Are you trying to figure out how to save more money every month? Are you living paycheck to paycheck?
Is not having extra money to fall back on causing you stress and anxiety, which is making you lose sleep at night?
You are definitely not alone.
According to an article in the Washington Post, somewhere between 50-78% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck and 40% of Americans said they couldn’t cover an unexpected $400 expense.
If this sounds like you, keep reading to learn some tips for how to save more money every month and stop living paycheck to paycheck. I put together a list of 20 ways you can squeeze a little more money out of your budget.
Some reasons you may want to save more money every month are to:
- Start an emergency fund
- Pay for a home improvement
- Save for other big expenses, i.e. buying a car
- Stop living paycheck to paycheck
- Improve your psychological frame of mind by decreasing anxiety and stress
- Buy the perfect home for your family
- Take your family on a much needed vacation
- Increase time spent with your family by not working long hours
- Start a family
But how are you going to squeeze extra money out of your budget when there isn’t any money left over at the end of the month you ask?
This is where you might have to get a little creative. Let’s face it, times are tough and money is tight for many people. Keep reading to learn about some ways you can save more money every single month!
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. If you click and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. I only recommend products and services I use and love.
Before I start telling you about my favorite ways to save more money every month, here are 2 things that you can do to help you figure out where you need to cut back.
Track your spending
In order to figure out where your money is going, you will need to keep track of what you are spending it on.
Keep all of your receipts for a full month so you can see where each dollar is going.
Write down everything you bought and total it up to see how much you spent. Sort your totals up into your budget categories so you can see which categories in your budget may need to be addressed.
You will use the information you gather when you create (or review) your budget.
Create a budget that works
Now you will need to review your budget and fine-tune it, or if you don’t have one, you should create a budget.
Use the information you gathered when you tracked your expenses to help you figure out which budget categories you are spending the most in.
My workbook includes an extensive list of budget categories to help you get organized.
Now that you have a budget, it’s time to scrutinize it even further! Congrats if your income covers all of your expenses in your budget!
If your income does not cover all of your expenses, you will definitely need to find ways to save more money every month.
20 Ways to Save More Money Every Month
Take a look at your food budget
After housing expenses, such as your mortgage or rent, the money you spend on food is often the next largest category in your budget and the easiest to bust!
If your food budget is getting out of control, take a look at the post I wrote on cutting food expenses.
There are many ways to reduce food spending. I will be going into detail about some of the major ways below.
Other smaller ways to save more money on food are shopping at discount food stores, buying generic/store brands, using loyalty cards, shopping no more than once per week, and stocking up during sales.
Meal plan so you can eat at home more often
Meal planning has saved us so much money and it can save you so much money also! When you first start, meal planning takes some time and effort until you figure out a system that works for you.
However, once you figure out what works for your family and what meals your family loves, it’s just a matter of coming up with a rotation for them. It can save you so much time, money, and stress.
I love to do monthly meal planning. Essentially I plan meals for 4 weeks at a time and shop for groceries every 2 weeks. If you would like to learn how I do our monthly meal planning, you can read about it here.
If you are struggling with coming up with a meal rotation when meal planning, you could try using dinner theme nights. Check out my post on meal planning with dinner theme nights if you would like some ideas.
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- Ultimate Guide to Meal Planning on a Budget
Helpful Tip: If you absolutely hate meal planning or you have tried it and you just can’t seem to figure out a system that works for you, you should take a look at $5 Meal Plan.
$5 Meal Plan is a meal plan service that sends you weekly meal plans right to your inbox and the grocery list for the meal plan already done for you!
All you have to do is check off the things you already have and head to the grocery store to get the rest.
Most of the meals work out to be around $2 per person. And it’s only $5 a month!
So if you would like to check it out, they have a free 14-day trial you can sign up for here.
Then you can see for yourself how much money and time it can save you!
Pack your lunch
Pack your lunch for work so you won’t have to buy it a few days per week (or every day if you are super motivated). Try to stop your coffee buying habits or cut back on buying your morning coffee to only once or twice a week.
If you are trying to get motivated to start packing your lunch, how about buying a cute new lunch bag to use? I love the ones like this that have the shoulder straps to keep my hands free.
It will pay for itself many times over when you bring your lunch from home and stop ordering out or going out for lunch.
There are many cheap and easy lunch options you could try. Personally I usually just take oatmeal and a hardboiled egg or cottage cheese and fruit. I also take crackers, pretzels, almonds, or other similar foods to eat if I am still hungry or need a snack at work.
Other options are sandwiches, canned soup, leftovers, garden salads, & tuna, chicken, or egg salad with crackers.
You could also prep your lunches on Sunday for the whole week and not have to think about it again until the following Sunday!
If you don’t have access to a microwave and are getting tired of cold sandwiches or cold food, try one of these for keeping soups and leftovers warm. My husband is on the road for his work all day and was getting tired of sandwiches day after day. He got one for Christmas and absolutely loves it.
- Manly Lunch Ideas for Your Husband to Save Money
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Use money saving apps
You can definitely save money every month by using money-saving apps on your phone. The main one we use and love is Ibotta. Ibotta is a cashback app that is 100% free to download and use and there are no subscriptions fees.
Ibotta can also be used in conjunction with Walmart Grocery Pickup. You just have to go through the Ibotta app first to pick the offers you want to use and then it directs you to your Walmart grocery account to log in.
My favorite thing is that Ibotta has some offers that do not require you to buy a particular brand. So we use these offers and purchase Walmart’s store brand to save more money!
If you don’t have Ibotta, you can sign up here!
Join a wholesale club
Try joining a wholesale club and buying in bulk to save more money every month. We are members of Sam’s Club and buy many of the foods we eat for dinner there. We stock up on things like tilapia, salmon, chicken breasts, meatballs, ravioli, and steaks.
We have also even purchased a large cut of pork at Sam’s Club and my husband learned how to carve it up into several meals of pork chops, a roast, and country-style ribs. We then freeze all of it into portions suitable for a meal.
We stock up there once every 12-14 weeks. Not only do we save on our grocery bill by buying in bulk, but they also have discounted prices on gas too.
Most of the time it’s around 20 cents cheaper per gallon than the other gas stations in our area. That can really add up if you drive a lot during the week.
For us, the cost of the membership ends up paying for itself through the gas discount, buying in bulk, and decreasing the number of times we have to go to the grocery store.
Just be sure if you do start buying in bulk that you take a look at the price per unit of the items you want to buy. Usually, it is cheaper to buy in bulk, however, sometimes there are better deals on items when purchased on sale in other places.
Use coupons or buy generic/store brands to save more money every month. And I’m not talking about using coupons for food either.
Yes, if you have the time to find and cut coupons out for groceries, they sure can save you money.
But don’t forget about coupons for toiletries and beauty products! Those are the only items I will cut coupons for now.
I don’t clip food coupons anymore. I prefer to buy generic or store-brand grocery items.
Many times the store brand ends up being the same cost or cheaper than the name brand with a coupon. That’s a win-win in my book! Cheaper groceries without spending time on clipping coupons…yes, please!
Also, don’t forget to look for coupons for restaurants and stores. Stay organized and keep track of your coupons by having a designated folder to stash any store coupons or restaurant coupons you get in the mail.
Check your mortgage interest rate
If you have a mortgage, take a look at your mortgage interest rate. If you have enough equity in your home and mortgage rates have dropped drastically since you bought your home, it may benefit you to look into refinancing.
This could potentially lower your monthly payments helping you save more money every month, decrease the amount of interest you pay overall on the life of your loan, and you could end up paying off your mortgage sooner!
Shop around for insurance
Shopping around for homeowners insurance, renters insurance, car insurance, and life insurance are huge money savers and can help you save more money every month.
Plus, many insurance companies will give you discounts for buying multiple insurance types through them.
Refinance and/or consolidate your loans
If you have substantial loans, you may want to consider consolidating or refinancing them, if it makes sense to do so.
Make sure you read all the fine print of your loan agreement (especially student loans) before you do anything to ensure what you are thinking of doing will actually help your situation.
Work on lowering your utility bills
Utility bills can get out of hand. Make it a point to scrutinize how you are using each of your utilities to see if you can reduce your monthly bills.
Here are some ideas to think about that could help you save more money every month:
- Adjust your thermostat or have a programmable thermostat installed
- Use ceiling fans
- Use insulating curtains or cellular shades
- Fix drafty doors or use door draft stopper
- Turn off lights
- Unplug unused appliances
- Hang some clothes to dry
- Fix leaky faucets
- Take shorter showers or set timers for kids
Reduce television expenses
You could reduce television expenses by totally getting rid of cable. If that is not an option (like it isn’t for us because of my husband’s sports-watching addiction), reduce the number of channels you have.
If you are already at the bare minimum number of channels, sometimes a phone call to the cable company will help you get a lower rate if they have special promotions running.
Don’t give up! If you call your cable company and the person you talk to that day tells you there are no promotions available, call back another day.
Sometimes we have to call and threaten to cancel our cable services multiple times before we get someone that can help us. It’s unfortunate to have to do that (and annoying), but sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do!
There are many different streaming services available that could satisfy your tv needs so that you could get rid of your cable altogether. Or maybe you could even be happy with just an antenna!
Reducing your tv expenses will definitely help you save more money every month.
Stop unused or unneeded subscriptions. Do you have any monthly subscriptions services you could do without?
Maybe you have a satellite radio subscription for your car but no longer need it. Or maybe you still get a magazine sent to your home and you no longer have time to read it.
Take a look at your credit card statement to make sure there is nothing being automatically billed to it that you don’t use or need anymore.
Work out at home
Gym memberships can be pricey. If you can figure out how to get your workouts in at home, you could save the money you would have spent on the gym membership.
Try checking your phone for workout apps. My friend told me about an app called “FitOn,” which I have been using to break up my run days and strength training sessions.
It’s a free app that has a huge variety of workout types for all different levels of fitness.
Have a no spend challenge
Try to have a “no spending” week or month to save money. Challenge yourself and your family to not spend any money on anything besides the essentials for a specific amount of time.
If you would like to learn more about how to do a no-spend challenge, also called a spending freeze, you can read about it here.
Save on home décor
This is for those people who love spending money on home decorating items (guilty here). Try “shopping your home” to satisfy your desire to buy some new home décor to save more money every month.
Do you have a storage area for your surplus of home décor? Check that out before you go shopping to see if you already have something that would work for your needs.
Sometimes just moving décor to a different room to create new vignettes is all you need to satisfy the urge to buy new things. Try rearranging your furniture too!
Or check out the home décor sections of your local thrift stores instead of buying new items. You never know what you might find.
Do your own self-care at home
If you can do some of your own self are at home, you could save more money every month. Things like basic manicures and pedicures, facials, & waxing could potentially be done at home.
You could also learn to cut your kids’ and husband’s hair to save money. Ever since COVID, we have been cutting our kids’ hair and we figure it saves us around $30 a month.
Take a look at your cell phone plan
Shopping around for a cheaper cell phone plan can help you save more money every month. Just to give you an example, I was using a cell phone plan called Ting for a while and my bills were $20-$30 per month depending on my usage.
I thought this was really cheap!
However, when it was time for a new phone (don’t leave your phone on top of your car and drive off in the rain!) I found out that my cable company has cell phone plans for $12 per month. Definitely a score there!
Entertain at home
Instead of heading out to a bar or restaurant to meet up with your friends, how about inviting them over to hang out? Everyone could bring their favorite beverage or dish and you could have a tasting party.
Other ideas for entertainment at home are having movie nights, video game nights, bonfires, & board game nights.
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Plan out errands to limit driving
Got lots of errands to do? I feel like that’s all we do on weekends because we are so busy during the week.
Sometimes a little planning can help you save more money. Figure out the best route before you go to save on gas and wear and tear on your car.
Wait 3 days before buying something
Impulse spending is a huge budget breaker. If you are at a store and see something you think you want, try waiting a few days to see if you still really want it.
After waiting you may find that you really don’t want it after all.
Or if you do still want it, you can do research to see if you can find the item cheaper elsewhere, or maybe you can find something comparable to the item you want that costs less.
Final Thoughts on How to Save More Money Every Month
Using some of these tips can definitely help you find some extra wiggle room in your monthly budget. Then you could use that extra money to work toward your financial goals
However, if your expenses are still the same as or higher than your income even after finding ways to save more money every month, you may have to find ways to increase your income.
Sometimes you have to explore your options to bring in a side income or start a side hustle. There are tons of options for bringing in more money.
If you would like some ideas on how to make extra money, here are 2 posts you could check out:
- Realistic Ways to Make an Extra $500 a Month
- 50+ Ways to Make Extra Money to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck
Do you have any other ideas for “finding” extra money in your budget? Please leave me a comment to let me know!