How To Save Money When You’re Struggling To Make Ends Meet

Keep your head above water in this failing economy with these tips & tricks to help you save money while working toward your financial goals.

This is a sponsored post for adidas. However, all opinions are my own.

14 Ways To Save Money When You're Struggling To Make Ends Meet

My priorities have changed drastically now that I’m in my 40s. Especially after quitting my job and moving to a new city. I’m all about rebuilding my savings, paying off debt and maintaining my spiritual well being. The current state of the economy doesn’t make it easy at all. Keeping up with monthly bills is a struggle for a lot of people right now. And let’s not even talk about outside because it’s expensive af. But we have to try our best to put some money away and work toward achieving our financial goals. Even if it’s a minuscule amount every month. First you need to come up with a budget and savings plan. Then you need to actually stick to both. Here are some tips & tricks that I use to help me save money when things are tight. 

CREATE A BUDGET

First things first, you need to create a budget. Start by calculating your monthly net income; take-home pay from all sources after tax, retirement and other deductions. Now list all of your recurring monthly bills and allocate an amount for necessities such as groceries and gas. Subtract that number from your take-home pay. After that decide how much you’re going to put aside for savings. Divide the rest between debt and discretionary spending. If you’re self-employed, then you’ll need to factor taxes and retirement savings into your budget as well.

AUTO SAVE

One of the easiest ways to save money is to auto save. Don’t depend on yourself to transfer funds to your savings on payday as it’s possible that you’ll forget and spend it. Schedule recurring transfers to transfer a set amount to each of your savings outlets, every payday. If your bank has a “Keep the Change” or similar program that automatically transfers the change from your debit card transactions to your savings account- set that up as well. Those coins add up! 

You can also literally save your coins at home using an empty water cooler jug. I learned this tip from my late paternal grandfather. At the end of every week, empty your wallet of loose change and put the coins in the jug. When the jug fills up, trade in the coins for cash to deposit in your bank account. You can use this money to treat yourself, or to pay off a bill. 

PAY DOWN DEBT

Pay off any outstanding credit card debt as soon as possible to get that weight off your shoulders. Do your best to send at least the minimum payment + interest, and pay on time every month. Have extra cash left over at the end of the month? Throw it towards debt. You’ll save money on interest and raise your credit score in the process. Try not to use your charge cards unless absolutely necessary if you have an outstanding balance. Once you pay them off, only spend what you can pay in full at the end of the month.

Modern Minimalist Glam Apartment Decor

NEGOTIATE YOUR RENT

Don’t be afraid to negotiate the amount of your rent increase when it’s time to renew your lease. It doesn’t hurt to ask. This has worked for me on multiple occasions, allowing me to save hundreds of dollars a year. Sometimes management will opt to negotiate terms in order to to keep a reliable tenant, rather than risk leasing to a new person that may not be as reliable. This is especially true right now. Side note- Do your best to pay your rent on time and in full every month to be able to execute this option. 

CUT THE CORD

Cancel your cable and sign up for a few subscription plans that will allow you to watch only the content you truly enjoy. You can save even more money if you share the cost of the subscriptions with a friend. It’s been about ten years since I cut the cord. The cable company kept raising my bill until I reached my breaking point. So I cut that ish off and never looked back. I’ve been saving money ever since. Also check your cell phone provider for discounts and freebies. If you have T-mobile then you can get Netflix free with some plans.

By the same token, while internet service has become a necessity these days, don’t be afraid to negotiate your plan rate. Call up your provider and ask for the retention department. Threaten to cancel and switch to a different provider and be prepared to actually do it if they have a better rate. Keep in mind that this may not work if your provider has a monopoly in your area. I’ve done this a few times in my old apartment. I was one of the few people on earth that still had a house phone. But the cost of my internet and home phone service was just getting too high. I decided to call up and cancel the house phone. In the end I was able to keep both my internet and home phone service at a $60 monthly discount. That was $700+ in savings. 

Cook At Home And Save Money

PLAN YOUR MEALS

Whether you do it weekly or monthly, plan your meals ahead of time. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. Create a shopping list and buy only the things you need for your planned meals, and not random items just because they’re on sale. Also, try not to shop for groceries while hungry to avoid splurging on junk. Not only will you save money on groceries, but you’ll save time.

COOK AT HOME

So you’ve planned out your meals. Now you have to actually get in the kitchen and cook! If you don’t like to cook every day, then set a date with the kitchen to cook multiple meals once or twice a week. For example, you can cook a large batch of oatmeal and pack it into individual containers. In the morning all you’ll have to do is heat the oatmeal and add your mix ins. For lunch you can prepare a variety of salad toppings to create different salads for the week. Another idea is to precook freezer friendly meals, thaw and heat when you’re ready to eat. 

Eating breakfast at home and bringing your lunch to work will help you to avoid buying takeout, saving you money. This will be even easier to do if you’re currently working from home. Check out my cooking blog Moore Mealz for some recipe ideas. 

Upgrade Your Happy Hour At Home With A Stylish Bar Cart

HAPPY HOUR AT HOME

Did you know that you can buy a whole bottle for the cost of a single cocktail? You can also get an entire bottle of wine for what you’ll pay for a glass. Make space for a bar cart in your home instead of ballin out at the bar. You’ll save money and upgrade your decor. Gradually stock your bar with your favorite spirits and wines. Now you can have happy hour at home whenever you see fit. Well not during your Zoom meetings. You won’t be able to save money if you lose your job. 

BE YOUR OWN BARISTA

Invest in a coffee maker and make your coffee at home. If cold brew is your thing and you don’t know how to make it yourself, the premium bottled varieties tastes just as good as what you’ll get at the shop. Not a fan of coffee? Prefer a matcha latte? Get you some matcha green tea powder and whip up your own. You’ll save money and get a weeks worth of drinks for the cost of 1 or 2. 

adidas Adibreak Track Pants

SHOP YOUR CLOSET

Sis, you don’t need new clothes right now. I’m pretty sure that if you thoroughly go through your closet you’ll find some gems in there. So shop your closet. Save your coins and remix the pieces that you already have in your closet to create new outfits. I purged my closet and opted for a minimalist wardrobe some years back and it’s been life changing. I love basics that I can mix and match. I’m also a huge fan of matching sets like tracksuits as I can wear the pieces together, or individually to create a variety of ‘fits. Every season I go through my closet and do another purge to keep things in order. I donate most pieces. But sell the really nice stuff to get some of my investment back. You can do this as well and save the money, put it toward a bill or allow yourself to buy a few new pieces. Need help purging and organizing your closet? Check out my Small Walk-In Closet Organization video.

STUDENT & EMPLOYEE DISCOUNTS

If you’re a student, utilize your student discount to get deals on everything from Amazon to Apple Music. And don’t forget the local deals at venues in the vicinity of your school. Also keep in mind that you don’t actually have to be a student per se to get these discounts. If you’re an employee at an educational institution and have a .edu or similar email address, then you’re eligible as well. Be sure to take advantage of employee discounts too. You can get discounts on your cell phone bill, software, movie tickets, travel accommodations and more.  Work the system to save in every way that you can. 

DIY Beauty Maintenance Routine

DIY BEAUTY

Doing all of my beauty treatments myself probably saves me thousands of dollars a year. I do my own hair. Mani & Pedi. Facials. Eyebrows. Individual Lashes (when I wear them). And (sometimes) hair removal. I occasionally treat myself to a gel manicure and pedicure when going on vacation. But at this point I’ve mastered doing a professional looking mani and pedi, and new age press ons are life when you need to get fancy. Practice doing some of these things yourself and you can keep your coins in your pocket too. 

HAVE FUN FOR FREE

Find fun things to do for free in your community as the weather warms up. There are always things happening that don’t require you to spend a dime, especially for kids. A good place to start is your local library and museum websites. Along with your neighborhood parks and beaches. Check your bank to see if they partner with local institutions for free admission days. If you have AAA, sign up for the newsletter to stay updated on events (and discounts).

WALK MORE

Instead of driving, walk to places that you can reasonably get to on foot. I walked every where that I could when I lived in Brooklyn. Now that I moved upstate and bought a car, I find that it’s very easy to be lazy and drive to places that I can actually walk to (although there aren’t many). I had to put a stop to the madness and start walking more. Not only do I save money on gas, but I’m getting in some cardio in the process. My wallet and waistline thanks me. I’m sure yours will too.

I hope that my tips will help you to save money and keep your head above water, this year and beyond.

THIS POST WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON 1/15/2021 AND UPDATED ON 4/19/2024.

5 Responses

  1. Really great tips for saving money, etc…I’ve enjoyed cooking several of your recipes which were delicious! Thanks keep recipes coming.

    1. Thanks sis. I am so glad that you’re enjoying my recipes. Thanks for the continued support!

  2. Thanks Sis for the tips to help others along the way. You always have something uplifting and the bomb hair style tips. God bless you!

    1. Thank you so much sis for taking the time to show love. I’m glad that you found this post helpful. God bless you as well 🙏🏾🫶🏾

  3. In tough times, small changes can yield big savings. Embrace budgeting and prioritize needs over wants for financial resilience.

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