Making due with a small amount of money is what is meant when someone says they are “on a shoestring budget.” This expression is frequently used by persons starting a business, hosting an event, or travelling on a tight budget.

You know what it’s like to live on a tight budget if you’ve ever had to do it to make ends meet or just make sacrifices to save for a major buy.

I’ll go through a few suggestions for frugal living for the remainder of this book.

Guidelines For Living On A Limited Budget

Being on a tight budget isn’t always a terrible thing. Actually, it can teach you a lot about budgeting and help you get more frugal.

There are some suggestions to assist you make the most of your limited resources if you’re interested in living on a tight budget:

Start with a written budget.

Just because someone claims to be “living on a shoestring budget” doesn’t necessarily mean they are.

But here’s the thing: you need to start following a written budget if you want to get to the point where you can stop living on a tight budget.

The best and first action you can do to better your financial status is to start here.

Pay Off Your Credit Card Debt

One of the most frequent causes of people living on a tight budget is consumer debt.

The more debt you have, whether it be from credit cards, auto loans, student loans, or any other type of loan, the less of your salary you get to keep.

Instead, you distribute it and help others become wealthy.

If you wish to escape the bare-bones existence, you must pay off your consumer debt.

If you do, we advise employing the Debt Snowball approach.


mostly because it works very strangely! In reality, we were able to end our lifestyle of living paycheck to paycheck by using this debt repayment approach to pay off nearly $34K in consumer debt in just six months.

Countless tales of others who have enjoyed the same (or even greater) success have also been told to us.

Read our article on how to get out of debt quickly for additional information on the debt snowball strategy (Even On A Low Income).

Create an emergency fund.

The fact that people don’t have any emergency funds to fall back on in case of unforeseen expenses is another major factor in why people live on a tight budget.

Emergency expenses can be very expensive, whether it’s a trip to the emergency room, an unanticipated auto repair, or a busted pipe in your basement.

And if you don’t have enough funds to soften the shock, you can find yourself drowning in unmanageable debt.

Your emergency fund should ideally be sufficient to pay for six months’ worth of living expenses. However, if you’re just getting started, saving a couple of thousand dollars is a fantastic objective.

Reduce Fixed Expenses.

The easier your finances are while you’re attempting to live on a limited budget, the less recurrent expenses you have. The next best thing you can do after paying off your debt is to cut back on and eventually stop paying as many of your fixed costs.

Simple monthly payments at a fixed (or largely consistent) rate are what are referred to be fixed expenses.

For instance, monthly lawn care, streaming services, monthly pest control, and gym memberships are all examples of fixed expenses.

To be clear, I’m not advocating that you cut out all of your budget’s recurrent costs.

If you regularly go to the gym, you should probably keep your membership. On the other hand, you would be better off cancelling your gym membership if you just go there once a month.

Eliminating fixed expenses has a significant impact on your monthly margin because it extends beyond a single month. In contrast to one-time spending, if you can reduce regular expenses, you will have more money for the foreseeable future.

Consider this: for every $100 in fixed expenses you can cut, your financial margin grows by $1,200 annually. To put that into context, that is greater than our family’s four-person monthly food budget!

Start A Free (Or Low-Cost) Side Business

You’ll have more budget flexibility and be able to leave the low-income lifestyle sooner if you can figure out a means to earn extra money.

Starting a low-cost (or free) side business is one of the finest ways to achieve this.

You can establish a variety of side businesses for little or nothing at all. Among others, you might:

  • Become a freelancer (e.g., writing, photography, social media management, videography, graphic design, website development, etc.)
  • Create A Channel On YouTube
  • Create a blog and a podcast.
  • On Etsy, sell printables
  • Perform Manual Labor in Your CommunityGrab Another Job
  • Give lessons in music
  • Tutor
  • Create and market a course online
  • Craigslist furniture flipping
  • There are so many free side businesses you may start and expand in the modern digital age. You could potentially make your side business a full-time job if you put in the necessary effort, discipline, dedication, and consistency.

Conquer Your Spending Triggers, number six

According to my observations, there are four different categories of spending triggers: relationship, emotional, situational, and physical.

Anything from your favourite shopping establishment to the McDonald’s arches can act as a physical spending trigger.

Simply put, situational spending triggers are circumstances that increase your propensity to spend. For instance, golfing is one of my situational spending triggers.

I always find myself in a position where I need to purchase new golf balls because I lose so many of them.

When you’re anxious, online shopping can be a trigger for emotional spending, as can going out to happy hour after a challenging day at work.

Relational spending triggers are linked to the people in your life, as you would have guessed.

For instance, it’s simple to get sucked into the lifestyle of friends who go out to eat frequently and spend more money than you would otherwise.

Understanding which spending triggers cause you the most trouble is the first step to overcoming them. Once you know that, you may plan how to handle or prevent them.

Utilize Money-Saving Apps

You must make the most of your income’s savings while you’re living on a tight budget. Fortunately, you can do it with the aid of various apps.

Nowadays, there is an app for almost anything, from cashback applications like Rakuten, Dosh, and Upside to saving and investment apps like Acorns and Stash.

Ibotta and Checkout 51 are two apps that can help you save money at the grocery store. And if you want to locate the best airfare bargains, use Skyscanner to compare prices.

For a list of the money-saving apps we suggest, see our resources page.

How to Save Money on a Tight Budget
Being on a tight budget might make saving money challenging. But that does not imply that it cannot be done.

When money is tight, use these straightforward techniques to help you increase your savings:

Make Use Of A Zero-Based Budget

You must have a detailed plan for each dollar you earn if you want to save as much money as you can. We advise employing a zero-based budget to do this.

Simply said, a zero-based budget is a way to plan out every dollar of your revenue.

You start with your income, deduct the amount you want to give and save, and then budget your spending so that it fits within the remaining amount.

You may design a clear path to your financial goals, monitor your daily progress, and maintain acute financial awareness with the support of the specificity of a zero-based budget.

Spend Less and Save More

You should develop the practise of paying yourself first if you want to optimise your monthly savings. In other words, the first thing you should do after receiving a paycheck is transfer a certain amount of it to your savings account.

All that’s left to do is use your zero-based budget to determine how you’ll make do with the remaining funds.

I understand that this could appear a little archaic. However, if you prioritise saving over spending, you will achieve your financial objectives steadily (and predictably).

Put Consistency First

Living on a tight budget may be challenging, messy, and slow, like trudging through mud.

The secret is to maintain a singular emphasis on consistency. The more consistent you are, whether it’s setting aside a specific proportion of your monthly salary or recording your costs each day in your budget, the more success you’ll have.

Although this isn’t the most novel or exciting piece of advise, being consistent over time can really help you gain momentum and financial confidence!


Making due with less is necessary while living on a tight budget. It entails maximising every opportunity to save money in order to stretch your budget further. Even though it can be difficult, it is possible to enjoy life while living on a tight budget.

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