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How to Save Money in a Recession

Updated on November 3, 2008

Want to Know How to Save Money?

Saving money is suddenly fashionable. After years of living beyond our means and putting it on the plastic suddenly the world is faced with economic recession saving is fashionable.

The reality for most people is quite simple: its easier to not spend money than to earn it. Not spending $20 takes a single decision, earning it may take someone on the minimum wage 2 or 3 hours.

Maybe I am lucky, my mother was always living on next to nothing, as soon as I got a job a rebelled and spent money, all that I earned in fact. That only lasted for a few years though because I never wanted to be tied to job and quickly discovered the quickest way to increase my bank balance was to not spend: so much less effort than over-time or a promotion or a second job.

So now here are some of the saving money tips which are intuitive to me but seem to be new to many people.

How to Save Money and Get Out of Debt 

Saving cash: even more important in a recession
Saving cash: even more important in a recession

Saving Money on Groceries

  • The less processed a product is the cheaper it will be. Buy sugar and flour and cocoa, not chocolate cake mix!
  • Buy the cheapest version of pasta, long-grained rice, sugar, flour: you will never notice the difference
  • Find the cheapest supermarket and stick with it: don't spend a $1 in gas just to save 50c on your shopping trolley
  • Don't stick to a rigid menu plan. Buy what's on special: if the lost leader this week is chicken then that's dinner!
  • Check quantities versus price: sometimes its cheaper to buy a larger packet, but not always.
  • One item that can be worthwhile buying is a second deep freeze. Buying bulky items such as bread and freezing it will save you money. As will buying larger quantities of meat and fruit in season and freezing.
  • Avoid the deli section and the confectionery aisle: not only will you save money you will loose weight too!
  • If an item you use routinely and will keep (toilet rolls, canned tomatoes, paper towels, shampoo) is on special or has a deal for buying in quantity buy it.

Photo Credit 

Saving Money Money on the Stuff You Don't Need

I know the first thing people normally mention about saving money is set a budget. Well for me budgets work as well as diets - that is they don't work at all.

I take a different view: I just minimise all ependiture. I think I find it easier to scrutinse ever expenditure:rather than worry I am $5 under or over budget. Some things I have no control over: price of gas comes to mind. But if you consider almost all of most people's expenditures in first world countries are discretionary scrutinising your expenditure can be very,very effective.

So What is Discretionary Expenditure 

Make sure you understand what a necessity is and a desire. Necessities are:

  • food  
  • shelter  
  • transport to get you to your place of employment or study

If you are really faced with a financial crises because of the loss of a job or hours stop spending on:

  • clothing - most of us could go a year without a new item;
  •  hair cuts - trickier must you can probably survive a month or so, or find a cheaper stylist  
  • skin care - the whole industry of skin care products are a big waste of money. Studies have shown that some of the best items are in your supermarket for maybe 10% of the brand name flogged in up-market stores  
  • electronics and appliances - unless its broken you don't need to replace. If it is broken see how much it will cost to fix, you may be surprised;  
  • cell phone plans can you stop your plan, reduce your plan, go pre-paid?  
  • entertainment - movies, pub nights. Drinking at home and getting out the video is usually a lot cheaper. If you do go to the cinema avoid the snack bar - sneak in your own nibbles or be kind to your waist line and go without.  
  • reduce the use of your car. Replace a car with a scooter, motorbike or even a bicycle. use public transit or car pool to get to work  

Reducing Housing Costs

  • if you are renting can you move to a smaller home (check the break costs of your lease and your moving costs - this is more a long-term strategy)  
  • can you reduce the heating or turn it off to parts of your house you don't use?  
  • can you insulate your hot water cylinder to decrease hot water costs  
  • can you take in a boarder or house mate to increase income?

Saving Money on Travel

 I love to travel: not travelling is not an option regardless of the budget! Saving money is easy though. Here are some thoughts on how to save money on your next vacation:

  • stay closer to home: sometimes this will save you money  
  • fly to a a nearby developing country: for Australians a holiday in Asia is often cheaper than one in Queensland. For North Americans check out Guatemala or Costa Rica. Europeans consider Tunisia or Turkey.  
  • don't buy a package: the price of not having to organise your trip is high: hit the Internet, buy a discount ticket and good guide book and go.  
  • You will pay a lot less and you will probably get to see and experience a whole lot more too travel off season: stay home for Christmas: never travel in the school holidays unless you have to

Do You Have a Budget?

See results

So what are your favourite money saving tips? Have you changed your spending patterns? Are you thinking about it? 

This is a HubMob Hub


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    • stayingalivemoma profile image

      Valerie Washington 

      9 years ago from Tempe, Arizona

      good info on saving money...voted up

    • celeBritys4africA profile image


      9 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      A great list of tips. One vote up.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      This is a fantastic hub. I will be using this information immediately. Thank you for sharing!

    • profile image

      Kevin Lam 

      10 years ago

      Wow this is a great hub. I recently add insulated glass windows to reduce my energy cost.

    • profile image

      Home Girl 

      10 years ago

      I like your Hub, lots of good points. For me job and frugality comes naturally, but my kids - another matter. Looks like nowadays no one wants to work!

    • gracefaith profile image


      10 years ago from United Kingdom

      Great hub, I wish people would be more overtly 'grippit' as we call it around my parts. Keeping an eye on the pennies in other words!

      Fiona :)

    • MrSpock profile image


      10 years ago

      Very useful tips, especially the housing cost reductions.

    • hypnodude profile image


      11 years ago from Italy

      I agree with you, minimizing all expenditure is the best way to go, and it becomes soon second nature.

      Very informative hub.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Good article. I agree that entertainment is one area we can cut down to save money. Actually, walking in the park or reading books are cheaper form of entertainment.

    • kathygirl22 profile image


      11 years ago

      Very helpful Hub! Thanks...Growing your own garden is wonderful for many reasons.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      With the US Dollar so low, and many other currencies so strong, and the Chinese government is allowing RMB to appreciate, I wonder how you all are going to cope with the price increase

    • Lissie profile imageAUTHOR

      Elisabeth Sowerbutts 

      11 years ago from New Zealand

      HX I disagree - "organic foods" - are one of the biggest marketing scams of the decade. In fact there is some evidence to show that some even have health issues :-) Fresh is best though - for fruit/veg you are best off growing your own. For cheaper I was particularly thinking about things like flour/sugar basics - there is no difference in these. Also eating healthily will often save you money if it cuts out the junk food/chocolate/biscuits etc

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      This is the second article of yours I've read on saving money. It's great advice. I have only one point of disagreement-buying cheaper foods may cause health problems-including obesity. My wife and I stick with organic foods as much as possible; that has made a difference in our overall health, a difference which can be felt.

      Again, great advice. Thanks.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Thanks for the tips.

    • Lissie profile imageAUTHOR

      Elisabeth Sowerbutts 

      11 years ago from New Zealand

      Well I am so your statement is clearly wrong!

    • Vizey profile image


      11 years ago

      No one can save money in recession. You should save money in good times when you are wealthy.

    • stephanie mclain profile image


      11 years ago from Texas

      Great tips Lissie!

      For the last several years my husband has been in the military. So although we felt a slight change in the economy we weren't hit as hard as many of our family and friends were.

      Later this year we will be transitioning back into civilian life and it is more important than ever to save money and keep our budget on track.

      Great hub! I will use many of these tips in the future.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Great tips...I tell ya one thing, if more people would go through what my husband and I have, they'd appreciate what they have a lot more. We learned to go without. Now we have something we know to keep it tight. Hoping to purchase a home soon and get out of rent.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Hello all- I am writing a book on one income living and if you would like to be included, I would love to hear from you- all contributors will recieve a copy of the book when completed- which should be sooner than later.I am looking to hear from you if your family lives on one income-names can be withheld or first name only.

      Look forward to everyone's replies.

    • midnightbliss profile image

      Haydee Anderson 

      11 years ago from Hermosa Beach

      nice saving tips, sometimes I can be a compulsive buyer specially on the stuffs that are not really that important, but i am working it out. (LOLS).

    • lapak2000 profile image


      11 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Thanks for this saving tips that you post. You are right when you said that it is better to have a pre-paid card than plan.

    • babedoll50 profile image


      11 years ago from Alberta

      I look forward to following all of your hubs because all I have found so far is great sound advice. Thanks for taking the time to write this.

    • prasetio30 profile image


      11 years ago from malang-indonesia

      saving,saving, and saving. avoid the debt.reduce unimportant thing that usually we bought.

    • pittan profile image


      11 years ago from Sutton, United Kingdom

      How about collecting discount coupons and vouchers?

    • vivekananda profile image


      11 years ago from India

      Good topic! and nice suggestions.... i liked it.

    • morrisonspeaks profile image


      12 years ago

      One of my least favorite things is waste. Any chance I get, I look to save money.

      Great hub Lissie! It's really wonderful to meet like minded people here.

    • Lissie profile imageAUTHOR

      Elisabeth Sowerbutts 

      12 years ago from New Zealand

      Yeah I don't mind spending money of fine wine and chocolate - but who cares what brand of toilet paper or cooking oil you buy! To me its about spending money where it matters!

    • increaseurmileage profile image


      12 years ago

      Gotta agree, "Don't stick to a rigid menu plan. Buy what's on special: if the lost leader this week is chicken then that's dinner!" is my number one answer when people ask me what I am having for dinner. I always say, "Whatever is on sale this week." I could not believe it when a co-worker said he just buys what looks good and never looks at the sale papers. No wonder so many people are always complaining that they don't have any money, if they think they way this guy does.

    • Lissie profile imageAUTHOR

      Elisabeth Sowerbutts 

      12 years ago from New Zealand

      Thanks for the link washingtonson - nice blog!

    • profile image


      12 years ago

      Nice hub! Great info

    • washingtonson profile image


      12 years ago from Walhalla

      Very helpful Hub!

      Am placing a link on Washington Son,

      Thank You for the great Hub!

    • Dottie1 profile image


      12 years ago from MA, USA

      I like the idea that saving money is suddenly fashionable. LOL Great hub. Thank you.

    • Candace Morgan profile image

      Candace Morgan 

      12 years ago from New York

      Thanks for the tips.

    • countrywomen profile image


      12 years ago from Washington, USA

      Nice money saving tips. As they say "Money saved is money earned".

    • Lissie profile imageAUTHOR

      Elisabeth Sowerbutts 

      12 years ago from New Zealand

      Thanks for visiting Beth

    • betherickson profile image


      12 years ago from Minnesota

      nice hub! very helpful tip in saving money! Thanks Lissie. A thumbs up for you!

    • Lissie profile imageAUTHOR

      Elisabeth Sowerbutts 

      12 years ago from New Zealand

      Gosh RGraf :don't burn the place down - that won't help your big picture! Yes thanks guys I know that making more money is an option too: but controlling your spending is much,much easier and I'm lazy! Thanks for your comments everyone!

    • RGraf profile image

      Rebecca Graf 

      12 years ago from Wisconsin

      Due to things that have happened in our lives we have really begun to watch our spending. It can be fun to watch those pennies especially if the whole family gets involved. We try to use more candles at night instead of keeping on all the lights. It has made a huge difference in our electric bill.

    • haveittodayray profile image


      12 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      Excellent tips on saving money. One of the best ways in good times and bad, is to have a 2nd avenue of income.

    • Geneva Vinas profile image

      Geneva Vinas 

      12 years ago from Wisconsin

      There are some excellent ideas here Lissie ... as always, your hubs are full of goodies.

    • profile image

      Neville Subedar 

      12 years ago

      Good article but there's something missing. Control your debts but you need to increase your income. It's not as hard as you might think. There's money making opportunities all around.


      Retired Financial Adviser.

    • Lissie profile imageAUTHOR

      Elisabeth Sowerbutts 

      12 years ago from New Zealand

      Thanks for visiting everyone and your kind comments. Moonjoh: I will give up new clothes for a year just so I can travel: I will take a 36 hour bus journey rather than fly so I can afford. Travel is important to me clotehs are not. Living within your means is not about not having a life its merely about prioritising.

      Bob I write a budget and then ignore it - so long as that saving account keeps on going up its all Ok - and oddly enough it usually works - maybe a subconscious thing.

      Patty I think a lot of people don't realise how much prepared foods cost in comparision to their raw ingrediants and if you are trying to reduce sugar/salt whatever then its the easiest thing to rediscover cooking!

    • moonloh profile image


      12 years ago from Singapore

      Save money on travel is the most pratical one. Under the economy bad times who else has the mood to travel.. thinking of save save save... haha.. You have many good advise here.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish MS 

      12 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      Excellent advice, Lissie! I make nearly all food dishes from scratch and hardly drive at all. I know it can be done. Cheers!

    • guidebaba profile image


      12 years ago from India

      Nice Explanation.

    • Bob Ewing profile image

      Bob Ewing 

      12 years ago from New Brunswick

      A budget is important if you want to control your spending.

    • profile image


      12 years ago

      Hi Lissie! Great Hub. How did we ever get away from that in the first place. Plastic made us a must have generation and no longer the what do we need generation. Going back to the old ways is sometimes a good thing. Jerry

    • Lissie profile imageAUTHOR

      Elisabeth Sowerbutts 

      12 years ago from New Zealand

      Sounds like a practical alternative nicola! Thanks for visiting

    • nicolap profile image


      12 years ago from Dorset, UK

      Good tips, Lissie. I'm trying to potty train my daughter yo save money on nappies!

    • Lissie profile imageAUTHOR

      Elisabeth Sowerbutts 

      12 years ago from New Zealand

      Now that never occurred to me Terry - it must be the sub-conscious chocolate obsession I have: though I admit I don't always buy the cheapest chocolate: quality in chocolate matters! Thanks for visiting!

    • honestway profile image


      12 years ago from Spain

      Sugar, flour and cocoa instead of chocolate cake mix eh? Ha! You wouldn't be sneaking into the chocolate foray by any chance lol?


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