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If you earn $30,000 a year or less, you may want to know how to make it work. With the rising price of groceries and utilities, you might constantly feel like you live paycheck to paycheck. However, there are some useful tips to consider trying. By following the tips mentioned below, you can save money do it comfortably all while living on $30k a year.
100 Tips for Living on $30k a Year or Less
1. Learn to Coupon and Love It
Focus on couponing to save money on must-have items. You can find coupons for groceries and other necessities, including toothpaste, toilet paper, and paper towels. If you use coupons when shopping, you can save hundreds of dollars each month. Try to avoid buying anything unless there is a coupon for it. Watch YouTube videos on couponing at different stores to get a feel for how to do it using both paper and digital coupons. I also have a lot of information on Couponing for you to read.
2. Shop Around on Anything You Need to Buy
If you know you need to buy something, start shopping around before paying for it. You can check out different stores and sites to see which one is offering the best deal. The goal is to get what you need at the lowest price possible.
3. Grow Your Own. Anything is Better Than Nothing
Start growing fruits and vegetables in your backyard. You can save money on produce by growing your own at home. Even if you cannot grow all the fruits and vegetables you eat, you can grow plenty of things. Some of the things you might have success growing include tomatoes, strawberries, and potatoes. Start your own Herb Garden. Need help with this gardening stuff? How to Plant a Garden for the Beginner Gardener has a lot of good tips. Gardening can be so much more than growing your own food and when you are living on $30k a year or less it's a great way to make more money as well.
4. Cut Your Electric Bill
Take the right steps to reduce your electric bill. If you can lower the bill, you will pay less and save money. You can check out 55 Ways to Save to see some of the steps you can take to lower the bill each month.
5. Cut Your Water Bill
Work on reducing water usage at home to save on the water bill. Check out 50 Ways to Save on Water to see some helpful tips on reducing water usage and waste.
6. Take Advantage of Thrift Store and Yard Sales
Shop more often at the thrift stores and yard sales. You can find items you might want or need at deeply discounted prices to save.
7. Do All Your Errands One Day a Week and Plan Your Route to Save Gas
Try to get all your errands done in one day. You can save gas by planning your route in advance. It is better to get it all done instead of constantly driving around to different places to do your errands.
8. Car Pool When You Can Save on Gas
If carpooling is an option, take advantage of it. Ride with others instead of taking your own vehicle to waste much less gas.
9. Use the GasBuddy App to Find the Cheapest Gas
If you download the GasBuddy app, you can find out which gas stations are offering the best prices. Compare the cost of gas and go to a gas station with cheaper prices to save money.
10. Pack Lunches for the Kids and Hubby
Save money by packing lunches for your kids and husband. If your husband normally purchases fast food, packing a lunch will help you save hundreds of dollars each month.
11. Reuse Old Items
Start reusing items that are a bit old. For example, use old towels from the bathroom to clean. You can use these towels as dust rags to save money on paper towels. There are even ways to Reuse your junk mail.
12. Use Plastic Grocery Store Bags as Trash Liners
Instead of buying trash liners for the bathroom and kitchen trash, use old plastic grocery store bags. It is a great way to reuse the bags and save extra cash. We also use these for cleaning up after our dogs in the back yard and the cat box.
Start to freecycle. If you reuse items that you have at home, you may spend less.
14. Facebook Buy and Sell Groups
When looking for something specific, consider checking out the Facebook Buy and Sell Groups. You can find groups in your local area that may have plenty of items available for low prices.
15. Use Rewards Cards
If you use rewards cards at different stores, you can enjoy access to deep discounts. You can collect points to get free items and other great rewards. Get these apps to help you out.
16. Stretch Your Meat Budget
Use less meat in recipes to save money. You can make it stretch by replacing meat with other ingredients, such as beans.
17. Have a Meatless Dinner Night
Have at least one meatless dinner night each week. If possible, have multiple meatless dinner nights to reduce spending money on meat.
18. Breakfast For Dinner
Prepare breakfast for dinner. It is often cheaper because of the low cost of eggs, bread, and breakfast sausage. Try some of these recipes: 40 Breakfast for Dinner Ideas
19. Buy in Bulk and Separate Yourself
Purchase meats and other food items in bulk. Separate them into different containers to use for recipes throughout the week.
20. Check out Free Family Festivals Around Town
Look for fun family festivals taking place in and around your area. Attend them with the family to make memories on a budget.
21. Cut the Cable and Get Netflix
Get rid of the costly cable bill. Consider getting a Netflix subscription to replace it.
22. Put Gas in the Morning
Add gas to your vehicle in the morning. The prices may be lower and you can use less of it. if you cant get to the gas station in the mornings try this next tip…
23. Put Gas in Your Vehicle on Monday
Add gas to your vehicle on a Monday. The prices tend to drop directly after the weekend. Use these apps to help with gas rebates as well.
24. Use Ground Turkey
Replace ground beef with ground turkey. It is a cheaper and healthier alternative, making it a great choice!
25. Make Your Own Bread
During the Great Depression, most people made their own bread instead of buying it from the store. It was cheaper to make at home. Start making your own bread to save money in the long run. Give these a try
- Easy Pumpkin Beer Bread Recipe
- Copycat Paula Deen Monkey Bread
- Copycat Texas Roadhouse Rolls Recipe & Honey Butter
- 7 Up Biscuits Recipe
- CopyCat Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits Recipe
26. Learn to Sew
If you get good at sewing, you can fix holes and add patches to damaged clothes. It is a great way to save and avoid spending money on new clothes.
27. Make Your Own Cleaners
Avoid spending lots of money on brand-name cleaning products. You can make many effective cleansers right at home. Here are a few to get started
- Easy Homemade Dryer Sheets – PS They are Reusable!
- DIY Homemade Febreze
- Homemade Foaming Soap Trick That Saves You Money!
- DIY Glass Cleaner Recipe – Better Than Windex
28. Start Canning to Save Money
Begin the canning process to stock up on fruits, vegetables, and other foods. You can save money and have access to emergency food items. We have canned jelly and butter and sauces previously.
29. Make Extra Money Online in Your Spare Time
If you have extra time, check out different ways to make extra money. You can earn cash from home on your computer.
Attempt to haggle for anything. The goal is to get people to lower their prices so that you can save on items you want to buy.
31. Cut Out Juice and Soda
If you eliminate juice and soda from your diet, you will save money. You can stick to water. Instead of buying bottled water, get a filter for your faucet and drink it directly from the sink!
32. Learn to Cut Your Own Meat
If you can learn how to cut your own meat, you can save by purchasing the meat as a whole. It is not for everyone, but it may be something worth considering.
33. Know Your Stock Up
Make sure you know your stock up. Check for prices to get items to add to your stockpile while on sale.
34. Pick Your Own Fruits
Start picking your own fruits when they are in season. You can pick strawberries in May, blueberries in June and July, and Peaches in August. Visit local farms to find out when you can take advantage of this option. You may be able to get some of the best deals around when visiting local farms for your produce.
35. Freeze Food
Buy food items when you see them on sale for great prices. You can freeze all kinds of foods, such as cheese, bread, and produce.
36. Start Menu Planning
Come up with a menu plan for the week. If you plan ahead, you will know exactly which groceries you will need.
37. Freezer Cook
Cook freezer-friendly meals. You can prepare them when you have time and store them in the freezer.
38. Grocery Shop Once a Month
Only visit the grocery store once a month. Stock up on all the essentials you will need that will last for the month.
39. Save and Eat Your Leftovers
Save any leftovers from meals. Eat them for lunch or for dinner again.
40. Use a Brita Bottle Filter Instead of Bottled Water
The Brita Bottle Filter is a great device to have. It filters impurities out of the water, leaving you with fresh water to drink.
41. Use a Water Filter at Home
Add a water filter to your faucet in the kitchen. You can use filtered water to drink fresh water and other beverages, such as coffee and tea.
42. Buy Clothes During the Off-Season
Get your clothes as the season ends instead of begins. For example, buy winter clothes during the spring months to enjoy deep discounts.
43. Request Clothes and Gift Cards For Children’s Birthdays
When your children have a birthday, ask relatives for gift cards and clothes. The kids will have outfits to wear and places they can visit, such as the zoo or movie theater.
44. Buy Family Passes to Different Places
Get a family pass to places like the zoo that offer a donation paper. You can file it on your taxes to save!
45. Sign Up to Receive Texts From Places
Certain places send text messages to make you aware of good deals. Sonic and Target are two great places that send text alerts for deals. Dollar General offers $5 off $25. Redbox will randomly offer a free rental.
46. Buy Holiday Stuff For the Next Year
Get your holiday decorations directly after the holiday to get the best deals. You can get window clings, wrapping paper, and other essentials for pennies!
47. Cut the Landline
If you have cell phones, you can cut the landline. Most people are not using them anymore.
48. Buy Gifts While on Sale for Birthdays
When you see items your children will love that are on sale, grab them and save them. You can keep them concealed in a closet or storage space until their birthday arrives.
49. Have a Yard Sale Once a Year
Have a yard sale to make some extra money. It is also a great way to get rid of clutter and organize the home.
50. Recycle Cans and Bottles
If you have cans and bottles, take them to a recycling center. You can receive change back for these items when you bring them to the recycling plant.
51. Get to Know When Your Grocery Store Marks Down Meats
Your local grocery store may offer manager specials at certain times. Find out when those times are to get the best deals on meat to make for the family.
52. Trade Services
If you know how to do something, offer your service in exchange or another service. For example, if you can cut hair, you might want to do that for someone who can do an oil change on your car.
53. Buy Used Books
Never buy new books. Get them at the library, buy them at thrift stores, or even check out local yard sales to see what you can find. You might want to swap books with other people.
54. Swap Babysitting Instead of Paying For It
If you know people you can trust, swap babysitting. You can offer to watch their kids and they can watch yours. It is a great way to get time away without spending extra cash.
55. Snag All Your Birthday Freebies
Take advantage of freebies available on your birthday. Many places offer free items to celebrate.
56. Eat at Home
Avoid eating out. You can prepare meals throughout the day at home using food that you bought from the grocery store.
57. Free Christmas Posts
Use free Christmas posts. It is the best way to save on holiday-related items.
58. Use the Ibotta App
Download Ibotta and use it to get rewards for buying items at stores. You can earn cash for buying items you normally would get.
59. Switch to Reusable Plastic Containers
Instead of using disposable lunch baggies, buy reusable plastic containers. You can wash them and continue using them.
60. Use Rags Instead of Paper Towels
You will save money by using rags instead of paper towels. All you need to do is toss them in the washing machine when they get dirty.
61. Break Snacks Up on Your Own
Instead of buying single-serve snacks that cost more, purchase larger items and break them up yourself.
62. Do Not Overdraw Your Bank Account
Avoid overspending. If you overdraw your account, you will have to pay lots of fees.
63. Use the Bank ATM to Avoid Fees
Only use the ATM at your bank. Other ATMs will charge a fee that can add up over time.
64. Make Your Own Batter
Instead of wasting money on Bisquick, make the batter for pancakes, biscuits, and other foods on your own.
65. Bring Your Own Bag to Stores That Offer Rebates
Some stores offer rebates when you bring your own shopping bag. Invest in durable reusable shopping bags to bring with you.
66. Save Sunday Funnies to Use as Wrapping Paper
Take a classic approach to wrap gifts. Use the comics from the newspaper as wrapping paper.
67. Take Advantage of Free Samples
If you can get free samples, take advantage of them. You can sign up to receive free samples to your front door for products like shampoo, conditioner, and soap.
68. Cut Your Own Hair
Watch a tutorial on how to cut hair. Instead of going to a salon and spending money, you can cut your hair at home.
69. Read Junk Mail for Possible Coupons
Look through your junk mail to see if you have any coupons. You may find some great manufacturer coupons that you can use.
70. Maintain Your Car
Avoid costly repairs by keeping up with vehicle maintenance. Get your oil changed on a routine schedule.
71. Stop Buying Convenience Food
The cost of frozen dinners and other convenience food items will add up. Stop buying it and start making meals on your own.
72. Use Cloth Diapers
Instead of disposable diapers, go with cloth diapers. You can rinse them out and reuse them as often as you need to.
73. Make Sure the Bank Does Not Charge Maintenance Fees
Unfortunately, some banks charge maintenance fees, such as Bank of America. Make sure you do not bank with an institution that charges such fees and if you currently do, find out what the requirements are to have those waived each month.
74. Master the Thirty Day Rule
If you are thinking about making an unnecessary purchase, wait thirty days. See if you still want the item after the 30-day period. You may realize the age has passed and you no longer want or need the item.
75. Write a Grocery Shopping List
Make a list for the grocery store. Stick to the list while shopping to avoid overspending on items you do not need.
76. Menu Plan
Consult with your family on foods to make throughout the week. Write out your menu for the week and buy what you need specifically to make the meals.
77. Ask for a Credit Card Rate Drop
Call your credit card company to see if they can lower your rate. It could help you save money that would have been spent on interest.
78. Switch to a Bank With a Rewards DEBIT Card
Find a bank that offers a rewards debit card. You can get cash back and other rewards for using the card to pay for purchases.
79. Cancel Club Memberships and Get Items on Amazon
Avoid the big box stores. You can buy what you need on Amazon.
80. Cut the Magazine Subscriptions
Do not spend money on magazines. You can read most of the content on various websites and online platforms.
81. Take Your Cell Phone Down to Bare Bones
Get the price reduced on your cell phone bill. You might not need the larger package with more data. Stick to a simple, cheaper package.
82. Decorate the Home With DIY Decorations
Use Pinterest to get inspiration on making decorations for the home. You do not need to spend a lot of money on decorations to make the home look good. We have done a lot of DIY Decor
- Redecorate Your Daughters Room with These Hot Items
- DIY USA Letter Wall Decor
- Fireplace Mantel Ideas – Orange Chevron Fall Mantle Decor
- So many more…
83. Budget Every Dime
Work on coming up with a budget. Stick to that budget to save as much money as possible.
84. Keep Your Engine Tuned and Tires Inflated
If you keep up with your engine and tires, you can save up to $100 per year in gas money. The savings will add up!
85. Work Close to Home
Find a job close to home or find a home close to your workplace. A quick commute saves you money in gas.
86. Do Potlucks When Entertaining
If you are hosting a gathering, make it a potluck. Ask each guest to bring something to contribute to the food offerings.
87. Clean With Vinegar
Use vinegar to clean your carpets. It is an affordable and effective product that works well.
88. Grocery Shop at Outlets or Aldi
You will save more money by shopping at the outlets or Aldi. You can get up to 25 meals for $150 or less.
89. Check Your Tax Withholding
You may have too many taxes taken from your checks each time you get paid. See if you can amidst the withholding to get more of your money when you get paid.
Use the Recyclebank program to earn rewards for recycling. You can use your points to get great rewards on food and other items.
91. Have Friends Visit for a Potluck
Instead of going out with friends, have them come over to the home. Make it a potluck night with board games and card games.
92. Start Doing Auto Pay on Some Bills
Some companies offer discounts if you agree to have your bill deducted from your bank each month. It can help you save a few dollars per month.
93. Shorten Your Dryer Vent Hose
Disconnect the hose and vacuum it out. Trim the hose lengths so that it is just long enough for you to pull the dryer a few feet out from the wall. The shorter line keeps the dryer running efficiently. You can save up to $25 per year and your clothes will dry at a faster pace.
Savings: $25 a year on electric, gas, or propane.
Bonus: Your clothes will dry about 20 percent faster.
94. Use a Laptop
Because it can run on a battery, using the laptop reduces electricity waste. It is a better choice to use a laptop over a desktop computer.
Cost: Being vigilant about unplugging the battery charger once your computer is juiced so it doesn't sap unnecessary energy.
Savings: $30 per year off your electric bill.
Bonus: You can relax on the sofa while perusing coupon sites.
95. Plant a Deciduous Tree
Plant one of these trees on the south, west, or east side of your house. When it matures, it will provide the perfect amount of shade over your roof to reduce cooling costs. You can save around $120 per year with it.
Cost: $25 to $70, depending on the tree species, at Fast Growing Trees Nursery.
Savings: About $120 per year on air-conditioning.
Bonus: The tree drops its leaves each fall, so you'll still get the warming benefit of winter sun.
96. Do Comparative Online Shopping
No matter what you need, compare prices online. Find out if a local retailer will do a price match to allow you to get what you need for the same price as it is online.
97. Pay Your January Mortgage Bill in December
If you pay the January mortgage bill in December, you can take the interest and property tax deductions during the current tax year. It can save you a total of $500 on your taxes as a deduction.
Cost: Freeing up cash flow to mail your check early. (Make sure the bank processes it before the end of December.)
Savings: About $500 on taxes.
BONUS: Lowering your taxable income may qualify you for child tax credits, Roth IRA contributions, or other benefits that phase out at higher incomes.
98. Save Your Change
Always save your change in a jar or container. Even if you have pennies, save them! The money adds up over time.
99. Take Your Credit Cards Out of Your Wallet
It might be tempting to spend more when you have easy access to your credit cards. Remove them from your wallet to avoid using them.
100. Set a Savings Goal and Make a Marble Jar
Create a goal of what you would like to save. Make a marble jar that you can use to begin saving your spare change.
101. Early to Bed, More in the Bank
Start going to bed earlier. If you go to sleep earlier, you will save money because you will not have the lights on too long. You may lower the heater in the winter as well.
102. Put Items Not on Your List in the Seat Basket and Re-Evaluate
If you are shopping and grab items you do not have on your list, place them in the seat basket. Think about if you truly need those items or not. If not, put them back.
103. Unsubscribe to the Deal Emails
Companies use deal emails to encourage people to spend more money. If you do not get these messages, you will feel less inclined to spend money on items you do not really need.
104. Make Friends With Thrifty People and Ditch the Big Spenders
Hang out with people who are thrifty. They can give you great ideas on how to save money. If you spend time around big spenders, you might end up living beyond your means.
Whew! That was quite a list. Anything we may have forgotten? What are your tips for living on $30k a year or less?