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5 Savvy Money-Saving Moves When You're Living Paycheck to Paycheck

Updated on February 5, 2021
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Cindy is an expert at living on a shoestring budge having learned how to be frugal, find deals and earn a little extra cash online.

A Penny Saved...

How To Fatten Up Your Wallet On A Shoestring Budget

When you are struggling to make ends meet, saving can seem an impossible goal. Even on the barest of budgets, there are ways to keep your money in your pocket longer.


#1

Shop at your local $1 dollar store.


Dollar stores can be a goldmine of bargains for everyday items. Sandwich bags, paper towels, trash bags, toiletries, and even groceries can be purchased for only $1 a piece. You’ll just have to skip the brand name items…you don’t need to stock your shelves with expensive stuff when the cheaper version will do just fine. Many of your cleaning products as well as hundreds of other everyday items can be purchased at dollar stores for a fraction of what you’d pay in a grocery or drug store.

Take advantage of coupons and specials.

When grocery shopping, take advantage of coupons and specials. Cut, download to your smartphone, or print out all the coupons you can use and organize them so they’re easy to find. Try these online coupon sites:

For some items, you can search online and find additional coupons. When purchasing more expensive items such as cosmetics and brand name goods, visit the manufacturer’s website for unadvertised specials. Here are some other money-saving shopping tips:

  • Watch store flyers for weekly specials and deals. It may be worth it to stock up on essentials that are on sale even if you don’t need them at the moment.
  • Look for double and triple coupon offers…most coupons up to .99 can be doubled at some grocery stores, so if you present a .75 coupon, you’ll end up getting $1.50 off an item.
  • Watch for buy one get one free sales. When stores need to clear out overstocked items, you can find great bargains.
  • Specific quantity sale items such as 5 for $5 or 10 for $10…you don’t always have to purchase all 5 or 10 items. Unless it specifically says “you must buy “x” amount”, the discount will be given even if you buy less than the advertised quantity.
  • It may be easier to start making smaller shopping trips weekly in order to take advantage of the weekly sales. When you make one huge shopping trip a month you can miss out on many of the weekly bargains because not everything is on sale at that time.

As an added bonus, some grocery stores now will offer points for every dollar spent to be used towards discounts on gas. These points can add up quickly and you can easily get over a dollar off per gallon!

#3

Brown bag your lunch.

You’ll save a ton of money by not ordering out. Start cooking your meals at home and freeze individual portions so you can take a lunch with you to heat up at work. Plus, the meals you make at home are usually healthier then take-out. Also, invest in a travel mug and start bringing your morning coffee from home. If you are in the habit of buying a coffee on your way to work every day, you can save $20 to $30 a week by skipping the coffee shop and making your own coffee instead.

#4

Shop online.

Let’s face it, shopping for bargains can be a hassle when you lead a busy lifestyle. Most of us miss out on great discounts because we don’t have the time to be driving from store to store looking for the best deal. Many stores have their own websites now. Most will offer hundreds of items at a discount if you buy them through their website instead of the retail store. Not only is it cheaper and more convenient to shop online, but you save even more money by taking advantage of free shipping offers. You can often get free shipping with a minimum purchase. Search online for coupon codes for your favorite products to save even more!

#5

Save your change.

Dump all your change in a jar each night. At the end of the month, roll it up and bring it to the bank to deposit. You’ll be amazed at how fast change adds up to dollars! Some banks have machines that will count the change for you, so you don’t even have to roll it!

5 Best Personal Finance Blogs For Advice, Tools, Ideas and Resources

  1. Clark Howard - Money expert & NY Times #1 best-selling author helps you save more, spend less and avoid rip-offs!
  2. Money Under 30 - "We understand the struggle; we’ve been there! Money Under 30 has everything you need to know about money, written by real people who’ve been there. This site was founded in 2006 by David Weliver, who dug himself out of more than $80,000 in debt in just three years. If you’re in over your head too, we can help!
  3. The Penny Hoarder - "The Penny Hoarder is one of the largest personal finance websites. We help millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. Our goal is to improve the lives of everyday folks by helping them spend less time worrying about their finances and more time enjoying their lives."
  4. Frugal Rules - "When I started Frugal Rules, my goal was to create a blog that would teach people how to make decisions that lead to a life of financial freedom. Today, the site has grown into an online community where a symphony of talented staff writers lend their voices to the topics of Attacking Debt, Investing, Frugality, Financial Products and Tools, Financial Literacy, and much more.
  5. Northern Cheapskate - "Our goal is to make frugality accessible for anyone looking to pay down debt, save money, and live better for less.
    You see, frugality isn’t about deprivation. It’s about learning to make the most of what you’ve got."

What's your favorite money saving tip?

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