20 Ways to Save Money when Living Paycheck to Paycheck!

by Super Coupon Lady on March 7, 2013 · 54 comments


20 Ways to Save Money when Living Paycheck to Paycheck

Everyone has been in a position at some point in their life where they are living paycheck to paycheck. With rising food and gas costs, tuition costs, and rising taxes, it is getting harder and harder to make that weekly paycheck last. If an unexpected emergency comes up, like a broken furnace or leaky roof, you might find yourself set back even further. Living paycheck to paycheck can be scary, but believe it or not there are ways to get ahead. If you are looking for ways to live better between paychecks and and develop a safety cushion, read these tips for 20 ways to save money when living paycheck to paycheck!

You don’t need a huge income, or to starve yourself in order to save money between paychecks. Take a look at how simple it can be to get ahead. In fact, why not bring the whole family in on your plan and make it a family affair? There is strength in numbers and you can be an excellent support to each other and your long term goals.

20 Ways to save money when living paycheck to paycheck . . .

1.  Redefine wants and needs by making a clear list. Post this list where it is easily seen.
2.  Create a budget and stick to it, keeping long term goals in mind.
3.  Do you really need cable?! Or can you do with less cable?! Secrets to Lowering your Cable Bill and save that extra money!
4. You really can save lots of money on your phone bill. Here are some Quick Tips to Save Money on Your Phone Bill, make sure to put that extra money you save aside.
5. Use any extra time you have in your day to increase your income. Babysit, pick up a paper route, etc. Make sure to check out these Legitimate Earn Money from Home!
6. Start saving small amounts. Even $2, $5, $10 a month add up! If you break dollar bills, commit to putting any change you have leftover in a jar. This will really add up!
7. Teach yourself a new skill such as sewing, crafting or painting then try to make a little extra money off of it. Make money from your craft hobbies by selling them on Etsy (learn more HERE)
8. Save cans and recycle them when you need a few extra bucks or just to save a little extra cash.
9. Trade in DVDs or video games at a game exchange shop for cash to set aside as cushion.
10. Instead of giving away your children’s clothing, take it to a consignment shop or sell on Ebay (learn more HERE) and get some cash or a store credit.
11. Have extra room in your garage? Rent it out for extra income.
12. Use COUPONS to save money on your food budget. Make sure to read my New to Couponing Post HERE!
13. Save your tax return, don’t spend it! Make sure you are getting the post from your tax return. Make sure to check out my post on 5 Tax Savvy Tips: How to Get the Most Out of Your Tax Refund!
14. Line dry clothes if the weather permits.
15. Drink water instead of buying juice or soda.
16. Shop yard sales and thrift stores for every day items such as dishes and clothing. Why not also have your own Yard Sale!? Make it a success by first reading How to have a Successful Garage Sale!
17. Barter services with friends. Can you clean a home well? Offer to clean for them in exchange for a lawn mowing. Trade off babysitting each other kids, this will help you save money since you won’t have to pay a babysitter.
18. Sell your extra clutter on Craigslist or Ebay.
19. Grow a garden to get your produce.
20. Stay positive and faithful to yourself and your goals!

RELATED POST: 8 simple ways to scale back to save thousands

Suppose you chose just 10 of these tips and saved $5.00 with each one. That is $50.00! Do that each year, and you have saved $600.00! See how quickly the savings can add up? It is important to keep a positive mind set and not look at these tasks as troublesome or difficult, but an adventure that will take you to the pot of gold waiting for you at the end.

Stop living paycheck to paycheck and find the comfort and peace of mind you deserve. Pick a few of these tips and give them a try! As you get more comfortable, add a few more. Watch the savings add up and your quality of life improve. You just might be surprised how easy and rewarding it really is!

Want more?

Why not learn how to create a debt snowball?

Have you ever heard of a debt snowball? Here is how to create one and make your way to financial freedom.


  • A debt snowball is when you list out your debts and arrange them in order from smallest balance at the top to largest at the bottom.
  • Then focus on the debt at the top, putting as much as you can into it, even if it’s just $40-50 extra.
  • When that amount is paid off, you get to celebrate!
  • Then take the total amount you were paying (say $70 minimum payment plus the $50 extra for a total of $120) and add that to the minimum payment of the NEXT largest debt.
  • Continue this process, with your extra amount snowballing as you go along, until you pay off all your debts.

This can take anywhere from a few months to a few years, but just think how it is worth it!  Good luck!

Let us know what little things you do to save money! Leave a comment below! 

{ 53 comments… read them below or add one }

ConventionalDee March 9, 2013 at 1:01 pm

I am going through all of our bills and comparison shopping. I discovered that our internet provider had specials for faster service at half of what we are currently paying. By making one phone call I saved $300/year.

Visiting from the SITS Sharefest!


Stephanie @ Diary of a Debutante March 10, 2013 at 4:52 pm

Great tips! I need to jump on the coupon train. I have the Retail Me Not app, which is a step up for me, but I could definitely still be more diligent. Stopping by from the SITS Sharefest! Have a great Sunday 🙂



Cathy March 12, 2013 at 5:39 pm

Great tips! We cut out our cable bill completely last month! $85.00 savings! We have Hulu Plus for $7.99 a month and love it!

Happy SITSsharefest




Sam March 17, 2013 at 4:22 pm

Great tips! In regards to the debt snowball… its actually best to pay off the loan with the highest interest first rather than the largest loan.
Although it may feel more stressful to balance you can actually save yourself thousands of dollars. Things like student loans tend to have lower interest than personal lines of credit.


Aubrey August 21, 2013 at 7:00 pm

I totally agree! However, my husband’s student loan just so happens to be our loan with the highest interest rate (at 6.8%) and so that is the debt we are trying to pay off first. Can’t wait until we are debt free!


Debbie August 30, 2013 at 12:13 am

FYI if your husband had a government student loan, and z licence of any type, they will stop him from renewing his licence if he doesn’t pay the loan…. Found out the hard way…


Debbie August 30, 2013 at 12:14 am

FYI if your husband had a government student loan, and z licence of any type, they will stop him from renewing his licence if he doesn’t pay the loan…. Found out the hard way…


Debbie follman August 30, 2013 at 12:14 am

FYI if your husband had a government student loan, and z licence of any type, they will stop him from renewing his licence if he doesn’t pay the loan…. Found out the hard way…


Debbie follman August 30, 2013 at 12:15 am

FYI if your husband had a government student loan, and a licence of any type, they will stop him from renewing his licence if he doesn’t pay the loan…. Found out the hard way…


sarah March 19, 2013 at 1:03 pm

I guess living paycheck to paycheck means different things to different people. To me it means you don’t have money for things like big cable packages. We pay $10 a month for 12 channels (we use them for updated weather forecast during tornado season) We don’t have small amounts to save, by the end of the pay period we are lucky if our account is at 0 and not negative. We didn’t have cell phones, but now my husband and I each have a tracfone since he drives 30 miles to work and I drive 40 miles to school (and there are NO gas stations or stores in between those 40 miles so if my car broke down I would be in trouble without some way of communication.) We also work our scheadules around each other (hard since I am taking 17 credit hrs this semester and he works a full time job) because we have one car and we can’t afford daycare for our two kids. Ok sorry for the rant, my point is that I consider us lucky because we have a house (we own free and clear!) and our kids have never gone hungry. There are ALOT of things people think they need but can live without. Oh and a good tip I didn’t see on the list is to shop for clothes out of season. I get a lot of my clothes 75% off because I buy winter stuff in March when it is clearance and save it for next year, also with my kids I buy Walmart diapers (they leak less and even hold more than Huggies!) they are $20 for the same count box of the $40 name brand.


Super Coupon Lady March 24, 2013 at 6:30 pm

Wow Sarah, owning your home free & clear is a wonderful! Great tip about buying clothes off season!


Kristina March 21, 2013 at 9:28 pm

Can’t see a one of those I’m not already doing and like another poster it’s already beyond tight. I guess we just all have a different view of life and what would be difficult for one is just normal to another.


bet mma May 8, 2013 at 2:22 am

have to do very first? Most entrepreneurs are so overwhelmed
with their online business plans that


Jill June 3, 2013 at 9:18 am

My husband had to leave his job of 9 yrs due to stress on his health, so I went full time making $12/hr, but when he took a part time job, he took a $10 pay cut to start over somewhere new. Now we are living paycheck to paycheck with a mortgage that was almost foreclosed on because we can’t make the payments and keep up with the other bills. We have 2 children that I’m trying to keep enough food in the house to at least keep them fed and growing even if I cut back a bit. When I tried applying for some assistance, they said we made too much and then criticized my husband for not thinking things through on quitting his job. Now with trying to make ends meet, summer is upon us, I’m trying to help take care of my dad who has Alzheimer’s and my mom who is still getting back on her feet from a hip replacement. I work full time, but due to slow sales, they’ve cut our hours back, any advice on what I can do to make things a little easier?


Carmen Proffitt August 19, 2013 at 1:58 pm

I’d suggest getting some books like The Tightwad Gazette, and Dave Ramsey’s The Total Money Makeover, and there’s the Hillbilly Housewife $45 Emergency Food Budget website.


Susan July 24, 2014 at 9:57 pm

If your dad has Medicaid you or your husband can get paid to be his caretaker.


Sarah August 8, 2013 at 10:10 pm

Great tips! Also Play it Again Sports, buys sporting and exercise equipment! Great to get some extra money for the equipment not being used.

We also dont pay for cable, we have Hulu Plus and Netflix and HitBliss, 14.98 a month instead of 99+ a month, only drawback you have to wait a day to see the hit tv shows after they air.


Super Coupon Lady August 17, 2013 at 10:41 am

Great tip for buying sporting equipment!

There are so many other options other than paying the high priced cable! Glad you are enjoying them! Great way to save!


Melodie August 9, 2013 at 1:50 pm

Awesome tips…another one is Unplug things you do not need to have plugged in. Example…lamps in spare rooms, hair dryers or straighteners, chargers for phones, ipads…whatever that are not being charged. Unplug them and save up to $100 or more per year.


Nicole August 18, 2013 at 1:10 pm

As for the debt snowball – I love this idea, but I would tweak one aspect of it. Take into consideration the percentage interest you are paying for each of your debts. I would rank my debt from highest percentage interest to lowest percentage interest, and then try to pay off your debt with the highest percentage interest first. For example, my car payment has the lowest percentage interest for me at 1.9%. I would rather pay off my student loans first, which have an interest rate of 6.8% and 6.9%, even if they are for a larger amount, because I am paying WAY more in interest for them.

Love these tips – definitely going to try a few that I haven’t already!


MICHELLE BARTHLE July 1, 2014 at 8:57 pm

I agree with you all about the interest rates. I am trying to pay off my highest interest rate loans first. A few months ago I was able to get my student Loans consolidated with this company that helped lower my payments and interest. It saved me a couple hundred dollars per month! I was then able to start paying off some other debt faster. Here is a link to the company if you want to check it out. https://ed153.infusionsoft.com/go/abrbaf/Mbarthle


paperlady August 19, 2013 at 1:03 pm

Paper routes are NOT part time. In most places its 365 days a year no matter the weather. Trust me I am a sahm that delivers papers from 2-6 am every morning. I sleep a few hours while my son is in school and we all go to bed by 9. Best job ever tho cause I get paid 500 plus a week!
Now if someone wanted to learn a route to give a carrier a break a few days a month or something then there’s lots of people looking for trustworthy people to do their route. (Takes 1-2 weeks to learn one )
Oh and paper routes where I am are 1099 so you don’t pay any taxes in till tax time. Your gas and mileage are a HUGE deduction. We got money back last year.
Anyway. Great tips thx


Rhee September 1, 2013 at 10:41 pm

Also look at how and what you cook. Is meat the main course at most meals? You can save a ton of money and make your grocery budget stretch further by making meat a side dish. Instead of buying 4 steaks for 4 people buy 2 steaks, cut them up and cook them with veggies on kabobs or add to a casserole or salad or do a Meatless Monday. If you’re like me and like to bake making your own dough/batter instead of store bought can save you a lot of money in the long run. I also make my own freezer meals, like pizza, lasagna and soups once a month, so that on days I don’t feel like cooking or we have unexpected guests, dinner is already made and all I have to do is throw it in the oven or crockpot. Every other year my family also buys and splits a cow and a few pigs and turkeys that don’t place high enough to make the auction at the local county fair and have them butchered and split the meat and bones (for making stocks) between us. And since we all LOVE to fish and in the state parks in Texas you don’t need a fishing license we like to go to three near by state parks, two inland and one on the coastline so we get both freshwater and saltwater fish and make a day or weekend of fishing as a family to fill our freezers with fish for a while.


Debi R January 6, 2014 at 12:35 pm

Texas native here. Only kids can fish without a license. Be careful out there. Game wardens have a job to do and they will fine you.


Mary Schuler September 2, 2013 at 9:12 am

These are great tips! I use most of those right now (I personally love Yard Sales!) I found a prefect hobby that makes us extra money as well: Helping people through Advocare! Financially, energy, and weight loss! It has been amazing. Let me know if you want to get started! Email: maryduke.07@gmail.com


Ellie October 13, 2013 at 12:25 pm

If you have an infant, you can save several hundred dollars per year by using cloth diapers instead of disposables. A friend of mine has an online diaper shop (diaperstyle.com) that you can check out. It is not as much work as most people think. It is just a few extra loads of laundry per week. Also, making your own baby food can save a lot. We make a lot of food from scratch (like bread and biscuits from scratch instead of using Bisquick). If you buy flour in bulk it is really cheap.


Ellie October 13, 2013 at 12:25 pm

If you have an infant, you can save several hundred dollars per year by using cloth diapers instead of disposables. A friend of mine has an online diaper shop (diaperstyle . com) that you can check out. It is not as much work as most people think. It is just a few extra loads of laundry per week. Also, making your own baby food can save a lot. We make a lot of food from scratch (like bread and biscuits from scratch instead of using Bisquick). If you buy flour in bulk it is really cheap.


Ellie October 13, 2013 at 12:26 pm

If you have an infant, you can save several hundred dollars per year by using cloth diapers instead of disposables. A friend of mine has an online diaper shop (diaperstyle) that you can check out. It is not as much work as most people think. It is just a few extra loads of laundry per week. Also, making your own baby food can save a lot. We make a lot of food from scratch (like bread and biscuits from scratch instead of using Bisquick). If you buy flour in bulk it is really cheap.


Melissa December 30, 2013 at 10:52 am

My sister uses a website called ibotta…she gets money back for certain items she buys just by scanning the barcode…granted it’s only a few dollars here and there, but every little bit helps.


Super Coupon Lady December 30, 2013 at 11:26 am

I LOVE Ibotta! It’s super easy to use and a great way to earn some extra cash! Here’s more information about it and a current deal they have going on –> http://www.supercouponlady.com/2013/12/ibotta-get-50¢-cash-back-ice-cream-purchase-500-win-5-cash.html/


Melissa June 4, 2014 at 12:34 pm

have you tried checkout 51? I use both, I feel like checkout 51 is a little easier to use. Both apps usually have some of the same featured items at the same time, so you could scan your receipt to both apps for a max rebate!!


Dee Board February 20, 2014 at 3:18 pm

My husband and I not only put our change into the piggy bank/retirement fund, we also add dollar bills. Each dollar bill has a number in black near the four corners. We picked the number 5 (no real reason why the number 5), so that any dollar bill that has the number 5 goes into the piggy bank/retirement fund. It has become sort of a game for us, when receiving change back, to see how many dollar bills will have the number 5.


Super Coupon Lady February 22, 2014 at 11:37 am

That is a fantastic Idea Dee! Thank you for sharing with us!


Joyce Milner June 18, 2016 at 7:28 pm

I’m going to try that6it sound like fun. Thanks for the idea


sharon March 21, 2014 at 5:17 am

Save $50 per year? It would only take 12 years to save $600! I think I’d want to see savings add up faster than that!


kat July 29, 2015 at 10:35 am

I think the saving was $50/month for a year. Yielding $660/year.


Ann Pelkey April 3, 2014 at 6:53 pm

I’ve learned that increased income, is right under my nose. I use a lowest priced laundry detergent and delute it with I/2 water. I use only cold water to wash my clothes. The smell that can build up in the washer, I’ve discovered is the waxy ingredients in fabric softener. For over three years I haven’t used it. I use squeezed up balls of cooking foil in my dryer about 4. I clean my washer with vinegar, the small bottle. No build up and I save on detergent and don’t miss the softener.


Joelle April 9, 2014 at 4:16 pm

I make my own laundry detergent!! It costs me 0.15 cents a jar that lasts 3 weeks! I’ve been selling it to friends and family for 5$ a jar! Its hypoallergenic, septic safe and super easy to make. Worth it to me. And any money I usually spend on that stuff goes in the piggy bank. Also if any of you are smokers I got my husband to start rolling his cigarettes and he saves 30$ a week!


Joelle April 9, 2014 at 4:19 pm

Also I add vinegar to my rinse cycle and that acts as a fabric softener. A gallon of it is cheaper than a bottle or box of fabric softener. And it cleans your machine. Just dry like normal. You can’t smell it at all…


Alexandra May 9, 2014 at 1:02 pm

Not sure if anyone has mentioned this, but you can buy things online throught ebates.com

They give you a percentage back on purchases as long as you go through their website. I thought it was a scam at first, but I have received over $500 from them because I started ordering all my non-perishable items online from stores that are listed on their site. Most major stores and many others are on there. They pay anywhere from 2% up to 20% cash back.

It is a really great site that can help you on items you have to buy anyway…. often you can get free shipping then you don’t have to use gas to go to the store and get them… they ship straight to your home.


Melissa June 4, 2014 at 12:31 pm

I coupon when possible. I also use apps like checkout 51 and Ibotta to get rebates on things like milk, body wash, sunscreen and etc. If there are any shell gas stations near you, you can sign up for the loyalty card. It’s not a charge card, and it’s free. You save 3 cents a gallon automatically when you use it, and if you scan it every time you make a purchase more saving eventually add up. Also if you are selling things online, I have actually had better luck with buy, sell, trade groups on facebook than I have with Craigslist. It also feels a little safer becuase anyone you encounter is usually a friend of a friend.


aj June 27, 2014 at 11:34 am

so cool thanks!. will definitely try these out!.

~ garagesalecow


John Green September 18, 2014 at 11:39 pm

To me number 5 on your list is one of the best ways possible to get ahead and very few realize it.

Using more of our day to be productive and earn more income (even in small amounts) is as powerful as saving money. I personally do surveys consistently and I frequently do small jobs or even errands for friends to earn some extra gas money.

Anyhow, great post and keep em coming!


advocare apparel & accessories September 28, 2014 at 2:15 pm

Unable to find the time to work out, while running a gym, seemed beyond my imagination. Defining your goal up front is
a pivotal first step in a successful weight loss program. We are on a mission to get
people off of all those energy drinks that are just plain crap and bad
for you.


Julia @ Save Big, Live Better! October 8, 2014 at 4:00 pm

Great list!
It’s so true, saving every little bit really does add up!
I love the idea of saving the change when you break a bill, alot of the time that’s the money that can “fall through the cracks” of your budget;)


sarah g July 8, 2015 at 12:02 am

Hey ladies. living paycheck to pay check sucks! my bf just got laid off a job making $30 an hr and i took time off work right before it happened for medical reasons and now we are struggling i went back to an old job but i only make 9.50 and get 26 hrs a week. and baby sit two nights a week and make $40-$50 a week for that. its ruff and i have a 4 yr old. to get little things i need i LOVE….. my apps if you have a smart phone or even and old one you can use wifi for i use snap by groupon, receipt hog, shopkicks, swagbucks,lucktastic, receipt pal, check points, bing rewards and walgreens points.oh and walmart savings catcher. i get money monthly about $40-$50 in gift cards for amazon or paypal or a bunch of other stores. it helps when my checks run low and i really needed something or my daughter goes threw a growth spurt and need clothes for her. they take time but they are awesome my sister in law does it allll the time and she didnt pay for christmas last year because she had all her gift cards. Good Luck!


Karena Duncan September 6, 2015 at 9:39 am

I haven’t seen this one anywhere but it’s a great additional source of income. I’m using it to help rebuild my emergency fund after paying for funeral expenses for my mother. Donate plasma – In my area that’s at least $300 a month and about 2-4 hours per week of my time.


Amanda September 22, 2015 at 12:28 pm

I’ve just found out about swap.com an online consignment shop. Just sent in a box of clothes that I didn’t wear anymore. They take pictures and sell it for you, of course they take a percentage of the profits, but saves me time and earns me money.


Super Coupon Lady September 22, 2015 at 7:35 pm

That’s a great tip! Thank you for sharing!


Blossom November 17, 2015 at 9:57 pm

Ah the beauty of Pinterest: finding blogs like this that make your brain twirl all for the better. I’m only a college student but found this extremely useful. I especially liked the tip about air drying the clothes. I’ve done it on occasions that my dryer broke, and it left my room funky, but it’s worth it for small piles of laundry. Gonna get into couponing and lowering my phone bill next. I’ll definitely link back to your blog on my blog when I try this out!



Lillian Elliott February 16, 2016 at 4:03 pm

Jill I know how. You feel when I was a little girl my dad did the same thing. We loss every thing.he took a job at a gas station. And a man sold him some land and a chicken coop that was what we moved into . I’m now sixty eight and we made it by trust in The Lord ! I could tell you I did but it was him,and only him!


Christine November 25, 2016 at 9:45 am

I really need to figure out how I’m going to get to a point where I’m not always behind or my checking is in the negative. I’m just coming out of a huge 2 year long financial setback and am so behind on so many things. I don’t know where to begin to start climbing out of this mess. All these tips are encouraging and I am going to use these ideas. But I really need to know some ways how to earn extra cash while working a very physical full time job and going to school part time. Any ideas?


Robie Lynn February 20, 2017 at 3:26 pm

I am a mother of 3, wife and soon to be empty nester that has lived paycheck to paycheck always robbing peter to pay paul to keep the family afloat, have the dinners out when needed and the clothes on the kids back and them in college! However, this is it! I am Done!

I am really trying to buckle down! With my sons recent engagement all of a sudden the thought of us quickly approaching the empty nest really hit home. WOW! We are BROKE! We have a sophomore in high school still at home and once she is gone, well, it’s time for our life to begin. BUT, we are no where near ready so I like your list. I just started Checkout 51 and IBotta and see some savings. I have always been big on coupons, but the one thing I just started 2 weeks ago was at the checkout, when they ask for cash back, I actually took out the money that I just saved in the discounts and coupons, and now am stashing that as part of my Emergency Fund. I am a visual person and seeing my efforts pay off like that are much easier for me than just leaving it in the bank!

So, all these changes have brought me to be more aware and your number #2 and #5 are my biggest focuses right now. I always felt, hey, what’s $2? Well, it’s a little bit MORE towards the big goal! Thanks for sharing!


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