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So, you are looking for ways to save money. Smart move! Saving money is important for everyone but even more important if you are living on a low income. It can be difficult to find ways to save money but it will be an even more painful experience if you have no money saved in the event of an unexpected expense.
The good news is that it’s not as difficult to find ways to save money as you might think. There are many small changes you can make that will make a big impact on your finances. You just have to be willing to put in a bit of extra effort.
The following are some ideas worth considering to find ways to save money on a low income.
Easy Ways to Save Money on a Low Income
Create a Budget and Stick to It
If you are not budgeting your income and tracking your expenses already, then you need a budget to make the best use for every dollar before you spend it. By creating a budget, you will have a clear idea of what you have available to spend for the week or the whole month. If you are spending more than you are earning, you will have to find things you could cut out or cut back on to save money. Budgeting your money will ensure you spend your money wisely.
The key to budgeting is to include everything you need to in your budget. So many people fail at budgeting because they simply forget to include expenses in their budget. Then once these expenses arise, there is not enough money left over for the month. You can check out The Ultimate Guide to Create a Budget that is Fail-Proof for help to create a budget that you can live with.
This Budgeting Made Easy spreadsheet is a great tool to help you create a budget that fits your lifestyle. It is fully customizable and automated, saving you time every month.
Cut Back on Your Spending
Once you have established a budget, you need to see if you have enough money to fund your budget. If your budget exceeds your income you need to find ways to save money in your budget. Is there anything you can cut back on or cut out completely? Do you really need a landline if you have a cell phone? You can cut out any memberships or subscriptions that you don’t use often enough to justify the cost?
Can you cut back on your grocery bill? Meal planning is a great way to save money on groceries every month. How about finding cheaper alternatives to items on your budget that you are unwilling to cut out?
If your budget does not exceed your income, you can still cut back on spending to free up money to build an emergency fund or help to pay off debt. These are two areas that you should funnel any money you save into first to improve your overall financial situation.
Track Your Spending
Tracking your spending goes hand and hand with your budget. By keeping track of what you spend money on, no matter how small, allows you to see whether you are sticking to the budget or not. Tracking your spending will help you to identify areas where you can save money.
You may not realize that you are spending $180 a month at Starbucks, or that those trips to the vending machine at work is costing you $80 monthly. Tracking your spending will help you see where you are wasting your money and how you can make small changes to save money.
Pay Yourself First
Paying yourself first is one of the most effective ways to save money. Once you have categorized every expense, subtract the amount you have allocated to save each month from your net income as soon as you get paid. When you pay yourself first, you won’t have to wait until you have paid for your living expenses and bills to see how much is left to save. Set up an automatic transfer with your bank to automate savings.
Another approach is to put aside an amount from your net income to pay yourself first and then create a budget based on whatever is left. This can push you to a tighter budget forcing you to be more creative to find ways to save money.
Pay Off Your Debt
If you are in debt, then paying it off as soon as possible is the easiest way to reduce unnecessary spending every month. Do you realize that typically over half of your payments on credit card debt go on interest alone? This is money you are flushing down the toilet every month. Once you are out of debt, you will free up more money every month to add to your savings.
However, if you do not have an emergency saving to fall back on when an unexpected emergency hits, it makes sense to get this done first while paying at least the minimum amount on any debt. Once you have at least $1000 in emergency savings, you can start putting any extra money you have available on your debts. After you are debt-free, you will have more money to build a larger emergency fund. You can also contribute to a retirement savings plan and save for other things.
Stop Using Your Credit Cards
This goes hand and hand with getting out of debt. When you use credit cards, you can make impulse purchases that you wouldn’t normally make because you don’t feel the impact of these purchases right away. There are many studies that prove consumers will spend more money with a credit card than with cash.
When you use a credit card, you also pay interest and fees if you do not pay off your outstanding balances in full every month. If you cannot afford to pay your credit card bills in full, it means you do not have the money in your budget to buy these things. When using cash to buy things, you have better self-control because you can only spend what you have.
Buy Used Stuff
Buying stuff used can save you a lot of money while still get the full value of the items you purchase. There are many places online where you can find great deals on quality used items. Thredup and Swap are great places to buy gently worn used clothing.
You can buy used books on Amazon or find just about anything else you can think of on eBay. Your local thrift store is another great option to find used items. You can buy just about anything at thrift stores such as clothing, toys, electronics, furniture, dishes, and whatever else you can think of.
Check out 8 Things You Should Never Buy New to find more ways to save money buying used stuff.
Take Advantage of Free Money
It’s always nice when you get free money such as a bonus from your employer or a cash gift for your birthday. Typically most people will use this free money to splurge on something they want. This money can really help to boost your savings or pay down your debt. Use this money wisely instead of splurging on things that you can’t really afford anyway.
Save Your Change
Saving your spare change may not seem like it will make a big difference, but every little bit helps. Plus, it adds up quicker than you think. Every time you spend cash, save the change, if you use a debit card to make purchases, you can use an app that will automatically round up your purchase and deposit the money into your savings account.
Sell Things You No Longer Need or Want
You could sell old clothes, gadgets, appliances and the furniture you do not need to make some bucks and put that cash in your savings account. Selling your old stuff is also a great way to declutter your house. You can sell your used or pre-loved things via eBay, Amazon.com, Craigslist, and other online sites or you can have a yard sale.
Check out Cash in on Clutter to find the best places to sell your used stuff.
Get Money Back When You Shop
You could get paid to shop online and in-store at thousands of popular retailers, such as Walmart, Target, Best Buy, and more when you use Ebates. Why not earn cash back every month while doing your normal shopping. You can even use extensions like Honey to find coupon codes and free shipping. You can check out How to Save money with this one Simple Online Shopping Trick for more tips.
Lower Your Energy Bills
You can save hundreds of dollars every year by lowering your energy bills. Simple things you can do are turning down your thermostat when you are not home. Turn off lights, fans, and TV when you are not in the room. Use power stripes to prevent energy loss. Only turn on your washing machine or dishwasher when you have full loads to help reduce your water bill. If you want to learn more ways to save money on your energy bills read 13 Easy Ways to Reduce Your Energy Bills.
Negotiate Rates for Bills
Are you paying for more than you need when it comes to using cable, internet, landline phone and other monthly services? When was the last time you compared insurance rates? These expenses can easily be reduced with a simple phone call.
Simply call your service providers to ask for a lower rate. Many companies will give you a better rate if they think they might lose you as a customer. If they will not lower the rate, call the competition if you have alternate service providers in your area. You could save quite a bit of money every month with just a few phone calls.
Increase Your Income
If you find yourself unable to save money, you can consider ways to increase your income. There are many ways to make a side income or earn extra money these days thanks to the internet. If you have a certain skill that you are really good at, you can utilize that to make extra money online without leaving your home.
The freelance economy has created endless opportunities for people to make extra money. If you have a knack for writing, you can write articles for websites and clients online on topics of your choice. You can provide remote administrative or virtual assistance services to small companies, blogs, and website owners to make money on the side.
You can also provide many online services such as translation, transcription, data entry, online tutoring, bookkeeping, graphic design, web design, programming, internet marketing, social media and much more, depending on your skillset.
You can also make money using your smartphone. There are many money making apps that let you make money on your smartphone doing a variety of tasks that require you to work outside your home but you can work on your own schedule.
You can make money as an Uber driver or working for other rideshare companies by delivering people around. You can also become an on-demand delivery driver to make extra money. There are many companies and app that let you make money delivering stuff to their customers’ doorstep.
Check out 34 Legit Jobs to Make Money Fast or 23 Passive Income Ideas to Make Money While You Sleep for some great tips.
Easy Ways to Save Money on a Low Income
When you are living on a low income, it can be especially hard to find ways to save money. Try out a hand full of these tips. Once you have mastered them, add in a few more. Before you know it, you’ll have a nice amount of money in your savings account.
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This was a good read! It can be hard to start being more disciplined, but it is so worth it!
Awesome article! The ideas are basic but very useful. You need to be disciplined to follow these steps but they will contribute majorly in saving money.
Thanks! I think that finding basic ways to save money on a low income is key since they are easier to implement and stick to.