20 Ways to Save Money During Tough Times

Saving money in tough times

Times are tough for a lot of people right now. Many people are feeling the pinch due to a loss of job or reduced income.

What’s the solution to this? It’s not always possible to work more.

Sometimes it’s easier to cut costs than earn more money (as one of our followers on Instagram said).

So, how can you downsize your budget to survive the loss of income?

When I asked Richard his opinion on how to save money, his reply was simple:

Don’t spend.

That’s it.

Bottom line: Be frugal. Cut costs.

But let’s break that down a bit and make it practical. Here’s how to be frugal and cut costs:

1. Make a list of needs vs. wants

 Identify what your non-essentials are. Meet your needs first and then you can look at your “wants” list. Necessities are what you need to survive: food, shelter, electricity, clothes, transportation, insurance (and even that’s debatable).

2. Cut back on non-essentials

Get a cheaper phone plan. Cancel automatic subscriptions and memberships like Netflix, Spotify, or a gym membership. Use less air conditioning if you can.

3. Keep a list of things you want

But don’t buy them right away. Wait at least 24 hours to 3 days. I often leave things on my list for a few weeks – and sometimes the “need” to get it goes away. If you still want or need the item after 24 hours, or 3 days, or 2 weeks, then consider buying it. (Sometimes you don’t have the luxury of waiting – make your decision carefully based on your budget and need.)

4. Budget

First you’ll have to track your spending so you can see where your money is going. Write down every bit you spend – you’ll be surprised how money trickles through small holes. Then create your budget and stick to it. Get a budgeting app on your phone to help you.

5. Don’t shop when you’re hungry

Have you tried this? I’ve seen it over and over – when I shop when I’m hungry I come out with all sorts of things that weren’t on my list! You’ll buy unnecessary items if your stomach’s growling, so eat first, then shop.

6. Shop like a man

Make a list, go in, get only what’s on the list, and get out.  

7. Stockpile goods on sale

If you can afford the bulk purchase it does save money in the long run.

8. Check price labels for cost per unit of weight

The larger container is often less expensive in the long run – but not always. This was always my kids’ job when they came shopping with me.

9. Drink water instead of juice

It’s free (mostly) and better for you anyway.

10. Stop eating out

We all know the cost of one meal could feed your entire family for at least a day, if not a few days.

11. Plan meals in advance

Planning eliminates wastage. You’ll use what’s in your fridge and throw less away. Use your leftovers instead of leaving them in the fridge for a week and then throwing them out.  

12. Cook from scratch

Don’t buy ready-made food like frozen pizzas or pies. They’re always more expensive. This includes frozen vegetables.

13. Pack a lunch

It may seem old-fashioned to take your own food to work or school, but buying lunch every day works out pretty expensive.  

14. Simplify what you eat

Live on rice and beans if you have to. Cut out processed, packaged food.

15. Grow your own food

One packet of lettuce seeds costs slightly more than one lettuce in the shop. It’s a no-brainer. If you don’t have garden space, grow veggies in pots.

16. Wear clothes more than once

Some people throw clothes in the wash everyday, even if they’ve only worn them for a short time. I have a relative who uses a clean towel every single night. Save on laundry soap and electricity by washing your clothes less.

17. Learn to cut your family’s hair

The results may be a bit scary at first, but with practice you can get it right (hello YouTube!). Or, switch with a friend who can cut hair, and you give them veggies out your garden or baby-sit their kids. 

18. Reduce electricity use

Switch off lights when you’re not in the room. Unplug appliances that are not in constant use like chargers. Have fun and cook over a fire every so often.

19. Make your own home cleaning products

This may take a bit of research and time, but could save on expenses in the long run.

20. Cut transportation costs

Join a carpool to reduce transportation costs. Buy a cheaper car or get one that uses less fuel.

Some of these tips may sound drastic, but if you’re in a financial pickle you need to make tough decisions to survive. Struggling together and making a plan to survive is very bonding for a family. Get your kids involved and make it a family project.  

What do you do to save on expenses when times are tough? Leave a comment below.

About The Author

Jennifer Lovemore

Jennifer has three grown kids and is married to her best friend, Richard. She started this website as a platform to help families, and specifically women, to take control of their lives and grow themselves spiritually, mentally & emotionally, and to discover their God-given purpose and live it out with confidence. She is a trained Life Coach and has diplomas in relationship counselling and CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy). She is a certified SYMBIS (Save Your Marriage Before It Starts) facilitator. She lives in sunny South Africa.


  1. Tania | 20th Nov 20

    Thank you for this article on 20 Ways to Save Money During Tough Times
    God Bless you

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