Paying down debt and saving money can be overwhelming when you feel like you barely have enough to make ends meet day-to-day.

But you should know you are not alone: According to the Pew Research Center, fewer than half of all of US adults have the recommended emergency savings we are told we “should” have of three months of our income. This means we must be creative and come up with ways that our spending can be reduced or cut and still have the necessities taken care of in our daily lives.

The good news is that there are many small financial changes that can be made that can add up long-term without having to overhaul your entire life overnight. You can find out if you are already overspending on your budget on the CashTalk by LendNation blog.

Our budgeting and spending habits can be changed. Here are three small changes you can make today for your financial future to help with paying down debt and saving money.

Start Small – Using Your Budget to Manage Expenses With Every Paycheck

We are creatures of habit, and as the saying goes; “Rome wasn’t built in a day.”  Starting a budgeting plan can begin today and can be as easy as one dollar a day.

When you get your next paycheck, consider a cash only budget approach for a month for your daily expenses as a trial until you perfect your savings decisions and style.

Outside of the larger monthly bills like utilities and rent, using cash forces a limit on our spending and helps us to become more aware of our spending choices; and when you’re out of cash, you’re out.

At the end of each day, set aside $1 in a coffee can or envelope. If you buy lunch, take the leftover change of coins and add that, too. The goal is that you won’t feel it and will quickly start to build a habit of setting aside savings.

Find Ways to Save Money on Food and Dining

Everyone needs to eat and food expenses can add up — not what you want when you’re saving money and paying down debt! The average household spends almost $3,000 a year dining out, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. We all know that spending money on takeout and the daily coffee adds up; but there are ways to make it even simpler at home – and save money while you’re doing it.

Most families waste lots of food at home without even realizing how to enjoy what is available in the refrigerator and save money. There are a ton of great apps and websites that you can use to input the ingredients that you already have at home to come up with some meal options to stretch your grocery budget. SuperCook is a great example of a quick and simple ingredient app that people love to use for money and food savings. When you go grocery shopping, make a list and stick to it. Impulse buys and moving away from your list is a fast way to increase the bill at checkout.

Consider Smart Swaps For Your Home Expenses

Saving money is hard when you don’t have a lot of cash to spare. By starting small and finding creative ways to trim your expenses for the things used at home every day, you can make progress towards your goal.

The next time your bedside lamp or ceiling fan lights burn out, pick up a CFL or LED light bulb at the hardware store on your next trip.  This will cost you more money up front, but if you buy one LED light bulb that lasts 25,000 hours instead of a regular old incandescent light bulb that lasts 1,200 hours, well that’s 21 less light bulbs that you will have to replace AND the savings on your energy bill, a little at a time, really adds up.  

While you’re at it, throw some timers on those lights that you sometimes forget to shut off at night before falling asleep, and unplug that extra TV you only watch occasionally.

Another quick way to save money is to consider cutting cable and moving to streaming services. Cable TV or satellite TV can get expensive. If you are rarely watching live TV, consider a swap by cancelling your subscription. With an inexpensive antenna, you will be able to save money and still enjoy your favorite shows.

For those times between when you need additional cash while you are trying to improve and change your spending habits to get ahead, turn to LendNation. We have online cash advance options to help in the short-term for unexpected expenses while you work toward improving your financial future through saving money and paying down debt.