8 Ways to Save Money {to fund a trip, pay down debt, or buy a large purchase!}

A few years ago I needed to find quick ways to save money on a tight budget.  I had a dream, to go see the Colorado mountains, and I wanted to take my family there without going into debt.  Our annual income was less than $40,000 at the time.  I could have easily let that discourage me, but my travelling heart decided I was going to do all that I can to make my dream a reality.  So I asked myself one question when I was trying to figure out how to come up with the money for our trip:  “How can I save money with a low income?”

ways to save money

I spent less than 8 months saving every penny I could.  And $2400 dollars later, we were able to make our dream a reality.  We drove the 40 hours out to Colorado with camping gear packed in the back of the van.  We drove all over Colorado, from Colorado Springs, to Ouray and Silverton, and everywhere in between.  We drove the Million Dollar Highway which is the most beautiful drive you ever only want to do once since you are a sneeze away from the edge of the mountains! 🙂


Some weeks were harder than others to save money leading up to our trip. Learning how to save money each month had its challenges. I had to be the stick-in-the-mud friend that was constantly saying no to outings.  But let me tell you, I don’t regret it for one second.  Our trip was worth it all!

What about you? Do you have a trip you want to save for? What about some debt you want to aggressively pay down? Or maybe you have dreams of renovating your kitchen, or buying an ATV, or whatever else you may have your eye on?

Don’t go into debt for it.  You will sleep better at night if you can save first, being able to pay cash for your purchase with no interest charges!

If you are serious about saving a large sum of money, it isn’t going to be easy.  There will be a lot of saying no.  But it will feel so amazing when you reach your goal! Have ever wondered to yourself, “how can I save money with a low income?” If so, keep reading for tips on how to control spending.


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No eating out.  Like, at all.  No sit down restaurants, no fast food, no coffee in the drive thru.  Make a goal to not eat out even once for 3 months.  Too large of  goal? How about 1 month to start.  At the end of the first month add up how much you have saved.  It may be enough motivation to keep you going.  This is a great starting point of how to save money each month.

No hairdressers or salons. Haircuts for boys can be done at home with clippers.  Girls can trim their hair at home but otherwise let it grow while you are working towards your goal.  Nails, eyebrows, and any other procedures you get done at the salon are now on hold for the next few months.

No going out to expensive events with friends.  So, that means no concerts, no direct home sales parties, no paint nights or escape room events.  I know, I know.  you are probably considering closing this article right now.  But please remember, this is temporary.  It does not mean you can’t see your friends anymore.  It just means you need to be creative in how to have fun with them.  Invite them over to your house for coffee, go for a walk or picnic in the park, or have  bonfire at your house with them.  I know it can feel uncomfortable to be the friend that always says no to the fun, expensive events, but keep your eye on the goal.  For ideas on how to feel more comfortable, check out this post I wrote about How to be the Frugal Friend and not feel Awkward.

If you have a gym membership, cancel it.  Exercising at home is a great alternative.  I bought a $50 treadmill on an online yard sale site that I have had for years.  It is an older, simpler model but does the trick when it comes to exercising.  Look for used exercise equipment, go jogging outside, or check out exercise videos on youtube.  There’s also great apps you can download on your phone to help you get into shape.  My favorite app is Couch to 5k, an app that takes you from the couch to eventually being able to run 5 kilometers.

Learn to shop frugally when it comes to groceries.  So many expenses in our lives are fixed, but groceries aren’t.  There are so many ways to save in this area.  You may have to cut out the steak in your regular diet for a little while, but there are so many delicious meals to eat that are made with cheap ingredients.  Check out 10 ways to save at the Grocery Store and What to eat when you are Broke for tips to save on food.

Start a side hustle for some extra cash. This can be as simple as selling some of your belongings that you could get rid of but are still in great shape, or it can be something that is a little more consistent.  Check out this list of 17 Side Hustles.

Avoid going in stores, even BUDGET stores.  The minute you go into a store it gets that much harder to avoid buying something.  The dollar stores can be the worst.  We tell ourselves it’s just a few dollars, but over months those dollar add up.  Also, I don’t know about you, but I don’t know how many times I’ve went into the dollar store to pick up a thing or two and walked out having spent 30 dollars.  2 dollar store trips like that each month for 6 months is $360 dollars that can go towards your savings goal.

Do a spending freeze.  A spending freeze is where you don’t spend money on anything but necessities for however long you decide to do a spending freeze.  We tend to do one every year for the month of January, but we have done one as long as three months.  It’s amazing how much you can save in just one month by refusing to spend on anything but what you absolutely need.  I also recommend choosing to do a spending freeze in a time you know you have more of a chance of succeeding.  For example, we never do it in December around Christmas, or during birthday months.  This is a great project to do to learn how to control spending.  For some help on how to get you started, check out the post I wrote about doing a spending freeze.

Incorporating these 8 ways to save money in your life can help you reach your financial goals.  Pick a time frame – a month, three months, 6 months, and decide you are going to stick to saving money no matter what it takes. This is how you can save money on a low income. When it gets discouraging, remind yourself that the extreme saving is temporary, and write out your goals and reasons why you are doing it.  Put the goals some place you can see them every day.


Related:  10 Legitimate Ways to Make Money

2 thoughts on “8 Ways to Save Money {to fund a trip, pay down debt, or buy a large purchase!}”

  1. These are some good tips, unfortunately many people eat out way too much and never consider the amount of money they are blowing. They have become accustomed to it and don’t think anything of it, even though there is no reason for it and they cannot afford it.
    The home haircuts can be big money savers but you need to know your limitations. Hair clippers are power tools and some people are not to be trusted with them. I have seen some absolutely horrible haircuts that some women have given their sons, daughters and husbands. At my church one lady cut her daughters beautiful all one length hair and gave her too short bangs to the middle of her forehead that went from one ear to the other. I mean the front half of her head was a bowl cut and the back all one length. Her son had one side of his head shaved about an inch higher than the other and the neck line was uneven. Her husband also had an equally bad haircut. Instances like this give the diy home haircuts a bad reputation.
    Thankfully my husband is very meticulous and does extensive research before starting any project. He had a friend many years ago who was a hairdresser that gave him free haircuts decide one day that he should cut her hair for her so hers would be free as well. She gave him very detailed instructions on the sectioning, letting down each layer, trimming, etc. and the final result was actually quite good and he would give haircuts to other female friends. So he came pre-trained before I met him and had the proper tools. After three really bad haircuts for my boys at the barbershop, I said enough, I bought a set of wahl clippers, a cape, neck strips and decided I could do no worse that the barber, at least not pay for bad haircuts. I watched about 6 or 7 youtube videos with my then boyfriend and felt ready to put that knowledge into practice. I started with a larger number attachment to get the feel of the clippers without leaving my son bald. I got nervous, but my guy coached me on technique and then I told him to finish when it got to the point with the scissors and comb portion for the longer hair on top. For my older son I started and he told me he wanted my guy to finish his haircut as was very flustered. Both haircuts came out great and from that point, I advised my guy that it would be best for everyone if he just did them. And he has ever since. He stays focused when doing the haircuts, be it mine, my boys, my mom’s or one of my friends. So for our situation it was a success, and saves me hundreds a year, without the hassle of the salon, barbershop or the cost$. But the home haircuts do require research with tutorials, the proper tools and realistic expectations that not everyone is capable of doing them.

    1. Yes, it does take a little know how but I firmly believe anyone can learn most things. Watching some tutorials on how to do it are helpful. Thankfully, it is just hair and it always grows back! My husband is better at the Clippers than I am as well.:)

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