIMINATE AND REDUCE DISCRETIONARY SPENDING
If your budget is already stretched, you may feel as if you don’t have any discretionary spending to cut. I have found, however, that our spending invariable creeps over time. It is always a good practice to review our spending to see where we can use a tune-up.
Review your bank statements. See how much money you are spending and what you are spending it on. There is likely some tightening up you can do there. Every little bit adds up.
WHAT CAN YOU SELL?
Go through your house and see what items you have that you no longer need or want that can be sold quickly on Offer-up or eBay.
Electronics are always a good place to start. Do you have an old phone sitting around in the closet? A game console and/or games that are not being used?
How many purses are sitting in your closet gathering dust? Nice clothing that has been well-cared is also a good option.
Look around your home – do you have furniture you can sell and unclutter your home?
COOK AT HOME, USE FOOD FROM YOUR PANTRY
& USE LESS MEAT
Cooking at home is one of the best ways to save money. Not only is it good for your budget – but you have control over what is being cooked as well of quantity. This allows you to stretch your food supply.
When times are really hard – a great way to make your food stretch is to “beef” it up with lower-priced items. Our grandparents (or their parents) experienced this during the Great Depression. Older generations likely have done the same during more recent financial crises and the reality is that people in poverty must do so on a daily basis.
So when we face uncertainty and tight financial circumstances in our lives – we have a universe of information to turn to understand how we can make our food supply go farther.
You may opt to decrease the quantity of higher-priced items like protein (meat) and increase lower-cost filler foods without sacrificing too much nutrition or flavor. Rice, legumes, and potatoes are great options to help fill bellies.
GROW YOUR OWN FOOD
In many ways, it is a fortunate time to be alive.
You want to learn how to garden and grow your own food? There is this incredible resource at our fingertips – the Interwebs. You can literally learn how to do ANYTHING you want within minutes.
When we buy food from the store we are paying several people in a chain of supply that get it to the grocery store. Each person going back to the source gets a little cut of the money you pay for your food.
When we grow our own food we cut those costs exponentially. Also, you can use your garden to supply yourself with healthy produce so that your dollars are free to purchase other products you cannot grow.
Homegrown food can also be canned, preserved and dried to last longer. It can also be used to barter with other home gardeners to trade – which is another great way to save money and get what you want. Everyone wins.
MAKE YOUR OWN PRODUCTS
Similarly, you can stretch your budget by making products and replacing them for the products you now buy.
Many household cleaning products can be replaced inexpensively by making these products ourselves.
A quick search of Pinterest and you will find recipes for laundry soap, multi-surface house cleaner and the like. Like this one.
This is also a great way to help the planet because many traditional products have harmful chemicals in them.
REDUCE CONSUMPTION – ELIMINATE ONE-TIME USE GOODS
Not only is it good for the planet, but by switching out your one-use products, like paper and plastic goods, for multi-use products, you save yourself money. The following is a list of single-use items and ideas for their replacement:
|OLD ITEM||NEW ITEM|
Paper Lunch Bags
Plastic Shopping Bags
Insulated Bags/Lunch Tins
Bidet/Cloth Personal Towels
Reusable Shopping Bags
Water Cooler/Reusable Flask
FOLLOW YOUR BUDGET
This may go without saying in a piece about “stretching your budget” as it assumes you already have a budget. However, having a budget and following it are two different things.
When things get tight, following your budget becomes even more important because there is less room for error.
I would suggest you take some time to review your current budget, make any adjustments needed and then follow it. And If you need, help start with our Budget With Wendy videos.
If you need help staying on budget or need extra accountability – there are several APPS you can use to keep a more watchful eye on it. I personally use both Mint and Personal Capital. They are both free.
What I like is that each has an APP I can use with my mobile device and it’s easy for me to go in and see how I am doing on my budget.
Mint also sends me alerts when it sees any transactions that are outside of my normal budget. The convenience and accountability is super helpful.
- Focus on your four walls.
- Pay minimums.
- Give yourself grace.
- Know this is only temporary
When you get to a place where you have made all the cuts you can make. You have exhausted all options to bring more income into your home and you are left with what you are left with and it is just not enough…..remember these four things.
The most important things to provide for are your “four walls.” These are the things you need to provide food, shelter and safety for your family. Everything else that is “below the line” will just have to wait until there is more money.
It’s a HARD CHOICE – but if it comes to keeping your family safe and their bellies full and paying a credit card, I hope you know that your credit card will wait.
If you are paying anything extra on anything – now is the time to stop. If there is anything left over above the minimums, it is better served going into a savings account than paying down principle.
Giving yourself grace is sometimes the hardest thing to do. Some circumstances in our lives are out of our control – yet we can still feel like failures or that it’s our fault. AND EVEN IF IT IS….we are still deserving of grace. Forgive yourself for whatever role you believe you have for this situation and simply vow to do better from here.
You cannot change the past and every ounce of energy you spend being angry or disappointed in yourself takes away from the energy you need to move forward. Accept grace freely. It is a gift.
Finally, know that this is temporary. Take steps every day to do something positive. To make a change for the better. To move yourself forward. It may feel like an impossible journey but it’s not.
You will get through this situation. There are people, like us, like our House of FI Family that are waiting to support you.
We have been where you are and promise you – it will not always be this way.
Love and Prosperity,
Wendy and Curtis
DO YOU NEED HELP
GETTING YOUR FINANCIAL HOUSE IN ORDER?
We have created a 130 page bound workbook and journal.
This workbook will take you step-by-step to get your financial house in order.
You will determine what you are spending your money on, where you can find savings, how to pay off debt quickly and save more money.
If you want to get a firm financial foundation to start your Financial Independence journey, this workbook was created with you in mind.
These are the same strategies we used to get rid of over $650,000.00 and debt, reduce our monthly budget by thousands and buy 4 investment properties that cash flow over $1,000.00 a month!
Another really great tool we have to get you started is the FREE 7 Step Money Foundations e-mail course.
We created both of these resources with you in mind.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES TO STAY ON BUDGET? KEEP READING…..
DISCLOSURE: Some of the links below may be affiliate links; which is no additional cost to you. Meaning if you click the link and/or make a purchase, I may receive compensation.
WAYS WE STAY ON BUDGET
We use Personal Capital to keep track of our Net Worth, Debt Pay-off and Our Retirement Account Balances. It’s a good place for us to map our progress and see where we need to make adjustments.
What we like about M1 is that they allow the purchase of Fractional Shares and a high yield checking account. It’s a great way to start investing when you only have small amounts to begin with.
CONNECT WITH US
HAVE YOU JOINED OUR PRIVATE FACEBOOK GROUP YET?
Connect with us and each other. Our group is full of other parents on the same journey. We built our group to share and support one another and grow our House of FI family!