Saving money can be stressful, and and when you need to save it, it’s not very fun.
If you’re struggling financially, saving money can feel like a battle, and not being able to buy the things that bring joy to you an your family can be really demotivating.
However, most people do go through some sort of financial hardship at some point in their life. Financial instability will look slightly different for everybody, and some will suffer much worse than others, but no matter what situation you’re in, money worries can be one of the most stressful things a person can go through in their lifetime.
We’re taught when we’re younger than money isn’t the most important thing, and money won’t buy happiness, but when you’re struggling to pay your bills and you’re living paycheck to paycheck, it really can feel like money is the most important thing in the world.
So no matter what reason you’re in a financial struggle – loss of a job, illness, you’re a family on one income, etc – I’ve got a few tips for you that will actually help if you’re trying to live below your means and save money.
8 Ways To Live Below Your Means
DON’T BUY CLOTHES
You don’t need to buy clothes at a time when you’re in a financial struggle.
Clothes can be really expensive, and most of the time, we only buy new things because we want what’s in style, we want a new outfit for an occasion or simply just because we enjoy fashion.
If you’re struggling financially, then just make use of what you already have in your wardrobe and find ways to style up the pieces you already have.
The sooner you stop overspending, the sooner you’ll be back on your feet money-wise. Once you can afford it again, you can buy all the clothes you desire.
Cut your grocery bill substantially by leaving the most expensive part of the bill on the shelf – meat products.
There are a tonne of meatless recipes which you can try, which are both nutritionally balanced and delicious for the whole family.
If you’re really looking to save – then try shopping your cupboards before heading to the grocery store again.
See if you can feed your family for the whole week using up only the food which have been living in the pantry for ages. I bet there’s tins of beans, vegetables and other staples which can be turned into yummy meals without spending any extra money!
For recipe ideas check out 30 Super Cheap Meatless Recipes Your Family Needs To Try.
SHARE SUBSCRIPTION SERVICES
If you like to use subscription services like Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime etc, then share an account with friends or family and split the cost of the bill.
It’s a great way for you and your loved ones to save money as a group and if you split all of the following services between 4 families you’d save over $500 a year – each!
- Netflix £8.99
- Hulu (US) $7.99
- Amazon Prime Video £7.99
- HBO Now (US) $14.99
- YouTube Premium £11.99 – £17.99
- Disney+ £5.99
CANCEL MEMBERSHIPS AND SUBSCRIPTIONS
Paying for subscriptions services that you don’t use is such a common way that people waste money.
You’ll sign up to a free trial for something, forget to cancel and end up paying full price for months, even years when you’re not even using the service.
Last year I took the time to go through my bank statements and my Apple account, and cancelled everything that I wasn’t using. Through a combination of TV & movie streaming services, games and other services, I managed to cut my expenses by over £1000 a year!
If you’re a larger family, you could save even more than this, so take some time and make sure you’re not paying a penny for anything you’re not getting full use of.
If you’re struggling financially, then the last thing you want to be paying for is credit card and loan interest.
If you’ve got debts, and you’re struggling for money, then I can assume that you’re not in a position to pay them off in full yet. But, you can still save on the interest.
Look for a balance transfer credit card with a low or 0% interest rate on transfers. Transfer as much of your credit card debt as you can to the lower rate card, and you’ll be able to make the minimum payment every month without the interest payment.
They’ll be a set period of low or zero interest on balance transfer cards (usually anywhere between 3-24 months) so if you still owe money by the time that period is up, then do the exercise again and transfer your remaining balance to a new offer.
DO IT YOURSELF
If you’re trying to live below your means, then stop paying for haircuts, trips to the nail salon and other treatments.
Learn to cut and dye your own hair, or have someone in your family do it for you. Learn how to do your own beauty treatments at home, and you’ll save loads of money from not paying to visit a professional.
It’s also worth learning some other basic life skills such as home repair skills, replacing the oil in your car, changing light bulbs in your car etc.
Any services which are low or semi skilled are possible to learn for yourself. The result might not be as good as if you paid a professional, but it’ll get you by when you’re living on a budget.
Note – any skilled services such as plumbing, electrics etc should always be done by a qualified expert. Please practice the above advice with common sense.
Call your mobile phone company, insurance and other utilities, and see if they can reduce your bill or offer you a better service for your money.
A lot of companies will reduce your bill to keep your business, as they’d rather have you paying them less, than you going to a different supplier altogether. If they’re not able to cut the cost of your contract, they may at least be able to offer you an upgrade at no extra cost, such as extra channels on your TV package or a free trial of other services they have to offer.
Finally, if you’re really struggling for money and need to lower your bills quickly, then consider downsizing your home.
It can be temporary or you might choose to stick with a smaller home for a while whilst you save up some money. There is no doubt about it, that accommodation is usually the biggest expense on most people’s monthly budget.
Whether you’re a tenant or a homeowner, you should be able to find a way to downsize if you really need to save the money. If you’re a tenant, then explain the situation to your agents and ask if they will let you out of your agreement early – if they say no, then just wait till the term is up and then move.
If you’re a homeowner, then you could rent out your home on a short term basis while you move into a smaller place for a while, as a way to bring in some extra money.
Think creatively – if there’s a way for you to move home, it really will help you save a lot of money and can be a lifesaver if you’re struggling financially.
To Finish Off…
I really hope that you found this post helpful and I’ve given you a couple of creative ways to save some money if you’re currently struggling.
Let me know in the comments your top tips for saving money in a pinch, or if you’ve found ways to earn extra money to see you through a tough time then I would also love to hear from you.
Make sure to check back here soon, as I post brand new lifestyle, budgeting and wellness tips on The Angelina Archives every single week!