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.”

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.

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.

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

For many people, that could add up to well over $100 a year.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

Savers who make a plan are twice as likely to save successfully. 

Take the America Saves Pledge

Tip of the Day

  • Impulse buys are an easy way to blow your holiday budget. Make a plan & stick to it! http://ow.ly/CVJZf

Share Your Tip or Story

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

Share

Saver Tips and Stories View all »

Saving With My Boys

When Kelly was a kid, she loved the picture book A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams. In the story, a little girl lives in an apartment with her mother and grandmother. The little girl’s mother is a waitress and sole provider for their family. Together the family saves money by putting their change in a giant jar every day. They are saving for a big cushy chair for the little girl’s hard-working mother. Together with patience and diligence, they buy the mother a very comfy chair.

Read more...

Put 20 Percent Away

“I am a single mother, and I make ends meet for me and my daughter, but I wanted to put money away for my daughter for a college fund. So I started saving 20 percent of my paycheck every month to put it away in a savings account with a high Annual Percentage Yield (APY). By the time my daughter is 18, I will have saved nearly $90,000.”

Read more...

Taking Steps Toward Financial Fitness

Nicky Vasquez learned about Virginia Saves when she attended her first class with Bank On Virginia Beach. The instructor shared how important it was to have a written savings goal, and the entire class joined Virginia Saves as the first step toward financial fitness.

Read more...

Receive Updates

Take the Pledge

Start Saving

Receive Texts

Learn More

Partner News & Updates

Sign Up