Times are tough for a lot of us right now, so saving for the future can seem like a far off fantasy. Even so, it's still important to have a plan on how to save money, both for short term needs and preparing for things to come. It can seem hard if not impossible to do this when you don't have a lot of money coming in, but it can be a lot simpler than you might think. Here are five ways to save for the future on a tight budget that you might find useful.
1. Round Up When on a Tight Budget
If you're in the habit of calculating out the price for your bills in advance, one trick you can use to force yourself to set aside a little extra cash is by rounding up to the nearest dollar. It's not much more than you'd be spending already, meaning you won't be depriving yourself of a ton of funds just to save. While the few cents you'll be putting away aren't much to start with, doing this with as many things as you can really adds up over time. It's also a constructive use for all those random pennies you'd otherwise be trying to find a use for after a transaction.
2. Extreme Couponing
Regardless of anything else, food is something you'll be buying with some regularity. You can't exactly wait for food to be cheaper if you're already running on empty, but what you can do is collect as many coupons for things you would normally buy and use them for a single trip. To maximize savings, try to do this when things are also on sale. While you won't technically be saving any more than you would by using them on separate trips, you are saving money on things like gas for your trip to the store plus the time and energy required to do the shopping.
3. Know Your Budget
You've likely already made up a comprehensive budget for the things you normally buy. That's good, but you can take this a step further by analyzing your budget and planning for when things go wrong. If you get sick and have to take time off work, for example, what kind of expenses could you afford to cut for that month? How much money can you actually afford to put away at the end of the day? Planning for these things and really understanding your finances is a gateway to better money management and planning for the future.
4. Sell Your Junk
This won't work for everyone, but if you've got some old junk lying around the house that you don't have a use for, it's very possible you could sell it for some quick cash. Both pawn shops in person and online auction websites offer a place for you to get rid of things that would otherwise just be collecting dust. This is especially lucrative if you have things like old electronics or vintage toys, as those can both be big-ticket items depending on what you've got and who you might be selling to.
5. Care for Yourself First
One thing you might have learned about living on a budget is that ignoring a small problem usually leads to a big problem down the line. While it may seem counterintuitive to say you should spend money to save money, you're much better off spending to solve a minor issue when it means you'd otherwise lose your savings fixing something more major later. As an example, going to the doctor or the dentist for a checkup may be an expense many would rather put off, but getting an early warning on a condition will be much cheaper and provide better outcomes than being caught unaware after it's had time to get worse.
It might seem hard to save when your funds are low, but these five tips will help you prepare for your future even when you have a tight budget.