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Saving money is hard and saving money on a low income is not impossible but can be challenging. If you’re not in the position to increase your income soon, there are some things you can do to save the money you have coming in.
It will take some commitment, creativity, and a few sacrifices but you can do it! Even if you start off saving $20 every paycheck, it’s better than nothing. The key is to start small, then work your way up to an amount that is comfortable for you.
It will take some time to accomplish this goal but you’ll be glad you made the effort to get it done.
I’ve put together a list of 33 ways to save money on a low income below.
- Get on a budget. This is an absolute must to get started. To save money, you need to know how much money is coming in and how much you are spending on expenses.
- Get rid of unnecessary subscription services. Do you need 5 streaming services? Can you do home workouts instead of paying for a gym membership? You might say $9.99 isn’t a lot of money but if you have 4 or 5 subscription services, the fees start adding up.
- Make a list for grocery shopping and stick to it. When doing your weekly grocery shopping, make a list of everything you need and how much it will cost (this should have been included in your budget). Stick to the list. If it’s not on the list, don’t buy it.
- Take cash with you to the store. If your grocery shopping is usually $100 per week, take that exact amount with you and nothing more. If you’re an impulse shopper, this will stop you from overspending, or buying things you don’t need.
- Meal prep. Besides living expenses, car payments, utilities, and grocery (the necessary stuff) eating out is usually one of the largest expenses for most people. You might say “but I’m only spending about $10 per meal”. Two meals per day for a week adds up pretty quickly.
- Sell some stuff. We all have things laying around the house that we’ve never used or don’t use as much anymore. Consider selling them to put some extra cash in your pocket.
- Use coupons. Take advantage of store coupons for discounts or deals. Most stores have an app where you can access their digital coupons and deals. Another way to get deals is to sign up for their mailing lists to get deals to your email or your physical address. You can also find coupons at the store through fliers or look for products that are tagged while walking through the aisles at the grocery store.
- Get rid of credit cards. Your income is your largest wealth-building tool. There’s no way you can save if you’re still using credit cards. Credit card debt is one of the major reasons why 78% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. So pay off your credit cards so you can save that money.
- Shop around and compare prices. When you’re about to make a purchase, check online or check other stores to see if you can get a better price.
- Do a no-spend challenge. Challenge yourself for a few months to not spend on unnecessary things. If you usually go clothing shopping every month, challenge yourself to save that money instead of spending it.
- Negotiate rates on insurance. Call your insurance provider to negotiate a lower rate or shop around for lower rates.
- Pay off debt. When you’re in debt it’s harder to save when your income has to be used to pay down debt. The faster you get out of the debt, the faster you can save! Pay off the car loan, student loans, and any other consumer debt as quickly as you can.
- Reduce bills. Lower utilities by adjusting the thermostat, use less hot water, or change your phone and cable plan.
- Pay yourself first. Try to allocate 10% of your income for your savings. Include it in your monthly budget.
- Track all expenses. It’s important to keep track of where your money is going so you can stay focused and on budget.
- Refinance loans. If interest rates are low, try to refinance your loans. You will save money on interest, and that’s more money in your pocket.
- Use cashback apps. Cashback apps like Rakuten and ibotta, give you cash back on purchases like groceries, clothing, or other necessities.
- Start a side hustle. Start a part-time job, or do something that will make you some extra money. Eventually, your side-hustle can become your main source of income.
- Avoid unnecessary fees. Pay all your bills on time to avoid late fees or any other type of fees. Put your payments on autopay so you don’t miss any payments.
- Automate your savings. If you can, set a percentage of your paycheck to be automatically deposited into your savings account. That way you don’t have to think about it.
- Buy groceries in bulk. Shop at places like Costco or BJ’s for nonperishables that you can keep for a few months to avoid waste.
- Cut down on vacations. If you’re accustomed to taking three vacations a year, cut it down to one vacation and save the money that you would have used for the other vacations.
- Shop sales. Wait for sales to get the best deals on things you may need. That may be Black Friday, Labor day, or other huge sales holidays.
- Grow your vegetables. If you like gardening or just thought of growing your organic veggies, try growing your vegetables to save you some money at the grocery store.
- Buy generic brands. Most grocery stores have their store brand that is usually cheaper than other big brands. Walmart has Great Value, Costco has Kirkland and Target has Market Pantry. Some of these generic products are just as good as the more expensive brands.
- Do daily, weekly, monthly check-ins/Reevaluate your expenses. Try to check in often to see how you’re doing and what things you can adjust to save even more money.
- Save your change. Save all your change and cash them in at the end of the year.
- Get an accountability partner. If you find it hard to follow through, get a friend or your spouse to keep you accountable. Have them check in on you regularly to see where you are with saving money.
- Change your habits. Building wealth is 80% habits and 20% knowledge. Most of us know how to save money, build wealth and what we need to do it but we don’t do what it takes. To become a good steward of our money, we need to change our habits.
- Set achievable goals. Set realistic, achievable goals for yourself. Setting a goal of saving $5000 in 3 months, when you know it’s unrealistic for you is a setup for failure. Start small. Instead, maybe set a goal of $600 in 3 months, then gradually increase it as you get into the habit of saving.
- Shop gently used clothing. Shop at thrift stores or use apps like Poshmark or Mercari to purchase gently used clothing at bargain prices.
- Adopt healthy habits/stay healthy. Take care of your body. Workout, stop smoking, do what you need to take care of yourself. The last thing you want is an unexpected medical bill.
- Live below your means. This seems like a no-brainer but you’d be surprised how many people live above their means. They spend more money than they have coming in then wonder why they are in debt. Track your expenses, set a budget, spend money intentionally, and you’re on your way to a debt-free life!
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