Kieron graduated from Vanderbilt University in 2000 with a Bachelors degree in Psychology.
Being broke is one of the most frustrating and helpless feelings a person can have. The stress that comes about as a result of having no money in your bank account can be mind-boggling. Trying to figure out a way to overcome the situation can be even more challenging.
Whether your situation is due to unemployment, excessive bills, or trying to maintain a hard budget, there are ways to pool up some extra cash to provide some temporary relief. If you really take a moment to analyze your daily life and spending habits, you would be surprised at all of the little ways that you can save yourself money. Some of them may require building new habits, but ultimately the feeling of having more money at your disposal should make it worth the effort.
The suggestions below are just a few of the many ways that changing your spending habits can get you more money in the bank. Hopefully, over time, they relieve some stress and get you back on track financially.
1. Sell Off Some of Your Junk
One of the easiest ways to put money back in your wallet is to look around your house and garage for items that you no longer use. In doing so, be sure to be very realistic about how often you have used something in the past, and how often you plan on using it in the future. You may find that the power drill you just had to have last year no longer holds much value to you. The good thing is that the items you no longer need may be coveted by other people. Set up a yard sale one weekend and you may be very surprised at just how much money you can make.
Another option for people who may have fewer items or who do not live in an area where a yard sale may be feasible is to try selling items online. Places like eBay and Craigslist give you a chance to post your items and either sell to the highest bidder or post for a flat fee. Either way, you come out with money for an item that you no longer use.
2. Get a Roommate or Rent a Room
If you have an apartment with an extra room or two, you may want to consider getting a roommate or two. While you may have to give up some of your independence, you may also save a ton of money by splitting the rent and utility bills. The money saved can get you back on track and possibly even set you in a position to have a place of your own one day.
If you own a home and find yourself in a financial bind, you may want to try renting out a room in your house. While this can be tricky depending on the layout of your house, it can be successful with the right tenant. You may find that your mortgage bill is not quite as painful after you make the change.
3. Negotiate With Your Neighbors
If you live in an apartment or multi-family dwelling, you may be able to save some money by sharing expenses with your neighbors. Depending on your living situation, there may be some utilities (such as trash, Internet, and washer/dryer) that you are able to share.
If you feel comfortable doing so, let your neighbor know that you are willing to split the bill if they are interested. You may find that they are willing to share one of their utilities in exchange for one of yours. It may not seem like a lot of savings in the beginning, but over the course of a year it could really add up.
4. Use Local Public Transportation
With gas prices being so outrageous, it is kind of surprising that people do not take more advantage of their public transportation systems. While it may not be efficient to use public transportation all the time, there are plenty of weekly errands that can be performed without the use of a car.
In addition to buses and subways, people can also save money by riding their bikes more often. Rather than wasting gas by driving a car down the street, people can easily choose to walk or ride their bicycles instead.
If you have a reliable public transportation system or bicycle and do frequent errands in a nearby radius, you owe it to yourself to try them instead of driving everywhere. In the long run, you will save your wallet and the environment in the process.
5. Furnish Your Home With Craigslist
If you are in the process of moving or redecorating, one of the best ways to save money is by searching through Craigslist or going to local yard sales. You may find yourself surprised to see the quality of many of the items that people put up for sale.
In many cases, people may be moving to new locations and have to get rid of their old furniture due to space constraints. You may also find people who are upgrading their furniture and are just looking for ways to get rid of their old items. In either case, you may luck up and get good furniture for a seriously low price.
6. Use Free or Low Priced Entertainment
One of the best sources of entertainment is also one of the most overlooked resources in our society, the public library. In addition to housing tons of new and old books, most libraries also have music and movies available for the general public to check out. Rather than spending money on CDs and DVDs, make a stop by your local library and check them out for free instead.
If you have an Internet connection, there are also sites available where you can watch movies and television shows for free. Hulu and Crackle broadcast selected television series and also have collections of movies and documentaries available for viewing.
If you have an older collection of books, music, or movies in your home, take advantage of exchanges such as PaperBack Swap, Swap A DVD, or Swap A CD. Once you sign up, people can request items that you no longer wish to keep. After you mail out the item, you receive a credit that you can use towards requesting an item from another person. If the book or movie is not available, you can get put on a waiting list and be notified once another owner puts it up for grabs.
7. Eat Out Less During the Week
One of the most basic ways to save money during the course of the month is to cook more and eat out less. While nobody can debate how convenient it is to go out to lunch or dinner, the price tag will eventually catch up to you. Even getting a value meal for five dollars at lunch every day can get pricey, and does not compare to the money you could have saved by making your own lunch.
In regards to lunch, an easy alternative is to invest in a crockpot and make meals that you can spread out over the week. After cooking a crock-pot full of food on a Sunday, split it up into separate containers. Place the containers in the freezer and take one to work each day. Rather than wasting money at a fast food restaurant, all you have to do is warm up your homemade food in the microwave.
In the end, you not only save money but you will probably end up with a more nutritious meal as well.
8. Go Out Less During the Weekends
A quick way to save money is to limit the number of times you go out to bars, clubs, and movie theaters. While they are a huge source of entertainment, they can also be a very expensive option over time.
By no means do you have to just sit at home and stare at the walls though. You just have to readjust how to have your normal social gatherings.
If watching movies is your idea of having fun, organize movie nights with your friends and family. Rather than going to the actual theater, pick a friend's home to host the festivities. Make some snacks and enjoy the movie surrounded by your closest friends and family members. You can even rotate who gets to host the movie night in order to keep it fresh.
Game night is another option if your friends need a break from watching movies. Get a group of people together and play some of your favorite board games or card games. Classics like Scrabble, Pictionary, Trivial Pursuit, UNO, and Poker never get old.
How Do You Save Money?
If you look around hard enough, there are tons of ways to save little bits of money. Over time these could really add up for you. What other ways are you saving money for yourself?
Finn from Barstow on July 28, 2018:
Some really good tips.
Eating out less is a good one, but the convenience of prepared food is sometimes too appealing.
Brenda Reeves from SACRAMENTO on December 19, 2016:
I moved into the urban area of my city. I rarely take my car out of the garage that I pay for. I walk a lot and take the bus. I'm setting up all of my doctors, banking, etc. near me. I love to drive, but I've long thought about getting rid of my car completely. Think of the money that would save.
Kieron Walker (author) from Saratoga Springs, NY on August 04, 2016:
That's true. I had never really looked at it like that before. I imagine some people are in a position where they have to live a certain kind of way.
I know that I was in a position where I needed to save money, so it really made me consider a lot of these in more depth.
RTalloni on August 04, 2016:
The choices people make tell us a lot about their goals. Making these choices to live more frugally is a privilege because the majority of people in the world are not in a position to be able to make them. Thanks for highlighting viable options.
Kieron Walker (author) from Saratoga Springs, NY on March 12, 2016:
Thank you dreamer32.
I fully agree with you. I can remember some of my most entertaining nights with my friends were spent eating pizza, playing cards and dominoes, and watching movies at home.
We just enjoyed each other's company no matter where we were.
dreamer32 from Mississippi on March 12, 2016:
This is very good information, slappywalker. Some people don't want to stay at home find things to entertain them at all. A person doesn't need to go out all the time to stay at home, which a person could play card games, video games, or basic games like monopoly and other fun games at home. I agree strongly with you on entertainment area because it can save a lot of money.
Kieron Walker (author) from Saratoga Springs, NY on February 27, 2016:
Thank you janshares! It's surprising sometimes how much money you can save just by making little changes. I used to think that I'd have to miss out on a lot in order to save, but I was glad to learn that's not always the case.
Janis Leslie Evans from Washington, DC on February 27, 2016:
This is very useful and practical information, slappywalker. You've done an excellent presentation on a subject most people can relate to. You definitely can benefit from these saving tips whether you're broke or not and need to do a better job of managing your finances in order to save. Two thumbs up.