Ask anyone who has gotten out of debt or worked to change their families financial family tree and they will tell you that the very first thing you should do is get on a written budget.
BUT- the second, yet equally important thing is to build an emergency fund. Having an emergency fund will give you room to breathe, it will help you feel more in control and it is a huge part in conquering your financial fears and failures.
Some of these tips are very basic, it's not rocket science. But I wanted to give you an example of what worked for us.
1. Stop spending money.
Again I repeat STOP SPENDING MONEY! I know this sounds so obvious. But to a lot of people it's not. STOP SPENDING MONEY! Stop going to Starbucks, stop eating out, call your cable company and tell them you can't afford it anymore. Put your cellphone on hold and freeze your credit card... literally, put it in the freezer.
These little things add up to HUGE savings over the course of a year.
2. Eat from your pantry.
Is there any other expense you have MORE control over than your grocery budget? Look for ways to use up leftovers or stretch existing pantry staples.
By eating from our pantry for one month and limiting our grocery budget as well as eating out we were able to save about $225.
3. Go through your house and find if there is anything you can sell online.
List things on eBay, Facebook groups or Craigslist for some quick cash.
Just remember to always meet in a PUBLIC place if you're selling something through Craigslist or Facebook. In fact, some police jurisdictions are now offering their parking lots as a meeting spot for Craigslist sales.
I sold a few unwanted baby items and furniture on Facebook and Craigslist totaling $440 in one week.
I also sold baby clothes and some things my husband no longer wanted for about on eBay totaling $150.
4. Have a yard sale.
We took a Saturday in early fall to have a yard sale. We sold toys, clothes, books, dishes, and yard maintenance items.
We listed everything for yard sale prices, meaning everything was just a few dollars each.
We ended up making about $220.
5. Use Amazon trade.
You can read all about that here. Okay, so this isn't exactly money you can put in your emergency fund, but you can use Amazon gift cards to pay for things that would come out of your budget like toilet paper, diapers, coffee and toiletries.
6. Look for more income.
Since I own my own business I just went to my clients and offered them additional services. I also asked if they had any potential clients they would recommend and I offered them a small discount for each client that signed with me.
If you're not a business owner think of some things you can do, babysitting, dog walking, grass cutting, housesitting, house cleaning, gutter cleaning, baking, driving an elderly person around, tutoring etc. etc.
None of these are glamorous jobs, but when you're broke are you really above work? Are you ever above hard work??
What about you? What are some things you have done to save money?