My 4 Top Tricks For Saving Money Every Week Even When You Are Broke

Living on a shoestring budget is tough and not fun. Especially when you are so broke that you can barely pay your bills and buy groceries. Saving money seems impossible when you are barely getting by as it is.

That used to be us.  We were living paycheck to paycheck wondering how to save money when we were broke.

And guess what? I did stumble on some truly simple ways to save money even being as broke as we felt at the time.

These simple money-saving tips do not involve coupons or money-saving apps and have never made me rich. But they sure helped me stretch my budget as far as it could.

We were able to make ends meet and get through really stressful times while paying bills and keeping food on the table. And though our finances have definitely improved, I still use these tricks to help save money every month.

These are things that worked for me. And though my hope is that anyone looking for ways to save money on a tight budget will find something here that may work for them, I understand what worked for me may not work for others.

1. Always, ALWAYS, Put One Item in Your Shopping Cart Back on The Shelf  

You will save money using this trick at the grocery store, plus I can just about guarantee you will smile as you leave the store - because you know you just saved some money (and don't worry too much about how much you saved, just enjoy knowing you did!)

Make it a habit, and do it every shopping trip.

When you get home, put the money in an envelope and save it.

I could almost always find one thing to put back. I was that motivated to save any money I could! Try this trick. I think you will love it!

2. Only Take The Minimum Amount of Money You Need To The Grocery Store

If you are on a super tight budget, you may be doing this already. And if you are on an 'okay kind of a budget,' still try this money-saving trick. You will save money, I promise.

My biggest downfall bar none when I go grocery shopping is having extra money in my wallet. I will ALWAYS spend more than I should - if I have extra money in my wallet. Rationalizing buying something like ice cream for the kids ( or something else NOT on my grocery list) was too easy for me to do.

I realized that I could only take the bare minimum amount of money I needed for that day's grocery store trip. No extra money means no extra spending which means staying on budget - even if it was not fun.

I would be sad that I could not buy ice cream for my kids because I did not have that extra $3.50 in my purse, for example. (want vs. need is not fun, period.)

But the next day I had my budgeted amount for that day's expenses intact when I could have easily used some of it at the grocery store the day before.

At this point, you are probably wondering why on earth I went shopping every day instead of once a week.

Why not take my grocery budget for the week and just shop one time for that week?

Back then in those days of barely scraping by every week, I found more security by shopping day by day. It just worked for me.

Since we had such a strict budget to get by each week, I felt better knowing there was money available if something came up (which we know, always does.)

I reasoned that if needed, I could find ways to do without buying groceries the next day if I had to - or change the dinner menu to something that cost less.

This method gave me security and worked well for me, but that is just me.

3. Separate Your Money for The Week as Soon as You Are Paid

This is like the tried and true envelope system that is so popular. And it is popular because if you stick to it, it works.

We deducted how much money we needed to pay the bills that week. For us, paychecks were every week at the time. So it was easy for us to divide the remaining money by 7 days. Then we knew exactly how much we could spend each day to make it through that week, including groceries and gas for the car.

The money for each day went into an envelope with the day of the week written on the front.

And you know that typical how to save money advice - ALWAYS pay yourself first when payday rolls around?

That just did not work for us back in those days. Nope, the typical advice did not fit our financial situation.

Just trying to figure out how to stretch the money to pay bills, put gas in our cars to get to work, and buy groceries took all the money usually, and left none to stash away in our savings account.

But by sorting out how much I could spend each day on groceries, and using these money-saving tricks, I found ways to save money after all.

4. Try to Spend LESS than Your Daily Grocery Budget.

When I went grocery shopping, I tried my best to spend at least $5 less than my budgeted amount. And that is on top of the 'put an item back' money I would save. (so if I spent $15 instead of the $20 I had in my wallet, plus put one item that was in my cart back on the shelf, I saved even more money on that trip.)

To be totally honest, sometimes I could do this trick, other days I just couldn't find a way to spend less than what I had budgeted for on that shopping trip.

Doing both of these tricks is a sure way to save money! Not a lot, but every penny saved, right? Plus, when I did these things every day, even that little bit can quickly add up! (Just make sure to SAVE the money.)

Kind of like taking the long way around to building our savings. But it worked. It really did help us save money!

Saving money while living paycheck to paycheck is tough. There is no way around it. But it is possible.

Our journey to getting our finances in shape took longer than we hoped. But we did it. And even though our situation has improved, I still use these little money-saving tricks when I do my grocery shopping.

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