• Beth Roberts

Ways to Save Money Fast on a Tight Budget

Updated: Dec 8, 2020

Here are some ways to really cut back on fixed and variable expenses with some noticeable gains.

Now personally I am one of those people who likes to be a smart shopper. I pride myself on getting value and will go a little out of my way to attain that value, for example, a two for one meal offer or use a gas app. Those two methods over a period of time will provide a decent amount of savings and collectively with other strategies will be significant. If you’re on a tight budget and you do have much expendable income in this video is primarily saving on necessities and entertainment. You may also need to prioritize saving before paying off your debt in some situations.

Let’s start with some fixed expenses:

1. Television - Now if you are still using your local cable company most likely you could be paying at least $85 or more just for your favorite television stations, this is not including your internet service. Month after month this is expensive! Fortunately, there are much better solutions out there now, like streaming television. No longer do you need to be held hostage by your cable company, however, you do still need a strong internet connection from those service providers. So, don’t hate on them too quickly. Services like Hulu which I use personally to stream all my favorite channels and it's just as easy to use as standard cable service. They offer 30 plus channels for $12.99/mth and you can upgrade from there for a nominal fee. You are saving at least $70/mth, that’s huge! In addition to the Sling service, you will need to put Sling on a Roku, Apple TV, or an Amazon Firestick.

2. Phone Expenses - If you want an extremely good rate there is a plan called Simple Mobile from T Mobile which is $30/mth for unlimited talk and text. AT & T now offers a starter plan for $35/mth for unlimited talk and text, which is much better than it used to be. You would need to opt-in for the auto bill and paperless billing.

3. Insurance Multi-Policy Discounts - If you own a home – Bundling your insurances is a quick way to save money. Homeowners and car insurance and if you can get the refrigeration rider if there is a power outage can be very helpful for very little money.

4. Points or Reward-Based Credit Card - If you are one that pays your bills off quickly then this could be an option for you. Many credit cards give cash back on groceries and fuel and if you can stay disciplined, this is a way to compound those savings along with some apps that we will mention below.

5. Groceries Apps - There are many apps to help you save money on groceries. One app I find to be very helpful by centralizing coupons is “Flipp”. Flipp has all the weekly ads from local supermarkets posted in one place so you do not have to waste time digging through papers and clipping coupons. So, this app allows you to save time and money, good deal! Whether you use Flipp or if you take advantage of sales directly from the supermarket it’s always good to try to stock up on proteins and freeze the excess. Batch buying is just a smart way to shop. The next grocery app we would recommend trying is Coupon.com, where you can have access to printable coupons, digital coupons, and coupon codes. They also have a mobile app as well. Below you may find coupons for products that you buy.

6. Dining Apps - One of the most popular and largest dining apps is restaurant.com. It is a fantastic way to explore new restaurants and save on restaurants that you know and love. This is the nation's largest dining deals site with more than 500,000 deals available every day. Save up to 50% off your final bill and featuring local and independent neighborhood restaurants. The certificates you obtain never expire that's awesome! You can view restaurant details, location, hours, menus, and pictures all from the restaurant.com app. More than 3.5 million verified diner ratings and reviews free and easy online exchange no questions asked. I personally have been using this app for years and has saved a ton of money, you really have nothing to lose.

7. Fuel Apps - Two fuel apps the are very popular are the Get upside app which allows you to go to affiliated gas stations where there is a spread on what the gas station negotiated with "Get Upside" and when you scan your receipt the difference is saved on your account and you are able to withdraw the funds into a Paypal account or redeem for gift cards. Gas buddy works differently, they issue a card to you that is attached to your checking account. When you use it you save 5 cents a gallon. You also can rack up 10% on select retailers like Walmart, Dominos, Home Depot and many others. That 10% accumulates for gas purchases.

8. Money Management Apps – These are great tools to keep you on track. We have two options for you to consider, one which is more basic than the other. The first one is Honey Money which is not about escaping from living "Paycheck-To-Paycheck". Although it can help with that too. Honey Money is a tool specifically designed to help people save more money.

  • Track your Savings Rate — the most important metric

  • Track progress towards your financial goals

  • Track and analyze your spending

  • Just recording a number is not difficult, requires no new skills, and takes only 20 minutes a week. Tracking all your expenses is just a really good habit, that nobody taught us when we were kids. It is as simple as brushing your teeth.

  • You don't need any budgets or restrictions, you're free to buy whatever you want as long as you track it!

  • You can also start with simple tracking, planning will come later.

The second app is the M1 finance app – this app essentially is an aggregate of your Spending, investing, borrowing by working directly from your checking account integrating it into your M1 platform. You do not need to invest to use this app, they have a basic free version that can be used strictly for budgeting money.

Now if you do have some money to invest this makes money movements among your investments, your portfolio line of credit, and your checking account instant and seamless saving a lot of time. M1 Plus members receive a 0.25% reduction on the base rate of M1 Borrow, our flexible, already-low-cost portfolio line of credit.

Get exclusive access to a second trade window for even more control over how you invest. M1 also allows you to buy fractional shares, which is exactly what it says, a fraction of a share. Amazon’s stock is at what? Around $1800/share and take part for a fraction of the cost. In addition, you may earn 25x the national average APY for a checking account and 17x the national average APY for a savings account.

9. Home Warranty Companies - The right home warranty is worth its weight in gold, that being said, the wrong home warranty is a nightmare. I tried Choice Home Warranty, First American Home Warranty, and American Home Shield. When making a claim with choice for a clogged drain, their claim reps are fantastic.

The problem was they sent a plumber tech that could not even find the cleanout located under the house. Then proceeded to say with no cleanout I cannot do the work… but I need to collect that service fee. I then called my association president who lives in the community and he said by law all home are required to have cleanouts under the house and outside of the house and he suggested finding a different plumber.

The plumber was adamant about not finding the cleanout, so he left. Choice Home Warranty then called me and said they could not cover the issue because there needs to be a cleanout. Long story short, once I did receive a call 2 days later from an escalation manager she restated what the plumber told me and said it would not be covered.

I told her by law there has to be a cleanout and that she needs to approve another tech to come out who was competent. She told me she couldn’t unless I can locate this on my own under the house or outside. We will add 3 more weeks of back and forth to this ordeal and stop with the story and just say dealing with choice was a terrible full-time job! We added 3 more weeks of back and forth to this ordeal, so dealing with Choice Home Warranty was a terrible experience and felt like a full-time job!

We did not even cover the “Choice” words that the contractors have for Choice Home Warranty. Approve of the job and then dispute the job after it has been completed. What a shady company and this is being nice! American Home warranty was certainly better to work with, however, they did not have many good quality contractors either.

They also would not have covered a replacement of a high-end gas range. They had a cap of $1500 for kitchen appliances, which isn’t terrible, however, wouldn’t have covered the cost of a more expensive range. Hands down the best home Warranty is American Home Shield - AHS.

They have a large network of contractors and are truly a pleasure to work with. And if you have a home that is at least fifteen years old this could definitely be a smart option for and

completely worth the $57/ mth we paid and about $65 service fee. The prices do vary depending on the plan of course.

10. Other Discount Shopping Apps - Then there is shopping for clothes, tires, car repairs and other necessities. With Rakuten, you get between 1 – 32% cashback that I have seen personally. That changes all the time and could get better than that. Again, these are items you have to buy anyway! My neighbor told me she received a check for about $700 for one month that she would not have had otherwise. So yes, it’s kind of like free money.

In conclusion

The point here is collectively this makes an impact year-to-year on your savings and no one suggestion saves you much independently. So it's important to consider all these options in conjunction with the philosophy a reducing the number of times you go out to eat, how you manage your grocery bill, your perishable items in the refrigerator, and all of the other suggestions. Collectively this will all make a difference for the year and put you in a better financial situation.

What's next?

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