One of the hardest things for our family when we dropped down to a one income family was trying to keep up with paying off debt and still manage to put away any kind of savings. This was especially hard when we had a massive medical bill come our way around the holidays that we weren’t prepared for. We were already living in a situation where we were really getting creative to stay on top of all of our finances. That creativity was how we saved money when we were pretty much broke. But thankfully it wasn’t as impossible as I had originally thought, and before I knew it we were able to save money on the side without even really having to try!
One of the first changes we made with making over our finances was to try and avoid using our debit cards for everyday expenses and depend more on cold hard cash. Not only did that help us be more mindful of where our money was going, but I also decided to start keeping any change I got at checkout. I chose to always round up at checkout rather than give exact change that way I could always take whatever loose change I had and hoard it away. Before I knew it I had $50! So no, I’m not rolling in Benjamins from this, but $50 is $50, and it didn’t hurt at all, unlike if I had tried to look at my monthly budget and figure out where I could sacrifice to try and come up with $50 to throw into savings or put towards debt.
Yes, that is totally the piggy bank I made Phillip and I while we were dating.
Once I saw how easy it was to keep any loose change I came across, I heard of a fun idea where any time you came across a $5 you set it aside. It sounded almost like a game to me. And after seeing the results from saving my change I decided to give it a try. So anytime I received a $5 bill at the register I would immediately pull it out and set it in another portion of my wallet, and pretend it was no longer there. Now unlike the loose change, I did feel this one a bit in our day to day finances. But it didn’t take long to adjust to at all. And before I knew it I had an easy $75 just hanging out in my wallet after just a few short weeks.
The other way we’ve been saving money without really trying takes a little more effort, but that’s through Ibotta on my phone. I don’t know why, but for some reason, Ibotta was one of those apps that I heard about from everyone, I even downloaded it, but for some reason never really cared to give it a try. That was until I realized I got $10 just for starting it. Free $10? Sure I’ll give it another shot. And, I’m really glad I did. For those that haven’t heard of it before, Ibotta is an app you can use on your phone that gives you rebates for certain qualifying purchases you make. Most commonly it’s used for grocery shopping. And every time I make a grocery store run (big or small) I login to check and see if any of my purchases qualify for rebates. I like to wait till after I shop just because I don’t want to be tempted to buy something I didn’t need just for the sake of the rebate. Again, it’s not a huge money maker, but every little bit helps.
Those are my favorite three ways to save up money on the side but be certain there are plenty of other strategies out there. Ebates is a popular rebate site that I’ve recently started playing with. But I have heard from plenty of friends that have had great success with it. Also, Swagbucks keeps popping up. Like Ibotta, I checked Swagbucks out and kind of blew it off because the site overwhelmed me. But I think it’s worth giving another shot too. I’ll let you know if my tune ends up changing on that one.
What’s really funny is each of these tricks began to feel less like a burden and more like a game. I would get so excited every time I knew I would get $5 back, or whenever I saw my purchase qualify on Ibotta! It was an instant success!
And even though individually it wasn’t making us tons of money it was helping us stay on track. Because when you’re living on a tight budget every little bit helps. And by saving money on the side we were able to tackle debt and stay on track with savings which was such a rewarding feeling. It was just further proof to us that even though financially things were tight, it was still possible to reach and maintain our financial goals!
So what about you? What are some of your favorite ways to save money on the side? Have you tried some tricks that you’ve had great success with? Let’s hear about them!