In this article we’ll discuss ways to save money on a tight budget, including budgeting, side hustles, cutting spending and understanding economic cycles.
Americans are struggling financially right now because of COVID-19 shutdowns. Many people live paycheck-to-paycheck and have no savings. As a result, a sudden loss of employment caused them to face economic ruin or bankruptcy.
According to a recent CNBC article using data from SurveyMonkey, millions of Americans have lost their savings.
“Since the virus was declared a pandemic, 14% of Americans — up to 46 million people — said they’ve wiped out their emergency savings”-September 1, 2020 CNBC.com News Article entitled, “Nearly 14% of Americans have wiped out their emergency savings during the pandemic”
Unemployment is Higher Because of the COVID-19 Shutdown of 2020
The COVID-19 shutdown of 2020 turned out to be devastating like the American Great Depression of the 1930s. Workers who were laid off or lost a job from the COVID-19 fallout are in dire straits. Many people have had to borrow money from pensions or a 401(k) just to make ends meet. Others have had to file for unemployment or ask for government assistance.
Many people are struggling to pay rent. Some home owners have lost their home and many more are at risk of losing assets such as homes, cars and investments. There’s no doubt that this is a scary economic time for most Americans. And many people realized that they should have been thinking about ways to save money on a tight budget earlier.
Learn the Secret from Thousands of Years Ago: Saving
But what if I told you that much of the economic suffering and devastation felt by most Americans today could have been avoided? There is actually a secret that your grandparents and great-grandparents knew that can help you be prepared in the future. It’s not some ancient wisdom or magical solution that only a few people know. In fact, the secret is actually knowledge that has been around for thousands of years.
Experts Have Discovered That Economic Events Happen in Cycles
The Seasons, the Planets and Human Life Itself Are Cyclical
Before we get to the secret to avoiding economic disaster and ways to save money on a tight budget, let’s discuss more about economic catastrophe. Unfortunately, the American Great Depression and the COVID-19 shutdown of 2020 were catastrophic events. Yet, some very intelligent researchers have determined that much of what we experience in our lives revolves around cycles.
The sun and the moon follow a cyclical pattern that is predictable. In addition, the earth’s movement through the universe and it’s relationship to other stars is part of a greater cycle. But here on earth, there are many more cycles. The life of a human being is part of a cycle. You are born, you become a youth, then middle aged, followed by elderly life and death. Our season are cyclical: Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer. Researchers have discovered that our economy is cyclical as well.
Economist Ray Dalio and the Economic Machine
Ray Dalio, an economics expert from Bridgewater Associates, has created some really intelligent free videos on understanding economic cycles. He also is the author of the book, “Principles.” Dalio is really good at simplifying economic ideas and helping you understand why things happen as the do.
The Secret to Winning in the Economic Cycle: Save Money
When life is cyclical, it simply means things go up and then they go back down. The pattern repeats itself in a cycle that goes on forever. Moreover, in the natural world, animals are aware of the cycle of the seasons. For example, squirrels have the natural instinct to bury acorns during the summer and build their nests to prepare for the bitter cold of winter.
Although humans no longer depend on instinct to survive, we can still use our higher brain function to make decisions. If we know that the economic cycle goes up and down, then sometimes we will have more money and other times we may have less money. Following this logic, it makes sense for us to save money during the times that we have more money. When we learn ways to save money on a tight budget, we are better prepared to weather the storm of bitter economic times.
The Art of Saving Money
Warren Buffet Teaches That Saving Money Prevents You from Spending Money
Unfortunately, saving money is a lost art. Historically, people’s lives depended on saving money. If a natural disaster struck or just bad luck, people could fall back on the money they saved to stay alive. Today, life is easier. Credit is widely available to most people and we frequently borrow money for cars, houses and purchases on credit cards.
But, finding ways to save money on a tight budget can be critical to your financial well-being for several reasons. First, learning to save money requires that you learn not to spend your money. Warren Buffet famously said that the most important rule of investing is “to not lose money.” The lesson is don’t spend all your money. Instead, save some money. Saving money is an excellent habit to learn and maintain.
Second, developing the discipline to find ways to save money on a tight budget will give you the confidence to seize opportunities when they arise. When people live paycheck-to-paycheck, they waste their time struggling with bills, instead of focusing on future wealth creation. In addition, as your income becomes more limited in old age, you will depend on cash savings to pay for things like medical care and expenses.
Create a Budget
One of the best ways to find ways to save money on a tight budget is to learn to budget. That is, it’s important to keep track of your money. And a budget helps you achieve that objective. Having a balanced budget means spending less of your paycheck. Preferably, you will have some money left over to pay off debt and save for the future. In short, everyone should budget, whether you are a large corporation or just one person.
Live below your means
Don’t Waste Money on Unnecessary Expenses, Such as Eating Out, New cars and Designer Clothing
In many cases, frugal living is the cornerstone of financial success. This simply means spending less than you make. A simple monthly budget can assist you in determining whether you are meeting your goal. In addition, learning to be frugal can help you find ways to save money on a tight budget. For example, when you eliminate extra expenses that are unnecessary, that money can be used in ways to save money on a tight budget.
Unfortunately, living frugally is not popular in the 21st century. Popular culture tells us what “normal” consumer behavior looks like. And it’s considered normal to go out and spend money at restaurants, on vacations and the like. In addition, it’s “normal” to buy a big house and drive a new car.
Cut Expenses and Control Spending
List Items to Remove from Your Budget: Memberships, Subscriptions, Etc.
No matter what kind of budget you have, it’s critically important that you cut expenses. Before you start your budget, begin finding areas in your life where you can make cuts. Cutting expenses will help you discover ways to save money on a tight budget.
It is helpful to make a list of what expenses are needs and wants. For example, paying for electricity is needed; having a spa membership is a want.
In addition, you will also want to figure out ways to cut spending. This will help you save more money quickly. Ideas for Budget Items to Cut:
- Memberships (Spa, Gym, Entertainment, etc.)
- Subscriptions (Magazines, news, etc.)
- Eating Out
- New credit card spending
Stop Using Credit Cards
If you are starting a budget, you probably have credit card debt. The problem with credit card debt is not the debt, it’s the interest. Every day that you maintain a balance on your credit card, interest compounds. Compounding interest works against you when you’re trying to pay off debt. Getting rid of credit card debt will assist you in discovering ways to save money on a tight budget.
Save Money Every Paycheck
Put Aside 10-15% of Your Regular Income as Savings
One of the habits that you want to form that will help you reach your savings goal is to start saving each paycheck. Make it a habit to take 10-15% of each paycheck and save it. After a short time, you will realize that you don’t even miss the money.
First, make saving 10-15% of each paycheck easy by setting up an automatic money transfer to your savings account. For example, each time your paycheck is deposited into your checking account, have an automatic transfer set up that moves money into your savings account. Some people even have a savings account that is in a different bank to reduce the temptation of borrowing from the account.
Finally, saving a small portion of your regular earnings is far from a new concept. Financially successful people have been doing it for hundreds or thousands of years. Read The Richest Man in Babylon to learn more.
Always Keep an Emergency Fund
Unfortunately, emergencies happen to all of us. Having money for an emergency is critical. Many investment and debt consultants recommend that you start with $1,000.
Emergencies can come in many forms. Examples of emergencies you should be prepared for include medical issues, home repairs, car repairs, natural disasters, etc. Once you reach your goal of $1,000, start saving for the longer term. Some experts recommend having 3-6 months of salary saved for emergencies.
Saving for emergencies should probably be one of the first things that you do, even before saving for retirement. Make it a priority in your budget and you will rest better at night knowing you have prepared for the future.
Keeping Up with the Joneses
Don’t Pay Attention to What Others Are Doing: Focus on Budgeting
Don’t get caught up trying to keep up with the Joneses. Who are the Joneses? Mr. and Mrs. Jones are your neighbors who live in the big, two-story house. They just bought a new SUV and a new boat. The Joneses always seem to have flashy, new things.
It takes some discipline and habit changes, but in order to be successful at your budget, you must forget about what the Jones family is buying. Remind yourself buying new things prevents you from getting ahead and puts you further behind in debt. Moreover, what’s important is sticking to your budget so that later you can have financial security.
Finally, if you really want to know about the Joneses, let me tell you. They are in so much debt from buying all those new things that they will probably be asking you for money soon.
Increase Your Income
Great Ways to Earn Extra Money Include Seasonal Work, Side Hustles and Starting a Business
Some people who complete their budget may realize that they don’t have enough money to start saving. Perhaps all your money goes to bills each month, or you just have a lot of family and friends for which to buy gifts.
The best ways to make more money fast:
- Sell Things You Don’t Need
- Rent Out Your Room or Car
- A Side Hustle job
- Borrow Money (Last Resort)
One dirty little secret that successful people don’t often share about their success is how hard they work. Successful people often work 2-3 jobs, work long hours and work to do things that no one else wanted to do. Working hard at a side hustle may be one of the best ways to save money on a tight budget.
It’s not glamorous to deliver pizzas or wash cars for money. However, sometimes to get ahead you have to swallow your pride and do what is necessary. I’m not suggesting that you do anything illegal to make money; on the contrary, there are plenty of legal jobs that will earn real money for you.
Start Your Own Business or Side Hustle
Having a side hustle Has become more common these days. Unfortunately, many people work a second job simply to make ends meet. But there’s no shame in working hard to get ahead. Common side hustles today include:
- Uber/Lyft Driver
- Food/Grocery Delivery
- Dog Walking and Sitting
- House Cleaning
- Gig Economy Services (Fiverr)
- Freelance Work Online
- Wash and Detail Cars
Start Saving Right Now!
No amount of money is too small when it comes to saving, even if you can only save the change you have in your pockets. And, it’s never too late to start saving. If you can’t save enough to reach your goals, start saving anyway. Anyone who is determined to find ways to save money on a tight budget can do it.
Furthermore, the more that you procrastinate, the more you put yourself at risk for the future. Therefore, it’s best to start saving today.
It is important to note that Piggy Bank Coins does not provide financial advice. We do not endorse or recommend any financial investments. Instead, we provide information for educational purposes to those seeking knowledge regarding personal finance. However, in the spirit of transparency, note that the author is an investor in cryptocurrencies, precious metals, and some equities.
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