How to Make Ends Meet on a Shoestring Budget

how-to-make-ends-meet-on-a-shoestring-budgetLife can be tough enough with all of the curveballs that can be thrown your way, but it can be even tougher when you just don’t have enough money to go around. Many people out there find themselves living paycheck to paycheck just to get by, and if you’re one of them, you might wonder how you can truly make ends meet on a shoestring budget. Luckily, following a few tips can help you stretch your dollars a little further so you and your family can survive and thrive, even with a lack of cash.

Use Coupons

First of all, if you aren’t already, you should consider using coupons whenever you can to save money. Nowadays, not only can you find coupons in your weekly newspaper, but you can find them on your smartphone or online. Using coupons is a great way to save on groceries, toiletries and hygiene items, cleaning products, pet supplies and more.

Cut Out Non-Necessities

Cutting out non-essentials is sometimes a necessity when you’re on a tight budget. For example, cutting off your cable TV service and streaming your favorite movies and TV shows online is a good way to cut back. If everyone in your household has a cell phone, having your home phone disconnected can also be smart. Also, extending this to things like buying simpler clothing rather than name brand duds and driving a smaller, less fancy vehicle instead of a big, nice SUV can really make a difference. You might have to make some sacrifices up front, but in the long-run it will be worth it.

Cut Down on Waste

A lot of people waste a lot of food each month, and doing so can wreak havoc on your budget. Focusing on saving and eating leftovers, such as by turning them into another meal, is a good place to start. Use reusable sacks, diapers, and other containers and see if you can turn things you’d normally throw out into something useful in your household instead.

Buy Used

Even though some things are better off bought brand new, a lot of items can be purchased used for a significant discount. When buying a car, it’s almost always a better idea to buy used rather than new. You can also score great deals on clothing and furniture by shopping at thrift stores, consignment shops, and yard sales. Additionally, buying things like appliances and electronics used can be a smart way to get what you need without spending more than you have to on it.

Comparison Shop

Before buying just about anything, it’s smart to do a bit of comparison shopping. This isn’t just the case with big ticket items, although it’s particularly important then, too. However, comparing ads from your local grocery stores before going shopping can be helpful, too. Luckily, nowadays, you can often do all your comparison shopping quickly and easily online.

Focus on Conservation

Focusing on conservation can help you save money and make a difference for the planet at the same time. For example, you’ll want to focus on ways to save electricity and water in your home and to cut down on the amount of gas that you use in your car. Not only can this help your budget, but it can help you feel good about making a difference for the environment, too.

Budget Carefully

When you don’t have much wiggle room financially, spending too much at the grocery store just one time can be detrimental to your finances. Because of this, it is important to budget carefully, to be determined to stick to your budget and to carefully monitor your spending.

Bring in Extra Cash

If you want to lighten up your financial load, consider looking for ways to bring in extra cash. For example, there are investing books out there that can help with beginners who want to start investing, even if you do not have much to invest at first. You can also consider looking into part-time jobs and online gigs that can help you bring in a little bit of extra money.

Living on a tight budget is hard, but if you follow these tips, you can help ensure that you and your family will thrive, even in a tough financial situation.

Tim Esterdahl

Tim Esterdahl is the editor of IFCS blog. He is a married father of three and enjoys golf in his spare time.

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