Saving can be especially challenging when working with a low income. However, with the right strategies and techniques, you can work towards achieving your short-term and long-term money goals. Below are all the different creative ways you can save money fast on a low income, even if you make minimum wage.
Build a Personalized Budget
Budgeting is a great tool that can help you track your income and spending to reach your goals. There are all kinds of budgeting methods for low income households; some focus more on savings than others. Most budgets will have the basic categories of an emergency fund/savings, necessary expenses, and discretionary spending. Regardless of the budgeting you choose, it is essential to consider your lifestyle and savings goals. With personalization, you will be less likely to fall off track and more likely to save.
Why is budgeting so important when saving on a low income? When you have less income to work with, it is even more critical to have a plan with your money. This way, you can see exactly where each dollar is going. With low income, being able to save even a few dollars can add up over time. Most people have their savings in a separate savings account rather than in their primary checking account. It takes away that temptation of spending, and most savings accounts come with some kind of return.
Cut Housing Costs to Focus On Saving Money
For most people, their most expensive monthly cost will be their home. And whether you are renting or paying a mortgage, there are things you can do here to save a large chunk of income. Here are some solutions to consider with housing when saving money is priority:
Rent a Room/Get a Roommate
If you are a homeowner with a spare bedroom, renting a room in your home is one way to save a considerable amount of money on housing costs. If you are a renter, ask your landlord whether they would be okay with adding another tenant. If your residence has more than one extra bedroom, consider renting those out too. Although having more people in your space can be a little annoying, it can significantly cut down your costs. Adding one more person to your household doesn’t just mean cutting rent or mortgage payments in half; all of your utility bills will also be cut in half! Adding an additional person on top of that could mean cutting down on 75% of your housing expenses.
Move to a Cheaper Home Even if It Means Less Space
Downsizing your housing situation can be another way to save a considerable amount of money, especially if you have a low income. Although not everyone can downsize, many households can. Consider a smaller living space, even if temporary, so you can focus on saving money quickly.
Consider Moving to a Cheaper Area
Where you live can have a huge impact on your finances. Even as little as 50 miles can impact your rent and mortgage costs. And so, if you can move while keeping your job and having other factors work, definitely consider doing so. Even a small move can help you save hundreds or thousands of dollars each month. If you are a homeowner, consider renting out your home to move to a more affordable area to save even more money.
Cut Down on Your Essential Living Expenses To Save Money on a Low Income
Cutting down on some essential expenses can help you save a good amount of money, and for those on a low income, be the change they need to save money faster. Here are some ways to save some extra money on different essentials:
Most people pay for their electricity, water, and gas each month. Doing things as simple as using energy-efficient lights, washing clothes in cold water, and switching from baths to showers, can all help you save money each month.
Another necessary expense that most people have is their transportation. Whether you drive or take public transit, both will come with a monthly or weekly bill. You can save money here by being strategic about how you travel every day. For example, suppose gas prices are through the roof. In that case, you might want to use public transit or bike to and from work and for other necessary travel.
Insurance costs like car insurance, health insurance, renters, or homeowners insurance are another essential expense. By bundling all these policies with the same provider, you could save a good amount each month.
Subscription services can cost hundreds of dollars monthly, and sometimes you may not even be aware that you are spending money on them! And so, if you are thinking of saving money, then it will be a good idea to go through all of your monthly subscriptions and cancel the ones you can part with.
Phone and Internet Service
Your cell phone plan and internet bills can cost a few hundred dollars each month. If you are trying to save money on a low income quickly, finding cheaper plans, even if just temporarily, will be a big help.
A Gym Membership or Wellness
Gym memberships and wellness programs can cost up to a few hundred dollars. Instead of paying to work out, find free programs at home while you focus on saving money.
Grocery Shopping and Food Spending
And finally, groceries and food are a part of the necessary monthly expenses for every household. To save the most money on these costs, try meal planning which is often cheaper and healthier than take out or dining out.
Shop and Spend Smarter To Save Money Fast
Shopping smarter is another strategy that you can use when buying essentials. Here are a few things you can do to lower your costs every time you shop:
You find retailer or manufacturer coupons online or through your local newspaper. Although these savings may not seem like a lot upfront, saving a few bucks can definitely add up.
Shop at Discount Stores
Some retailers are more expensive than others, so if you are focusing on saving money, consider shopping at discount stores. In many cases, shopping online may be cheaper as well.
Get Store Reward Cards
All kinds of grocery stores and specialty stores have reward cards that you can sign up for free. And every time you shop there, you can earn points for discounts or free stuff. In a way, these reward cards can act as free money!
Shop Sale Items and During Sale Seasons
No matter what you are shopping for, there will likely be a handful of items on sale which can be significantly cheaper than their full-priced counterparts. Another strategy is to look out for sale seasons and wait to shop then for extra savings.
Get Rid of Debt Obligations for Some Extra Money
High-interest debt can be a substantial financial burden and take years to pay off. Regardless of your financial situation, if you have any debt (credit card debt, a payday loan, car payments, etc.), paying it off will help free up income. There are many ways you can eliminate debt. Making more than the minimum payments, taking out a debt consolidation loan, or using different repayment strategies like the snowball or avalanche method. A ton of financial freedom comes with having all the money you make go straight to you, rather than interest, especially if you are working with low income.
Take Care of Your Health
Medical bills can cause havoc on your finances. The good news is that doing a few simple things to take care of yourself can be a great way to prevent health issues. Eating healthy, staying hydrated, limiting alcohol and other recreational drugs, regular exercise, and getting eight hours of sleep can all be great preventive health measures.
Try Different Saving Challenges
Saving challenges can help you save more money quickly. And so, if you really need a boost to your bank account fast, consider trying one of these challenges. A few money challenges include the no spend challenge, the 30-day rule, the envelope savings challenge, and more. Do your research to find the best option for your income and spending habits.
Automate Your Savings To Save Money On Low Income
Last but not least, if one of your financial goals is saving money, you cannot go wrong with automated savings. With most central banks, you can set up automatic payments that go straight from your checking account to your savings every time you get paid. Sending money automatically can be a great way to stay on track with your savings goal without even thinking about it. It can also help keep impulse spending in check.