How To Pinch Pennies When You’re Short On Cash

So you’ve cut cable and watch Netflix. You rent books from the library for entertainment. You even pack your lunch faithfully five times a week.

But somehow, you still have to pinch pennies.

Unexpected bills, a change in income; there are so many variables that can jolt your finances! Sometimes this means emptying your emergency fund or changing your lifestyle to fit your financial needs.

Related reading:

How to pinch pennies

Here is a list of small things you can do to save money. While these changes will not be substantial, there will still be savings!

Ask for a payment plan

If you are struggling to pay a bill, regardless of the size, ask the billing department for a payment plan.

How To Pinch Pennies On a Budget
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Most companies want your business and will work with you.

If you get a customer service representative that is not helpful, call back and speak to someone else.

Your bills are important and you deserve good customer service.

This is a quick way to reduce your bill and can really help you save.

Review your car insurance

Review your car insurance to see if you can raise the deductible.

This could help lower your car insurance rate. If you have already done this, consider dropping comprehensive if your car is older or if you don’t drive very often.

Check for add on’s, such as roadside assistance or rental reimbursement.

If you are paying for these, consider dropping them temporarily. Once you are in a better financial situation, you can always revert back to your original policy. Don’t forget, this is just temporary.

Opt for delivery instead of driving

Spending too much gas running errands? Consider ordering your purchases online.

Most companies provide free shipping on orders. Many companies, such as grocery stores, Target, Walmart and Amazon now have free delivery. Reducing your driving can help save fuel.

Scrounge up everything in your pantry

Before you make that grocery list, consider emptying out your pantry. Get creative!

Throw some ingredients in a crock pot, make a casserole or look for dinner ideas online.

If you can stretch your pantry items a few days, you are saving money by not purchasing new groceries. This is one of the best way you can pinch pennies and not be wasteful.

Sell your stuff for a quick buck

Amazon, eBay and LetGo are great outlets to get rid of your stuff.

Do a quick price search to see what similar items are priced at and sell yours for less if you need a quick sale.

It’s often much more profitable to sell items through these revenues than a traditional garage sale.

I hope these give you some ideas to save money when you are in a jam. Just remember that your situation is temporary and these small savings will help your wallet.

Start saving, even if it’s only a few dollars a week

Money is tight. If you’re like most people and struggle with saving, you should consider using Digit.

Digit lets you save money each week from your checking account. What I really like about Digit is that it analyzes my bank account and determines how much I can really save per week.

Some weeks it might be $5 and other times it might be $10. You don’t have to worry about overdraft and can contribute less or more if you need to. As of now, I don’t know an easier way to save money!

You can learn more about Digit here.

What have you done to pinch pennies?

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  1. Unfortunately, lately even pinching pennies, I’m still short on cash. I’ve done all of the above, and the plain and simple truth is that I just need to earn more money.

    A few additional things I do when I really need to stretch my pennies include:
    * mix chopped carrots and cooked rice into my dog’s regular food if we are low on dog food
    * do online data entry via Virtual Bee in my spare time (doesn’t pay much, but I average one or two full tanks of gas per month from it)
    * spend a little extra time working on marketing and tweaking my Etsy shop (usually results in a few extra sales)
    * take a look at my neighborhood/town private Facebook yard/garage/anything goes group to see what services people want to hire for
    * offer to dog sit or babysit for friends or coworkers
    * put up a Facebook status that I’m available for certain types of work and asking friends to send me referrals if they know of anyone seeking such services (I got all but one of my freelance writing clients that way for the past three years!)
    * look online for tutoring jobs (I have a profile on Wyzant, but I also search Craigslist regularly for tutoring gigs)

  2. I order most things online. Easy price comparisons and it saves me energy (a big deal with chronic fatigue) driving around to get stuff in person. But added bonus: cash back shopping. It’s a great way to shave a few extra bucks off your purchases.

    1. I love to shop online and try to as much as possible for the points or cash back 🙂 I will also order online and do free store pick up since I work near a bunch of retail shops that I can get to on my lunch break.

  3. I love getting creative with cooking and meal planning and I make it a habit to maintain a stocked pantry because it comes in handy. I also penny pinch by having no spend weeks from time to time. I’m finishing up one this week and it’s been pretty nice not having to spend money on something every single day.

    1. It’s so nice when I go a few days or a week not spending money!

  4. Shopping the pantry is one way I’ve also done some penny-pinching. I’ve also gotten pretty good at making certain pricier ingredients like meat stretch in the process; I usually make casserole at least once a week (and use considerably less meat than called for in recipes!). Great tips, Kristin!

    1. I have definitely cut down on how many times I eat meat a week. Casseroles are a great idea and something I get nervous making – I have no idea why. I might be tempted to make one next week!

    1. My home insurance is pretty good, so I can’t complain. I think I complain more about my car insurance, mostly because I don’t do a ton of driving!

  5. Great tips! I love pulling together random items from my pantry to “make it work” until I go grocery shopping next. Even when I go into it thinking I wouldn’t have enough items to put together a decent meal, I surprise myself and end up making something pretty delicious as a result! It’s fun to get a bit creative while saving money too.

    1. It’s funny how we can find pantry items to “make it work”! I’m always surprised that I can scrounge up a meal or two when I’ve already convinced myself that I’ll starve if I don’t go grocery shopping.

  6. I agree with Holly on that one. If I need immediate cash I almost always look for stuff to sell. Or I flat out ask friends if they need help with anything, like dog sitting, cleaning, etc.

    1. Good point to ask around if people need help! I have thought about putting up a flyer in my building for pet sitting services. There are like 400 units in my building and most have pets. I don’t know why I haven’t done this yet!

      1. I wish my apartment complex had a bulletin board or something where I could post an ad for dog sitting, baby sitting, or tutoring. I wonder if people would be bothered if I just made business cards and gave them out when I see them walking their dogs… I should mention to a couple of neighbors that I’m available and ask them to spread the word.

        1. My neighborhood has flyers up on telephone poles in popular areas where people walk their dogs. Maybe try that? Or is there a local coffee shop or hang out spot you could make a flyer? I like that you are thinking so proactively!

  7. My penny-pinching has almost always come from selling stuff. It seems like I always have something around here that I am not using!

    1. Agreed! Even when I think I have already gotten rid of a bunch of stuff, I always find more!

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