Last Updated 5 months by Emily Standley-Allard
Whether the USA is in a recession or not, it’s obvious the cost of goods and services are rising faster than what the average individual earns. Finding ways to save money when feeling broke is a skill that anyone can learn. Saving money takes tweaking a few changes in your lifestyle but can make all the difference moving ahead to pad your future security. Take time to read the following list of 50 easy ways to save money when broke and you’ll be surprised at how much money you can save over the course of a year by doing so.
Starting this blog while working helped me turn my side hustle into a full-time career that pays me more and more importantly offers more flexibility than I could ever have from a 9-6 job.
Learning the right strategies, you can do the same. Don’t get me wrong, it takes a lot of hard work in the beginning.
While the blog was growing and gaining an audience, money was super tight, I was a single mom, and I had to learn multiple ways to pinch the pennies to stay on top.
Here’s some of the methods I learned to save money when I felt broke.
50 Easy Ways to Save More Money
Use Groupon and Coupons
I know this sounds like an obvious one, but many people know about it but not a lot put it into practice.
I love using Groupon to save money on local merchants, automotive services, goods, entertainment, travel and more. I can really stretch my dollars out with it and find some great deals I wouldn’t have otherwise.
Coupons from The Krazy Coupon Lady and others work with major stores, brands and provide you with the best online coupons and deals.
21 Best Coupon Sites to Save Money
Join Wholesale Clubs
It really does pays to be a member at a wholesale club like Sam’s club, Costco, Big Lots, or BJs especially if you have a family to support.
You get instant savings when you buy fresh groceries, home goods, pet products and bulk wholesale items.
It helps if you have the space to freeze and store items in bulk, so you can store up for main items for a month (or more) and not go shopping too often.
Never, ever go grocery shopping when you’re hungry it just makes you HANGRY and buy impulsively.
Make sure when shopping with little ones’ their tummies are already full and/or bring along some tasty/healthy snacks for them.
Emotional shopping will totally destroy your budget.
Stock up on items that you use the most and when they’re on sale, i.e., chicken, ground turkey, favorite cereals, soups, pastas, beans, grains, oatmeal, peanut butter, etc.
Which Wholesale Club is Right for You?
Plan Meals Ahead of Time
We all want to simplify meal planning. Whether on a budget or not.
I can’t stress enough how much money and time; planning meals ahead will save you money in the long run. A crock pot, instapot or slow cooker can help.
Crockpot freezer meals help you stay on budget and stock your freezer. The easy dump & go recipes are also a perfect for busy school nights.
Here’s 30 crockpot freezer meals from Mommy’s Fabulous Finds.
Getting into the groove of planning ahead can be a life change especially if you’re used to winging it. But without planning ahead of time you’re much more likely to grab something on the go on impulse, and then some and spend 3x the amount.
If you can’t meal plan ahead at least go with some kind of list and make sure you stick to it.
Get the $5 Meal Plan Here
Bank to Save
Chose the right bank so that you don’t pay any extra fees and if you invest use a discount brokerage (like Charles Schwab or Robinhood) that minimizes any trading expenses/fees will help save money when you’re feeling broke.
In addition to reducing trading fees, I keep our ETF/mutual fund management expense ratios (MER) as low as possible by using indexed ETFs/mutual funds.
If you’re new to online investing Robinhood is an easy program to get started with that doesn’t charge any brokerage fees whatsoever to make online stock trades.
Watch out for any hidden fees that your bank may be charging you. For instance, Bank of America will charge you $12.00 a month if you don’t have direct deposit.
Go to bankrate.com to research the lowest rates in your area or online.
Use online banking
By using online banking, you can reduce costs associated with traditional banking services.
For instance, you can avoid paper check fees, save on postage and mailing expenses, and reduce the need for manual record-keeping, which can benefit your cost-saving efforts.
Consider online banking solutions like Evolve Bank and Trust for additional benefits such as convenience, enhanced security, and efficiency.
The Best Money Saving, Crypto & Investing Apps
11 Best Discount Brokers of January 2023 – NerdWallet
Comparison Shop to Save
When buying consumer items, always try to separate your “needs” from your “wants”.
If you see something you really want at the time, wait and add it to your wish list for later. Then go back to it and see if it still holds as much value. You may be surprised.
When I find something that I “need”, I do comparison shopping or wait until it goes on sale.
If I find the item online, I check Ebates or Coupons.com for money saving or additional cash back opportunities.
Quit the Gym
Yeah, sorry but the gym subscription you’re paying monthly for isn’t going to get you those 6 pack abs you’ve been looking for year after year.
It will cost you though.
On average, it costs $50.03 a month for a gym membership, or $600.41 per year. This includes the initial joining fees, annual renewal fees, taxes and monthly membership fees for 18 of the most popular gyms.
Or lots more if you hire a personal trainer because you can’t make yourself do it yourself.
For the cost of zero you can set up a free fitness app, track your progress, your diet and even get personal attention.
Remember! Abs were made in the kitchen not in the gym;)
The 9 Best Free Fitness Apps – Boomfit
Shop for Inexpensive Health Insurance
Your health is everything and healthcare in the USA can bankrupt you.
Medicaid is the cheapest form of health insurance, but if you don’t qualify, many other options are available.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) established tax subsidies to fund plans through the Health Insurance Marketplace.
The Best Affordable Health Insurance Companies | Affordable Health Insurance
Word to the wise – you will likely get bombarded with robo calls as I did when signing up on multiple platforms.
If you’re 50+ or have someone in your family, who is I recommend going on AARP.com for the best resources to save money on healthcare, electronics, travel, lifestyle and more.
Save on Entertainment
Cut the cable cord! At almost $200 a month it’s not worth it.
I always try to watch movies at home on roku (or use Netflix – $9.99 – $12.99 a month) Update! I recently canceled Netflix since they raised their rates and put an end to sharing passwords with family and friends. Boo.
I never go to the movie theatre. Popcorn for $15? No thank you.
However, if you insist upon still occasionally enjoying the theater, only go when they offer a half price movie day. And bring your own snacks.
Sign up for your local theaters reward plan and you can earn free movies and snacks that way.
Watch basic cable instead of the fancy cable packages. Do we really watch all those channels?
Combine your cable/internet/telephone with the same provider like At&t, Comcast or Frontier to take advantage of the discounts available.
Or simply use roku, Netflix ($9.99 monthly) or an internet-based program through Amazon.
YouTube TV costs $64.99 a month and comes with a 14-day free trial.
Over the years, the subscription price of YouTube TV has increased significantly.
But if you compare it to other TV streaming services, the prices are pretty similar. There’s also YouTube premium which is $11.99.
With a trial, you get access to over 85 channels offered in the Base Plan during your trial period.
Save Money with a Cheaper Cell Phone Plan
Depending on your budget, lifestyle and preferred service provider, you may be able to save big money on your cell phone bill.
If you’re willing to switch providers, there are cheap phone plans starting as low as $10 a month!
Best Cell Phone Plans in 2023: The Cheapest Plan for Every Need (clark.com)
Save on Large Purchases
If you must make a big purchase, like a home mortgage or a vehicle, make sure you negotiate and shop around for the very best rates.
This will save you literally thousands in the long run.
When purchasing a home, save for a large down payment to reduce mortgage insurance fees. That is a huge waste of money!
Never buy a car new as it will depreciate the moment you take it off the lot.
Here are the 25 most affordable places to live in the USA in 2023 according to real estate us news.
With the price of gas still high, drive with gas efficiency in mind by trying to plan the shortest trips accordingly.
If your kids need lots of rides to various places set up a carpool plan and share driving duties.
To save money on car rentals, watch the fluctuating prices on Expedia and when a low price shows up, bid slightly lower on Priceline.
The 12 Best Websites for Booking the Cheapest Flights
Save Money When Broke – Get a Side Hustle
Even if it’s only an extra $500 a month, a side hustle can add to your financial security by increasing your income.
You also have the potential to save more money, and make a lot more per month, making it easier to pay off debts, and just generally breathe a little easier when you make your budget.
I have a host of multiple resources recommending high paying side hustles you can do in your spare time or full time.
20 Side Hustles That Pay the Rent
10 Best Places to Travel on a Budget (nomadicmatt.com)
54 Ways to Manage Money as a College Student
100+ Creative Ways to Make Money On and Offline
How to Make Money Buying and ReSelling Online
100 Websites That Pay Writers Big Money to Write
Ultimate List of Money Making and Saving Hacks
More tips to save the money
“Turn off the lights!” How many times have you heard that yelled growing up? Well, now you know. Electricity is expensive and only going up.
You can save energy around the house with programmable thermostats and proper insulation.
Get an assessment of your energy expenditures from your local power company. They usually provide them free of charge.
Turn off the lights, appliances, electronics etc… when not in use!
Perhaps invest in solar energy if you’re in an area where it will save on your energy bill considerably.
Do laundry once per week (that’s almost impossible if you have a lot of young kids but try to be as efficient as possible.
Limit showers/baths and the time spent in them. That water bill is costly and hot showers can wreck havoc on your bathroom structure.
Brown Bag It!
Buy cheap, re-usable eco-friendly storage containers rather than disposable plastic ones.
Prepare lunches in bulk and store them in individual plastic/glass containers.
Save eating out only for special occasions and eat at home whenever possible.
Skip Starbucks! Perk your own coffee (or drink the free coffee at work).
You could be socking away $65-$100 per month, depending on what you order by eliminating that daily expensive Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts order.
Quit Smoking (vaping)
At almost $10 a pack for cigarettes – aside from the health risks, isn’t it worth thinking about quitting? Same for vaping.
Many of us turn to alcohol at times for stress relief but more and more studies it’s proving otherwise.
According to the CDC over time, excessive alcohol use can lead to the development of chronic diseases and other serious problems including High blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver disease, and digestive problems. Cancer of the breast, mouth, throat, esophagus, voice box, liver, colon, and rectum.
In 2023 excessive alcohol isn’t cool anymore. There are some fantastic mock cocktails you can make that give you the illusion you’re drinking and let other people think that as well, so they don’t question your decision.
20+ Best Mocktails and Non-Alcoholic Mixed Drinks | Recipes, Dinners and Easy Meal Ideas | Food Network
Not only that, but alcohol is also expensive.
If you can’t do without your weekend Cabernet at least shop at a discount store or a company that provides great deals on ‘subscription’ wine deals if you want good wine for a lower price.
Purchase Term Life Insurance
Term life insurance is much more affordable than universal life or whole life insurance.
Shop around for the lowest rates.
You may want to pay a higher deductible on insurance products to reduce the premiums. Buy with quality in mind with the expectation that it will last a long time.
Never Buy New Books
Get your favorite reads from the library, purchase from Amazon or Amazon Kindle, borrow from a friend, go to a tag sale, buy off ebay or get used Textbooks online.
Never purchase magazine or newspaper subscriptions.
End Digital Subscriptions
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen charges on my credit card for digital purchases I never made or didn’t mean to sign up for.
Somehow, it’s so easy for companies and even publications to sign you up and keep charging you over and over for monthly subscriptions you just don’t need or want any longer.
Keep track of these in your credit card statements, Google subscriptions account, Apple, Android and on your computer.
These charges at $15 or $20 per month can really add up!
Cancel, pause, or change a subscription on Google Play – Android – Google Play Help
Buy Clothes Second Hand
Your teenager might not like this especially if they are growing up in an affluent neighborhood as we did but who cares?
High fashion is expensive, and no one needs a mass marketed $40 or $60 bra from Victoria’s Secret.
Purchase clothes when they wear out, not when they go out of style.
You don’t have to keep up with the latest trends because they always come back anyway. Dress your clothes up with pretty and inexpensive accessories.
If you must buy the latest fashions try purchasing second hand from a site like Poshmark.com, Swap.com, Facebook marketplace or even your local tag store or Goodwill.
You will be amazed at what wealthy people are practically giving away for a song!
Swap.com. sells gently used designer clothing for up to 95% off retail prices! The clothes must be in excellent condition and some of them are even brand new.
You can ship your clothes, toys, boots to Swap.com and make a little money back for yourself. (Provided the items are in very good/excellent condition) They even send you a Fedex label or you can print it out, it’s super easy.
Sell Your Stuff
17 Apps to Sell Anything for Quick Cash
These selling apps have some amazing designer fashions and products that are sometimes new or practically like new!
You can sell items there too like gadgets, electronics and cell phones and make extra money.
Track Your Spending
This is crucial because if you don’t know where your money is going how can you plan a successful strategy to save?
Tracking your spending or creating a budget is simple with Excel or Mint.com (I recommend not connecting your bank account, only credit cards).
A personal budget planner also helps me plan everything and has fun stickers to stay on track!
When your income increases or you get a bonus, aim to keep lifestyle inflation at bay.
Basically, bank whatever extra money you have or add it to pay off any debt you have.
16 Awesome Money Saving & Investing Apps
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How Content Creators Make Money with Facebook Reels
The 14 Best Things to Collect for Future Investment
How to Save Money on Food and Gifts
Start an Indoor or Outdoor Garden
Grow your own vegetables and herbs.
After all, one green pepper in the grocery store in some places is $2.99 today.
If you don’t have enough space to start a garden, do it in your window.
A window herb garden can save you from buying expensive bottled herbs for cooking. And you know they’re organic.
Think about becoming a vegetarian.
Vegetables are very affordable compared to meat or poultry products.
Never mind they are super healthy for you! Mix your veggies with a protein such as; brown rice, cous cous, quinoa, lentils, beans, avocados, sweet potatoes and more.
Stay away from fast food items.
I know they have $1 special menu items but they’re poor for your health and will cost you more in medical bills in the long run.
If you have a baby, breast milk is still the best thing for baby’s brain development rather than formula.
If you can afford it save money on daycare.
If at all possible, it’s ideal if one parent or a trusted relative stay home with baby rather than opting for daycare.
Daycare is expensive, there’s all sorts of viruses and other bugs your child can pick up and you practically have to earn twice as much as a daycare charges to be able to afford it.
If you must send your baby to daycare look into a quality home daycare that has a small number of children and doesn’t charge as much.
Or perhaps even start your own.
Puree your own version of nutritious baby food.
Those baby foods present in the market have other chemicals added into it which may not be as good or healthy for your child.
You can puree ahead of time and freeze in ice cube trays.
Switch babysitting services with a couple in your neighborhood so you won’t have to pay extra for someone to look after your child.
Sitters nowadays cost somewhere in the range of $15 per hour!
Try making homemade gifts rather than buying from stores. Everyone appreciates a homemade gift that comes from the heart.
Instead of eating out bring your family or friends to the park, the beach and have a homemade picnic there.
Avoid Expensive Beauty Treatments
I know the idea of pampering yourself is nice at times and we all love it.
Instead ask your loved one for a gift certificate to your favorite spa instead.
Beauty, spa and salon treatments cost an arm and a leg.
You can spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars a month on nails, hair, eyelashes, massages, mud treatments, cosmetic procedures and more!
It’s not worth the dent in your budget.
Skip the spa and beauty salon treatments. Become a beauty DIY expert from YouTube and TikTok videos!
You can also make your own shampoo, skin creams, scrubs and body lotions.
Start Working Remotely
There are more companies around the world hiring remote workers than ever before.
This list of sites will connect you with places that hire legitimate remote workers for all types of positions with different forms of experience from Admins to financial consultants, writers, content creators, graphic designers, engineers, transcriptionists, programmers, web developers and many more!
Read this post for companies looking to hire people to work remotely:
Earn Bonus Rewards
Use your cash back or travel rewards from credit cards for purchases like gas, groceries etc. Use the rewards to pay off a balance.
Be an Usher at Concerts
Love music concerts, festivals or the theater? Be an usher at these events in order to get free special pass and save money.
Shop Online Instead of In Person
Shopping online allows you more control of what you want to buy. Even though there are still temptations there’s not as many as when being in a physical store.
When you do shop online always use a cash back site like Ebates to get cash back on every purchase automatically!
If you are someone who likes to give greeting cards, then buy a package of blank notes, or print your own and write your own messages.
Hallmark cards are $6 – $12.00 today for one card!
Free E cards are great too. It’s the thought that counts. There are tons of ways to personalize them special!
I love JibJab free eCards they’re free, hysterical and everyone gets a great laugh!
This is just a short list of ways you can save money which I hope can bring more financial freedom, less stress and help pay off your debts when you’re feeling broke.
What are some of the ways that you save money? Do you follow a frugal lifestyle? Please comment like and share this post on social! 🙂
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