When it comes to saving money, being broke means that you need to get on a budget. Unless you are born into a family where money isn’t a problem, you need to learn how to manage your finances and make every dollar count. In this article, we will answer the all-important question of how to save money when you’re broke.
Money can be difficult to save, especially so when you’re broke, with all the living expenses, bills, and many other things to pay for.
While there may be times when money is tight, there are things you can do to save money regardless of your income.
Here’s a List of 29 Ways to Save Money When You’re Broke
1. Set up a Budget
When you are going to save money, it is important to have control over your income and expenses. A budget allows you to plan how to spend and save your money each month.
Also, a budget gives you a good overview of how you spend your money – so you can easily see what you can cut out to save more.
Keep a track of your income and expenses. When expenses are deducted from the income, you are left with the amount that will go into your savings.
Creating a budget without following it is of little use – so here, it is important to follow the budget carefully.
2. Get Rid of Expensive Debt Like Credit Cards and Consumer Loans
Do you have a credit card or consumer loan that you haven’t repaid?
These loans have very high-interest rates and can cost you a lot of money. Often, loans like this can ruin your entire savings.
Prioritize getting rid of expensive loans as soon as possible.
If you have several small loans with different banks, it can be a good idea to refinance loans and collect them from a bank with good loan terms.
3. Cut Unnecessary Costs
One of the most important things to do if you want to save money is to cut down on unnecessary costs.
Most of us spend more money than necessary in our daily lives – whether it be on food, clothing, electronics, power services or other living expenses.
We go into more practical ways of cutting costs further down the list.
4. Increase Revenue
Stating the obvious here, but one of the best ways to save more money is to increase your income.
If your finances are so tight that you have saved on everything you could save on, then the next step is to earn more income.
This can be done by getting a better-paid job or working on a side income.
There are many ways to get a side income, whether it is by getting an extra job or trying to make money online.
For example, many students choose to make extra money by answering paid surveys.
The best thing for many is to get a passive income alongside the main income.
5. Pay Bills on Time
When it comes to saving money, it is important to pay your bills as soon as you can.
Bills quickly become much more expensive as soon as late fees and interest begin to add on. These extra costs can add up quickly and eat into a lot of your savings.
Try to keep up to date with bills as soon as you have the opportunity in case you are behind.
6. Set Money Aside as Soon as You Receive It
When you are broke and trying to save money, it is a good idea to set an amount you want to save aside, as soon as you receive money in your account – whether it is a salary, scholarship, gifts from a birthday or any other source.
You should always pay yourself before you pay others.
Here, it is wise to set aside a certain amount of your income each month, such as 10 or 20% of your total income.
If you always end up using some of your savings amount to just make ends meet, you can try to move the savings money to an account that is hard to access – like hidden in an online bank or a completely different account, to get the money out of sight from everyday life.
This makes it easier not to touch it or think about it.
If you have money left over each month, you may want to invest it in stocks or mutual funds to make the amount grow.
7. Cut Out Entertainment Services and Subscriptions
It’s important to have some entertainment in everyday life, but do you really need Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO, Spotify and the Xbox Game Pass?
Remember that a subscription that costs $10 a month is equivalent to $120 a year.
Therefore, it quickly becomes a few hundred bucks a year of savings by cutting out an entertainment service or two and a subscription that you probably do not need.
8. Limit Shopping
Many of us love shopping and shopping online. However, shopping quickly becomes expensive, and if you want to save money, this is something that must be cut down hard on.
When we humans shop, we experience a certain kind of intoxication of happiness.
The reason is that when we see nice things that we want in a store, our brain releases dopamine which in turn motivates us to complete the process and buy those things.
This makes us take bad decisions and buy things we do not really need – be it new clothes, shoes, makeup, a cell phone or even a new car.
However, research has shown that it is the anticipation of shopping that causes the dopamine release – not actually buying those items.
If you are aware of this when you are about to shop for something, it is easier not to buy – and save your money.
A good tip here is not to buy the thing the first time you see it.
Rather give it some time, come back the next day and consider whether you really need it – or whether it was not as necessary as you first thought anyway.
9. Save Money on Clothes
We have already talked about how you can save money on shopping, but everyone needs new clothes once in a while.
If you need new clothes, you can save a lot by not buying branded clothes and instead, shopping in cheaper clothing stores.
You may also want to buy clothes on offer – but be careful not to buy unnecessary things just because they are on offer.
10. Do Not Buy Unnecessary Electronics
Do you like shopping for new electronics and gadgets? If your answer is yes, then you are not alone.
But you do not really need that flashy new phone, headset, PC monitor or TV all the time.
Remember that all home electronics depreciate in price the moment you buy them.
If there is something you really need, then you can just buy last year’s used model on eBay or other similar sites!
11. Shop Used When You Can
Even when you want to save money, you can’t always completely avoid buying things.
Whether you need a new phone, a new piece of furniture or if the stove has broken down – there is a lot of money to be saved on buying a used one instead of buying a new one.
Also, it is much more environmentally friendly to buy used!
12. Take Good Care of Your Things
Whether it is your mobile phone, apartment, car, washing machine or house – take good care of your things!
By doing so you won’t have to buy new things too often, and you get more value in return the day you want to sell them.
13. Plan Your Meals and Shop Once a Week
By planning all the meals you will have during the week, it will be easier to follow your budget.
Also, if you only shop once a week, you avoid making stupid impulse purchases that cost you extra money.
And remember: Do not go to the store when you are hungry! The danger of you buying unnecessary food items is too high in that situation.
14. Buy Cheaper Food and Food on Offer
You can save a lot of money by choosing the store’s own brands and low-priced products.
Most of what you put in the shopping cart out of old habits is the result of years of aggressive marketing from the manufacturers to sell their products so that you choose them over others.
By choosing the store’s own brands and products, you can save a lot of money on food during the week, month and eventually – year.
It is also a good idea to keep track of which stores have good offers on groceries you need at all times.
15. Freeze Your Foods
If there is one thing we humans are good at, it is throwing away food – which of course is completely unnecessary.
In addition to planning meals and shopping for groceries once a week, you can save a lot of money by freezing food.
Everything from bread and baked goods to cheese, milk, pasta and berries can be frozen and used later.
Our tips are to:
- Cut up bread in the grocery store and freeze the slices of bread you do not use
- Buy cheese on offer and freeze until you need it
- Freeze pasta leftovers and lasagna so you have dinner for a later occasion
16. Do Not Buy Expensive Lunch Outside
It is easy to be tempted to buy hot food, baguettes or salad from the salad bar when you’re having lunch at school or work.
If you stop by a store or kiosk to buy lunch, it’s easy to get carried away and buy other unnecessary things such as baked goods and coffee.
When you’re broke and want to save money, it is important to have a packed lunch at school or work.
If you have a refrigerator in the workplace, you can store cold cuts at work – and if there is a microwave, you can bring dinner leftovers.
This way you can avoid the expensive shopping trips and save a lot of money during the week!
17. Make Food at Home
Eating out is one of the most expensive things you can do. By buying all the ingredients and making your food at home, you save a lot of money!
A really good dinner does not have to cost more than 2 to 5 dollars per person if you really want to save money.
18. Stop Shopping at the Kiosks and Gas Station
Do you find yourself stopping by a kiosk or gas station once in a while to buy food and drinks?
You need to stop doing that immediately if you want to save money. Items you buy in kiosks and gas stations are often between 25 to 75% more expensive than in a regular grocery store.
It can quickly add up and turn into a solid chunk of unnecessary spending.
19. Introduce Free (No Shopping) Days
Do you usually buy something every single day? Many people have a habit of buying something new daily. Often it’s just little things like small shopping trips to the store – other times it is online shopping.
If you introduce the idea to shop only once or twice a week and stop buying lunch from outside, then it is possible to have completely free days.
By introducing free days, where you do not spend a single penny, you rewire your brain to think that it is not necessary to buy something every day.
20. Sell Things You Do Not Need
If you’re broke and really need money, there is little that is as effective as selling things you do not use or no longer need.
Sell everything that does not make you happy or you don’t absolutely need!
Furniture, old mobile phones, electronics, watches, bicycles or clothes – most of your belongings can be sold.
It is completely free to post things on classified ad sites, so you have nothing to lose in trying to sell your unused things away.
Maybe there is something valuable that you don’t need in a basement, storage room, garage or attic?
21. Love Traveling? Check Flight Prices Several Times!
If you are going to fly, you can end up saving a lot by checking flight prices several times and on various websites.
Airfares have dynamic pricing, which means that they go up and down a lot.
On Skyscanner you can set up price alerts with alarms for destinations you intend to travel to, and you will also find the cheapest flights available.
22. Cut Out Betting and Other Money Games
Many people like to spend money on things like the lotto and betting, but in the vast, vast majority of cases, it always ends up in a loss that will never get recovered.
Instead, put that money you would have spent on such activities into a savings account, mutual fund or shares.
23. Switch to a Cheaper Fitness Center
Why work out at an expensive gym if you can work out at a cheaper one?
Many people spend a lot of money on expensive gyms, but there are often much cheaper alternatives.
If you really want to save money, the cheapest course is to drop out of the gym altogether and work out outdoors or at home instead.
24. Spend Less on Alcohol & Smoking
As a student or a young adult, many people spend a lot of money on nightlife. In other words, going out partying with friends is expensive. Here are 3 tips to save money out there:
- Go out drinking less often
- Cut down on the number of drinks you buy when out
- Reduce (or completely cut out) smoking
By dropping a weekend of going out and at the same time cutting down on the number of drinks once you’re out, you can save a significant amount of money during the entire month.
25. Avoid Taking the Taxi
It’s easy to get into a taxi after a trip to town – but it’s expensive! It will be especially expensive if you are out quite often.
Walk home: Is it a short way home? By walking the way home for 10 – 20 minutes, you can quickly save quite a bit of taxi money. Also, you get to burn some calories that the evening has brought with it.
Take the night bus: Many places have dedicated night buses (or subway/metro) that take people home from the city. The night buses are often very affordable and in some cases free.
Arrange a ride with friends: Arranging a ride with friends, family or even acquaintances at a fixed price in advance for a trip can often save you a good amount of money.
26. Hang Out With Friends Without Spending Money
Many social gatherings involve spending money, but there is a lot you can do with friends without it costing a whole lot.
To make it easier to find something for free or cheap, it is a good idea to discuss with your friends that you’re broke and want to save money.
Oftentimes the answer from your friends will be that they would also love to save some money!
Something you can do together that does not cost a lot of money is, for example, go for a walk in the woods, a hike in the mountains, have a movie night or a series marathon, play board games or cards, play video games, play football or other sports.
It can also be nice to arrange a joint dinner where everyone brings their own dish.
27. Save Money on Electricity
There are many measures you can take to save electricity at home:
- Take shorter and colder showers
- Turn off lights in rooms that you do not use and when you are not at home
- Turn off the TV and other electrical appliances when not in use
- Use less electric heat
- Wait to use the dishwasher and washing machine until they are full
- Switch to a cheaper electricity supplier
You can also save money by switching power suppliers.
Electricity is one of the basic amenities that’s at your house no matter what. When it comes to the electricity supplier, price is, therefore, the most important thing to think about.
Several electricity suppliers often have good offers, but be careful to not get lured by offers that are too good to be true.
28. Save Money on Insurance
If you want to save money, it may be a good idea to take a look at your insurance policies.
You can end up saving a lot of money by choosing the right insurance companies and policies.
But beware, many of the cheapest insurance companies are cheap per month – but provide poor assistance in case of an accident.
Therefore, read the text in small print well before you decide. For example, there are big differences in compensation amounts by different companies if you crash your car.
29. Do Not Take Out a Consumer Loan
Do not take out expensive consumer loans to make ends meet! Consumer loans will only lead to a vicious circle of you having even tighter finances later.
Saving money isn’t going to be an easy task when you’re broke but it’s going to be well worth the effort in those tough times.
These little adjustments to your daily life mentioned above can have a huge long-lasting positive impact on your financial life. Hopefully, these tips can help you reach your financial goals.
And always remember – Being broke is a state of mind. There’s always a way to save money.
Are there any other ways that have helped you to save money when you’re broke? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear your thoughts!