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Learning how to save money fast on a low income can feel impossible at times. But I’m here to tell you that not only is it possible, but you can instill these saving methods and hold onto them to change the way you view money for years to come.
When it comes to saving money, it’s about replacing bad habits with good ones. By changing your behavior and the way you view your money, you’d be amazed at how much money you can save with your current income.
Luckily, you can save money in all kinds of ways. And no, I’m not talking about stashing it under the mattress or in a piggy bank! And don’t worry, I wouldn’t even dare suggest eliminating all the fun activities that make the weekends and evenings worthwhile!
Keep reading for a list of different ideas on how to save money fast on a low income.
How To Save Money Fast On A Low Income: 13 Ways
You can’t know how much money you have to save until you know how much you’re spending! Begin to track your spending to understand exactly where your money is going. Once you have budgeted enough to cover your must-have expenses, a good rule of thumb is to budget 20% of your income to go towards savings.
Budgeting is my bread and butter. When it comes to being smarter with your money, budgeting is where everyone should start. If you are looking for help to begin your budgeting journey, be sure to check out my free training: The 4 Step Framework To Budget For Your Best Life. You’ll learn the 3 MASSIVE mistakes everybody makes with their budget and why they are costing you money along with the secrets to finding more money in your budget each month.
Automate Savings Payments
This is one of my favorite tips for how to save money fast for those on a low income. How it works is that every time you receive pay via direct deposit, a portion can automatically be transferred to a savings or investment account.
Transfer as little or as much as you’d like – even saving $20 a paycheck can really add up over time. And since it’s money that never really touches your checking account, it’s money you’ll never know you missed.
If you choose to do it manually, you are less likely to remember or follow through on your plan to transfer money.
Cash Envelope System
Sometimes, good old cash works the best. Using cash helps control impulse spending (and online spending) as you can physically see your cash diminishing. Rather than using credit or debit cards, you use cash to pay for everything.
The envelope system works by designating cash into different categories such as groceries and entertainment. You only get what’s in that cash envelope for that category, and once you’re out, that’s it! This really forces you to stay within your budget by keeping it tangible.
You can learn all about cash envelopes and get some free printables here.
Eating out is one of the biggest money suckers. And no, I’m not talking about your morning latte. It’s eating lunch out every day and ordering food via delivery apps that become money-sucking. Planning your meals and carefully grocery shopping can go a long way in saving you money.
At the end of a long day, sometimes you don’t always feel like cooking or preparing lunch for the next day. Meal prepping allows you to get it all done in one or two days, and you save on expenses by preparing food in bulk. If you don’t like eating the same meal over again, consider freezing the extra portions to enjoy later on a busy day.
Evaluate Your Transportation Costs
Cars use up money like no other. Between car payments, repairs, maintenance, and gas, they cost a lot to upkeep. Consider if having a car in your life is necessary or not. If possible, try to trim down your trips and use public transport whenever possible.
Rideshare apps like Uber or Lyft will also add up over time. Just think, a $10 trip once a week adds up to $40 a month!
You can also re-evaluate your car insurance and see if there are better ways to save by switching to a new service provider.
Negotiate Your Bills
Did you know that you can actually negotiate your bills? Twice a year, get on the phone with your internet, phone, cable, insurance, gas, and electricity provider. Ask if you can get a better rate, and chances are, they can give one to you. Especially if they sense that you’re looking to go to a competitor!
You can also bundle certain things together, like your internet and cable, to earn savings. By one call, you’re making some serious savings every month without evening having to adjust your lifestyle. The worst they can say is “no,” and they likely won’t even do that.
Change Your Credit Card
By selecting the right credit card, you can either earn points or cash back. Different credit cards will offer different rewards. You can get points for things such as travel, discounts to your go-to stores, and a percentage back of the money you spend. Know which of these options works best for your savings goal, be it extra money to spend, keeping your budget down, or saving for a special item.
Note, always pay back your credit card balance in full every month. This method of earning extra cash only works when you aren’t paying any of it back in interest.
Save Spare Change
Start counting your pennies! You’d be surprised how a little bit of change can turn into some serious bills. If you use cash frequently (like the cash envelopes listed above), start collecting your spare change in a jar at your house. Rather than lug it around in your purse, empty it out, and it will slowly collect into a good chunk of change.
When you have enough, take it to a coin counter and use the cash you get back to put directly into savings or spend it on something you’ve been saving up for.
Clipping coupons is truly an art form. You can coupon the old-fashioned way by bringing them into the store with you or loading them on your card (such as Air Miles). Alternatively, you can use cashback deals with apps like Rakuten or Ibotta.
Since many of us are shopping online these days, the modern version of couponing is applying promo codes at checkout. Before purchasing, search for any promo codes online or use an automatic Chrome extension such as Honey.
Cut Down Expenses
Once you begin budgeting and tracking your expenses, the areas you can do without, if necessary, become quite evident. Do you really need that subscription box? Are delivery fees eating up your food budget when you could pick it up yourself?
Think of cutting back expenses as a way to get you to your savings goal rather than a setback. If you truly value reaching your savings goal over going to a movie every weekend, then you’ll get immense satisfaction when you notice how much more you are saving per month.
Get A Side Hustle
If you have a savings goal in mind, earning extra income on the side can help earn income fast. Whether that is crafting at home, picking up an online gig, or working part-time at a local store, find something that works best for you and your lifestyle. You don’t want it to drain you in addition to your current job.
Make this income specifically for savings. Have the money deposited directly into a savings account, so it’s out of sight and out of mind!
Ask For A Raise
It seems so obvious, but people forget to go straight to their source of income for improvement. If you don’t think you’re getting paid your worth, it’s time to ask for a raise. A performance review is a great time to bring this up and make sure you come prepared. Research salaries and prove why you’re worth the investment. Be willing to negotiate.
And if they don’t budge, it may be time to start that job search again! But if you do get that raise, be careful of lifestyle creep. Keep the 20% savings rule in mind.
You may feel motivated now, but when it comes time to buy those expensive shoes you saw online, motivation can crack. It’s a good idea to have your savings goals written out to help keep you accountable. You can write it on a post-it note and put it on your mirror or laptop.
But better yet, put the message right in your wallet. Every time you pull out your card to make a purchase, in person or online, you’ll be reminded of what you’re working toward.
And that’s it on how to save money fast on a low income! A major part of it comes down to mindset and being more mindful of your spending. With a few lifestyle tweaks and a little bit of extra elbow grease, you’ll have plenty of savings in no time.