Can you plan for an emergency with money-saving tips? For those times when things go wrong and our lives take a belly flop? The upshot can be unforgiving because it can happen so quickly, just before we come to realize the devastating perils that take us hostage.
We can’t always forecast with accuracy. Yet, there are ways we can prepare for the possibility that things may change before we are swept under an avalanche of problems. These money-saving tips may just help you manage.
If the last 6 months have taught us anything, it’s that life is better when we have resources to fall back on. Saving anything is better than nothing at all. It can be a stretch, it can be a hardship, and it can feel near impossible, especially during times like these. But if there’s a way to make it work, to cut expenses and eliminate wastage, you’ll be so much better off than if you hadn’t. If you can pinch the pennies, I can show you how to stretch a dollar.
Whether you’re wondering what to do as money is tight right now, or should you be using your credit card or learn how to better manage your money, I’ve got you covered with this post and my 35 top money-saving tips.
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Disclaimer: This blog post may contain affiliate links. Keep in mind that I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you when you click my links and make a purchase. However, this does not impact my opinion in any way. I only promote brands I believe in and products that I use and love myself. I try my best to keep things fair and balanced to help you make the best choice for you.
How to Manage When Money is Tight Right Now
It’s a financially stressful time for just about everyone these days. The question is, what do you do when you have bills to pay and you don’t know when money will be coming in? I’m going to roll out smart ways for you to better manage your finances. These money-saving tips will give you options and that will help to ease the burden and alleviate your stress.
Here’s an action plan to help you manage:
- Make sure you have food stocked up in your pantry to last at least a month as this is a basic need and the biggest worry. If you don’t have enough money to buy food, then consider applying for food stamps from USA Gov Food Assistance, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). You can also visit a food bank or borrow money just to get the basic supplies to last for a month. Buy food that will stretch, such as canned or frozen vegetables that have an extended shelf life ( always look at expiration dates) and can be added to salads, casseroles, soups.
- Secure your home; especially if you have a mortgage to pay. Call the bank or your mortgage provider to explain your circumstances and ask for a “mortgage payment holiday”. This means you can pay a reduced rate or stop all payments for several months. For renters, this can be trickier, but speak to your landlord and ask for a grace period.
- Do the same thing with your bills. There are some that you can stop paying for a while so reach out to let creditors know about your situation and ask for an amended payment plan.
- You need cash, so it may be time to take inventory of your possessions and sell what you can. Make a list of items you have that you don’t need and sell them. This goes for anything that you haven’t used in the last few months. You’d be surprised what people are looking to buy so don’t discount any of your possessions. A good option is to clear out your closet and sell some clothing – follow my tip on how to do this in the section below.
- Consider your skills; especially if you need work. Then, get out there and start looking for a job. Start with family and ask everyone you know.
How to Use Credit Cards During a Financial Crisis
Many people simply can’t afford to pay off credit card debt at the moment. But they also can’t afford not to use their credit card in the current economy. So, what should you do? Suze Orman shares some great tips on how to use credit cards during the current pandemic-induced financial crisis:
- Use your credit card, not your savings if you don’t have enough monthly income to cover your essential expenses.
- Only pay the minimum amount due on your credit card balance, if possible.
- If you can pay the minimum and have a strong FICO credit score, request a lower interest rate from your credit card provider.
- Look into a bank transfer option to move your credit to a bank that offers zero-interest deals for at least a year.
Clever Money Saving Tips
- Real simple: pay with cash when and if you can! It will force you to think twice before you buy it.
2. Adapt the 14-day rule by taking a wait and see approach when it comes to buying something. Chances are you’ll lose interest in the item. It’s fine to lose interest. If you lose the item because it’s gone when you go back to the store, there’s always another.
3. Easy save; pay yourself first when possible. It can be as low as $2 but start a “you” fund and put money away.
4. Drink water. Water is FREE! Even if you choose bottled/filtered water, it’s still cheaper and healthier than other choices including high sugar and fat-filled lattes!
5. Cut out other expensive, unnecessary must-haves. For example, dining out or cleaning services. Roll up your sleeves and do-it-yourself.
6. Shop with a list and stick to it. Plan dinners and stock up on staples, according to what’s on special that week. Clip coupons and use them.
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7. Eat at home. When cooking, double up on the recipe and freeze a batch for another meal (soups, casseroles, lasagne are great items to freeze).
8. Rather than buying pre-packaged snack packs, prepare your own healthy snacks that have lasting power.
9. Buy generic; you and your family will save a bundle. The only difference between the two, often but not always, is marketing. Always keep an eye out for good deals and bargains at your local store and make use of the great finds at shops like Dollar Tree.
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10. If you’re going to work, then pack and take your own lunch. It’s cheaper and healthier.
11. Another way to save is to buy one terrific all-purpose cleaning product. White distilled vinegar gets rid of grease, stains, and odors and so does baking soda. Both are affordable items that work wonders for household cleaning. But you can use alternatives such as Borax to clean and disinfect, lemon to deodorize and remove bacteria and cornstarch for removing carpet stains, cleaning pots and pans or polishing silver too.
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12. Clean out your closet. Think of the 80/20 rule (you wear 20% of the clothes 80% of the time.) Be ruthless and get rid of what you don’t wear, love, or want. You can have a tag sale with the goods, take gently used items to a consignment shop, or even donate them for a tax deduction – all of which turn into money in your pocket.
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13. When you leave home, turn the lights out, the heat down and air off.
14. If you don’t use it, cancel it. This includes memberships you don’t use, magazine subscriptions you don’t read, as well as cable and satellite stations you don’t watch or need. There are fabulous online exercise videos, a better and safer option than going to the gym.
15. Avoid spending triggers. Be aware of places that trigger spending, including browsing on the internet. Or, when you’re overstressed and need a pick-me-up (try walking or yoga instead).
16. Barter. Money doesn’t change hands. Just favors.
17. Conquer and divide. Share rarely used items with the family, such as a coffee pot that serves a large crowd, folding chairs, (for later on when things are back to normal) kid’s toys and clothes, etc.
18. Don’t hesitate to ask for a better deal. Even request a better rate when it comes to utility bills or doctor’s bills. You’d be surprised what’s negotiable.
19. The best gifts to give are those you make. Baked goods, knits, personalized stationery, and a scrapbook of memories have been some of my favorites.
20. Keep a journal and write down everything you spend. It will help you to edit or at the very least, it will open your eyes.
21. At the end of the day, take all your loose change (or dollar bills) and drop them into a large glass jar. Unless you have sticky fingers, you’ll save a small fortune in a year.
Use a Day Planner to Track Your Finances
One of the best things to do during a financial crisis is to keep track of your finances so that you can more easily stick to your budget and adhere to money-saving tips. Since you need easy access to this information, it makes sense to use your day planner. Personally, I love to use the MomAgenda day planners. Although these handy planners were designed with moms in mind, they are suitable for anyone who wants to get more organized.
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Here are some brilliant ways to use your MomAgenda day planner to track your finances:
- Record your spending habits to keep track of all expenses in order to avoid accidentally going over your budget.
- Use the planner to factor in financial tasks that need to occur daily or weekly such as reviewing your budget. This helps you to create a habit around your finances.
- Take advantage of that organized planner format by color-coding, financial tasks, or expenses to add a bit of fun to the experience.
- Write down your financial goals and timelines for the year and each month and use the planner format to mark important dates and deadlines. Having it all together will help keep you motivated.
- Store receipts in the pockets of your day planner when you’re on the go and don’t have time to record an expense. Then at the end of the day when you have some time, you can remove the receipts, make a note of them and then store in your files as you may need access to them later on or for taxes.
MomAgenda day planners and notebooks are perfect for this type of use. These special planners can be customized to suit your needs and there are even refills and accessories available. Take charge of your finances today and grab a MomAgenda day planner to start organizing your life.
Facts about Saving Money
If I still haven’t convinced you to use these money-saving tips, then these facts may do it:
- Almost 40% of Americans have no savings.
- 61% of Americans don’t have enough money saved to cover a $1000 emergency.
- 33% of American adults have no money saved for retirement.
Is it Worth it?
A question I ask myself when I’m about to make an unnecessary purchase is, “Is it worth it?” I remember years ago a friend of mine, with two children and one on the way, suddenly found out that her husband lost his job. As we were discussing ways to manage, I realized her strategy for cutting corners was very clear. I never forgot about it. She developed a shoestring mentality and guaranteed that there would be no purchases made unless they were absolutely, positively necessary, including a pack of gum. That’s how she managed and even when her husband became employed again, she continued to live a financially smart life.
A constant reminder for me is to want what I have rather than have what I want. It’s building a fortune, but of a very different kind. And finding satisfaction and contentment and joy for what surrounds me. It’s gratitude that’s stripped to its basic core, forcing me to examine what’s important and what’s not. What I can live with and what I can’t live without.
Ask yourself that very question. That if you had nothing else or if all else failed, what can’t you live without? I know I can live with a less fancy house, smaller and less unique than the home I built and drew upon like a canvas. Sure, it hurt to let that house go and the memories that came with it. That’s only part of my story. There’s another story. I can’t live without the people who depend on me and love me just because. Who fill the house with their voices, their scents, their moods, knowing that their home is a safe place they long to come back to.
I won’t put my life on credit or borrow against time. The price is too dear.
What are your best money saving tips?
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