Saving on a Tight Budget

How can those who currently aren’t saving afford to save money? And how can those saving only a little save more? Here are our top ten tips for saving money when budgets are tight.

1. Find small savings that add up to big savings over time

Keep a careful record of all of your spending for a month. You may be surprised to learn how much you are spending on dining out or impulse purchases. One method is to save all your bills and receipts over the month and stack them into categories like “utilities” and “groceries.”
Twitter bird Tweet this now

2: Comparison shop to find the lowest prices

When you compare prices at different stores before making a purchase, you can often find lower prices for necessary purchases — such as food, transportation, and insurance— leaving you more money to save. Bonus tip: Take a list with you to the grocery store and stick to it. This will help you from buying items you don’t need.
Twitter bird Tweet this now

3: Limit spending on gifts.

Limit spending for birthdays and holidays, especially Christmas. Friends and family are more likely to appreciate a few well-chosen gifts than a more costly pile of gifts chosen thoughtlessly in a shopping mall spree.
Twitter bird Tweet this now

4: Put all your loose change in a savings account.

For many people, that could add up to well over $100 a year.
Twitter bird Tweet this now

5: Ask your bank or credit union to automatically transfer funds each month from your checking to your savings account.

The easiest and most effective way to save is automatically. Even as little as $10 or $15 a month helps. After all, that’s $120 or $180 a year. Learn more about saving automatically here. 
Twitter bird Tweet this now

6: Build an emergency fund to avoid having to take out loans to pay for unexpected purchases.

Emergency savings are usually best kept in a savings or share account, despite the low interest rates these accounts pay, because they are easy to access when you need it. Remember, keep a high enough balance in the account to avoid monthly fees. Learn more about saving for emergencies here.
Twitter bird Tweet this now

7: Avoid using high-interest credit card and payday loans.

Payday loans typically charge interest rates of 500 percent, and the interest rate on credit card debts can run 25 percent. You can save hundreds, perhaps thousands, of dollars a year by paying off these high-cost debts. Learn more about how to get out of debt.
Twitter bird Tweet this now

8: See if you qualify for an Earned Income Tax Credit.

Many low- and moderate-income workers qualify, each year, for an Earned Income Tax Credit that can be over $1,000, and often more than $2,000. IRS Publication 596 explains how to apply, or you can contact your local tax payer assistance center for in-person help. Then pay down debt and save with at least half of the money you receive from this credit.
Twitter bird Tweet this now

9: Participate in a local Investment Development Account (IDA) program.

In return for attending financial education sessions and agreeing to save for a home, education, or business, you typically receive $2 for every $1 you save through an IDA program. So, saving $25 each month could end up as $900 at the end of a year. Find an IDA program near you.
Twitter bird Tweet this now

10: Take advantage of any matches to retirement savings contributions that your employer offers.

Some employers match up to 100 percent of your contributions. If you’re not contributing up to their match, you’re leaving money on the table. Learn more about saving for retirement at work or on your own.
Twitter bird Tweet this now

Looking for more savings tips? Here are over 50 additional tips for reducing spending and increasing savings.

Are you ready to make a commitment to save money or pay down debt? 

Take the America Saves Pledge to receive emails, text messages, and savings challenges to support and motivate you to save or pay down debt. Consider us your personal savings system. And the best part is it’s completely free.

 

Take the Pledge

I pledge to save money, reduce debt, and build wealth over time. I will encourage my family and friends to do the same

Take the America Saves Pledge

Tip of the Day

  • Keep track of your spending. At least once a month, use credit card, checking, and other records to review what you've purchased. Then, ask yourself if it makes sense to reallocate some of this spending to an emergency savings account. http://ow.ly/sj972

Share Your Tip or Story

And if we feature you in our newsletter, you get $25.

Share

Saver Stories View all »

Inspired to Build Savings By Starting Small

With little-to-no money in the bank and living on a limited income with her adult daughter, Sharon wasn’t sure if building up savings for her future was even possible. “At my age, to put debts behind me would be a relief,” she said, but she wasn’t quite sure how to even get started with a savings plan. That all changed when Sharon attended the Great Lakes Michigan Saves Pay Yourself First Saver’s Summit during America Saves Week.

Read more...

Learning to Save

Kisha Barns’s financial situation was undisciplined, unrestricted, and impulsive before she came into contact with her local America Saves campaign, Charlotte Saves.

Read more...

The Gift of Homeownership

Quaneka Willis, a single mother of three children, was receiving rental assistance through the Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee when she decided to take control of her finances. So, in September of 2013 she attended the Make Your Money Talk program and pledged as a Wisconsin Saver. In less than 12 months, she had maximized her savings and was beginning the process of purchasing her first home.

Read more...

Receive Updates

Sign up for Texts

Sign Up

Sign up for Emails

Get Emails

Take the Pledge

Start Saving