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When money is tight, sometimes you need to start looking for ways to spend less money. Let’s face it, a spending freeze isn’t practical but something has to give somewhere. We’ve compiled these easy ways to save money on a tight budget.

This article isn’t about groceries or saving money on bills. We’re going to talk about how to save money on that awesome pair of jeans, those killer shoes or that fabulous purse that you saw at the store.

If you are like me, I struggle with this kind of thing at least three or four times a month. It’s normal to want nice things. What’s hard is “adulting” and setting limits and waiting. Let’s get started on our top 5 ways to save money on a tight budget.

shopping bags

Establish a budget.

Tracking expenses is hard enough but a budget? Trust me, the “B” word isn’t that bad. In fact, you don’t have to start with a full on household budget. Start small with a budget for this one purchase.

Whatever the item is think about a few different things:

  • Do you have to get it new?
  • Does it have to be that brand?
  • Is it on sale?
  • How much can you afford to spend?
  • What are you willing to give up to get it?

An $80 pair of jeans may be awesome but can you get a used pair online for cheaper? Are you willing to give up your morning coffee out to make up the difference? Can you get a pair of jeans that is just as cute from another brand?

Set a budget for this one purchase. You likely know how much the item “retails” for so set your sights lower. At first try for 10% cheaper. If you are looking at $80 jeans, try setting a budget of $72. Then, use one or more of the methods below and when you can get them within your budget range buy them.

Rinse and repeat for all future non-standard purchases. The more you practice the better you will get at it!

Price Shop

So you found some awesome jeans at the department store this weekend. You resisted buying them (good job!) but you still really want them. Try price shopping. Look on Amazon, Ebay, call the outlet store, look at the sites website.

Ecommerce is such a huge industry that there are very few truly exclusive items that can only be obtained from one vendor. Shop around, make it your goal to find the best price!

black friday sale

Wait for Sales

Is there a major Holiday coming up? Fourth of July just around the corner? It seems like the retail industry has a sale for everything now. If this purchase was something you needed immediately, you would have already bought it. Since it isn’t set a goal to wait for the next sale.

Funny things happen when you wait. It gives you plenty of opportunity to talk yourself out of an item. By delaying the purchase, even a little while, you also give yourself the opportunity to find something more suitable or in a better price range for you.

Look for Coupon Codes

Spam mail sucks, I get it. When money is tight though, we have to start looking for every extra way to save. In this case, signing up for an email newsletter is a good thing. Some stores will offer an immediate discount for signing up, others will routinely send out coupons.

I, particularly, love when retailers do this. I absolutely won’t even shop at Michaels, for example, without my 40% coupon in hand. Depending on the vendor, it may make more sense to Google coupon codes than to wait for them to be emailed. Whatever the case, when money is tight, take the time to look for coupon codes.

5 easy ways to save money on a tight budget

Do you really need it?

Nobody wants to hear this answer right. Do you really need it? What will happen if you don’t have it? Why do you want it?

We put ourselves into situations where our budget is tight because we spend more than we should. Shopping and spending money feels good. Scientific studies have proven that shopping releases dopamine which triggers the “feel good” sensation in your brain.

Sometimes, just adding the item to the cart can result in that same “high” feeling. I personally will do this while shopping. Next time your out and you see something you want but don’t need, try adding it to your cart and pushing it around for a bit. Five or ten minutes later, reevaluate everything in your cart. You’ll probably be in a much better position to put the item back now that the “rush” is gone.

I hope one or more of these tips for saving money on a tight budget help you. Remember, not all impulse purchases are bad but the sooner we get our finances in order, the sooner we’ll have to worry less about things like this.

If you need help setting up a budget check out the article on getting started with your first budget.