Yes, you can really save money fast even on a low income, if you know how, what to do… and actually take the time to implement them.
Thankfully reading this article will reveal a lot of the “how” and “what” to do, to help you save money fast even if you have a low income.
Importance of Saving Money Fast on a Low Income
A long, long time ago when it came to retail sales and Christmas they had a program called the Christmas club.
It was an opportunity for families to set aside money each month with their banking institution so that at the end of a certain timeframe they would have money saved to meet their Christmas shopping needs.
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The focus was not on the lack of money leading up to Christmas but the focus was on how to achieve that Christmas goal.
As it relates to saving money on a low-income budget, it is important not to focus on the individual’s apparent lack, due to their low income, but focus on the goal.
Therefore, it is important to rise above limiting factors and save money towards our savings goals.
Saving Money by Going to the Hockey Rink…
To achieve a goal it is important to concentrate on that goal as it relates to where you want to be.
If an individual only focuses on where they are at and not where they want to be, they will find achieving that goal very difficult.
One of the greatest players of all-time in the NHL is a hockey player by the name of Wayne Gretzky.
He is famously quoted as saying, “I skate to where the puck is going, not where it has been.”
So it is with saving money. It’s not about whether one has a low income or high income.
It is about going, thinking, or focusing on where that goal is. It is not about where you are at and being restricted by contrary thinking.
20 Best Ways & Tips to Save Money Fast on a Low Income
The first important step on how to save money fast on a low income is to have a plan.
The plan that should be developed is how one is going to save money quickly. That plan is a financial budget.
A budget is a financial tool that captures the income that is coming into the household as well as the expenses.
The expense side of the budget should specify the particular areas of expenses or the line item of the expenditure.
Some of those line items could be insurance costs, food, utilities, cell phone, etc.
Another important line item on the expense side is setting aside money for emergencies.
The best-case scenario for a prepared budget is that more income is coming into the household rather than what is leaving.
Talking about budgeting, below are some helpful guide to budgeting money:
- Read This to Know Why Budgeting Is Important
- Read This to Know Best Budget Planning Tools
- Read This to Know Best Purposes of a Budget
- Read This to Know Budget Apps For College Students
- Read This to Know Budgeting for Senior Citizens
2. Reduce Your Debts
A good way to save money fast on a low income is to reduce any debt that is being carried by the household.
This debt could be through carrying balances on credit cards, car loans, consolidated loans, etc.
The rationale for decreasing one’s indebtedness is that to borrow money, these lending institutions have you pay for the privilege of being loaned money.
Interest rates can range anywhere from 5% to 25% or higher.
The sooner one can reduce these outstanding balances the sooner one can divert that interest paid to creditors back to their pocket or savings account.
Read This for More Tips to Reducing Debt.
3. Reduce Your Food Costs/List
Another big expenditure line item can be food costs.
We have to eat. However, there are ways that one can economize their spending on food.
One way to reduce food expenses and costs is to shop utilizing a grocery shopping list.
The list will help to set the boundaries on what the family or individual needs to buy to stock their grocery shelves.
A hard-line action can be that if the item wishing to be bought is not on the list it doesn’t get bought.
Another way that food costs can be reduced is by shopping at online dollar or discount stores that offer the same quality of food.
The quality is the same but the cost may be lower.
Another important tip is that when an individual goes grocery shopping that they go on days that perhaps discounts are being offered.
Some of those discounts offered could be for seniors or as part of a rewards program.
Also, when going grocery shopping you mustn’t go when you’re hungry.
4. Automate Your Savings
A powerful action of saving money even on a low income is through the process of automation.
This means that you save money automatically.
It is a process, set up by the individual, in which one’s financial institution automatically debits a savings transaction from one’s bank account.
The power of automating is that it just happens and the individual doesn’t have to be reminded or think about it.
It is the old axiom of out of sight and out of mind coming into play.
Talking about savings, below are some helpful guide to saving money:
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- Check This for Reasons to Save Money
- Check This 30 Day Rule to Saving Money
- Check This to Save $10,000 in 6 Months
- Check This to Save $20,000 in a Year
5. Reduce Your Costs on Entertainment
Another big line expense for individuals to spend their money is on entertainment.
For example, if a family of 4 goes to a theater to see a movie, there is the cost of tickets and a visit to the concession stand.
By the time this visit to the theatre is over, it could cost this family anywhere from $50-$100.
Therefore, rather than spending this sort of money on a 2-hour movie theater experience, why not rent a movie, buy the snacks that are needed and enjoy a family outing at home.
6. Reduce or Stop Dining Out
Another big line-item expense is the enjoyment of eating out. Most likely, that most individuals enjoy eating at a restaurant.
The opportunity to enjoy one’s favorite food, enjoy the family and not have to worry about the dishes or cleaning up after the meal is certainly an enjoyable experience.
However, at the end of this delightful experience is the presentation of a not-so delightful bill that can cost a family of 4 anywhere from $50-$100.
7. Use the Library More Often
Another tip on how to save money fast on a low-income budget is to take advantage of opportunities provided to the community through a variety of services.
One of the services that need to be rediscovered is the public library.
Often at the public library, the individual can check out a book, read current magazines, listen to music, check out videos, etc.
For most libraries to receive a library card what is required is proof of local residency and ID.
Generally, there is no cost associated with being a member of the library.
8. Keep Your Fees Under Control
A way that money can slowly leak out of the household budget every month is through the charging of fees by various institutions.
Some of the more prominent banking institutions are particularly adept at doing this.
For example, if you use an ATM that is not affiliated with your bank you are charged not only a fee for using the ATM but possibly by your bank for this use of your own money.
Also, fees can be levied when an individual is late on their payment or goes over their financial account limit.
Therefore, it is important to save money, especially on low income by not incurring any needless fees through any of these processes.
9. Reduce Your Car Expenses
One of the big expenditures in a typical household is the use of a car.
Generally, there are automobile car payments, costs for gasoline, insurance costs, and maintenance requirements.
All of these associated expenses add up to the car being an expensive line item on the family’s budget.
To counter these charges perhaps it would be good to park one’s car occasionally or regularly and either walk to work, take a bike, or carpool with other individuals.
Carpooling can be rotated amongst each of the individual carpoolers.
Also, it may be beneficial to call one’s insurance company to see if there are any additional discounts provided for one’s insurance needs.
Some of those discounts could include low mileage car usage, good safety record, the taking of safety driving classes, etc.
10. Take Care of Your Health
Yes, health is indeed wealth and saving your health is saving your money!
It is definitely important to maintain one’s health.
Not just for the sake of the loved ones in the family but one’s physical health as well.
If an individual does not take care of himself there can be associated medical costs with that neglect.
Therefore, it is important that all individuals, whether on a low income or not, take care of themselves health wise.
This can be accomplished by walking or exercising regularly and eating healthy.
11. Use Coupons
One can use coupons to help reduce the price of the purchased items.
These coupons can be found in the local newspaper, through apps provided by the retailer, or often coupons that are mailed to the household.
Remember, any exasperated people in the grocery line behind you while you are producing your coupons are not paying your food bill.
Therefore, keep it all in perspective, smile at them, and continue to save money.
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12. Stop Compulsive Buying
Another immediate way that an individual can save money is not to buy compulsively.
Compulsive buying is when an individual sees something on TV or in the store. The immediate impulse is to purchase that item because it is something that you want.
A tip to follow to combat buying spontaneously is to realize, that yes, you have earned the money and that may be something that you truly need.
However, rather than getting caught up in the buying moment, it is best to delay your purchase by several weeks or a month.
Once that timeframe has elapsed, and you still want to buy the item then by all means buy.
By holding off on the purchase will help the individual gain control over their spending habits and help them to think about that purchase before it is made.
Those that market products realize the strength of people indulging in compulsive buying and market their products accordingly.
Compulsive buying can be an issue for both men and women.
13. Do Odd Jobs
It is also important when looking at saving money on a low-income budget to pay attention to the income side of the ledger.
An individual can earn extra income by taking on odd jobs in the evening or on the weekend.
There has been a rise in the popularity of delivery services that provide food prepared by restaurants or shoppers needing groceries.
These delivery services need delivery drivers.
Apps such as Uber, UberEats, or DoorDash are looking for drivers and can pay anywhere from $15-$20 an hour.
Also, some tips are involved that may increase a driver’s salary.
Generally, these companies require that the individual have their vehicle, driver’s license, car registration, insurance, and possibly other needed documentation to be part of this driving system.
These drivers are their own contractors and can set their own time and schedule.
14. Reduce Your Phone Bills
In regards to cellular phone service, several options can be taken to try to reduce one’s overall cellular phone bill.
One of those options is to join together with another family member and become part of a family cellular plan.
This would help to reduce one’s overall cellular phone bill.
Also, if one has an unlimited plan in regards to data and airtime, perhaps that can be renegotiated if the individual is not fully utilizing all of those benefits.
Of course, there’s always the option of changing providers if a better deal comes along and there are no penalties in regards to ending one’s current contract.
15. Take Advantage of Community Activities
Another way to save money by not spending on entertainment is to take advantage of a variety of community services that are offered throughout the year.
For example, many communities have a street festival or other such event in which live entertainment is provided and there is no admission cost.
To add to the festivities a few snacks could be purchased and brought into the event that can be enjoyed by the family members rather than paying the highly inflated costs of those that provide concessions.
16. Keep an Expense Journal
A practical way of discovering where that mystery money is spent during the month is to keep an expenditure journal.
This simply requires an individual to purchase a lined notebook or even use a spreadsheet or word processor.
Each time a product or item is purchased, that goes into the log or journal.
Specifically, the date of expenditure, the item that is purchased, and the amount. This is done for every item purchased.
For example, if one has gone grocery shopping and has, in addition to the groceries, purchased a candy bar or some compulsive item as they’re checking out, those items are listed in the journal.
Additionally, if an individual stops for a gourmet coffee or a pastry, these items are listed as well.
So often, we have a good budget and yet somehow there is never enough money at the end of the month.
This journal will give good accountability and reflection of where some of that money may be going when we often don’t think about these purchases.
17. Use Your Windfalls Well
Another important way to save money on a low-income budget is when financial windfalls occur in our life.
These windfalls could be in the form of a pay raise, bonus, tax refund, or other unexpected revenue.
Rather than spend these windfalls on items that we want, it is best to take on a mindset that they have not occurred and simply put them into one savings account.
For example, if a pay raise is given rather than pocketing that extra amount of money each payday simply continue to live on the previous paycheck amount.
The difference would be put into a savings account.
Read this for more tips on saving money from your salary.
18. Use the Power of the Thermostat
Another way to save money quickly can be accomplished each day within the household.
Rather than leaving lights on in which there is no one in the room or by adjusting the thermostat either upwards or downwards depending upon the season, these little actions can begin to accumulate and add up to savings on utility bills.
Read This for more tips on saving money on electricity costs.
19. Engage in Garage Sales
Another way to earn or save some quick money is by having a garage sale.
Often, there are things around the house that have not been used in quite a while and are simply taking up space.
A good way to liquidate these items is to have a garage or yard sale and sell these items to others who enjoy attending yard sales on the weekend.
Also, you can get other friends and family to join in the process and have one mega yard sale.
This can be accomplished by color-coding the price tags on the items and account for each person’s revenue-generating efforts.
Read This for more ways of making money on the weekend!
20. Cut the Cable
Another way to save money immediately is to pick up one’s phone and call their cable provider.
Often, cable service is offered with an introductory deal by one’s cable provider.
However, over the months, this introductory rate begins to run its course and the cable bill subsequently rises.
Realistically, it is difficult to watch as many channels as a cable company provides.
Therefore, why not cut the cable and subscribe two one or two streaming services that offer the channels that one would be interested in.
Saving Money Fast on a Low-Income FAQs
How Can I Force Myself to Save Money With a Low Income?
The best ways to force or encourage you, as an individual, to save as much money as you can even on a low income include:
- Take advantage of automatic transfers
- Make sure you maximize your employer’s 401(k) benefit
- Don’t store any credit card details on any of the electronic devices that you may own
- Pay for purchases using cash or cash back rewards card
Is There a Formula That I Should Use for My Budget?
One rule that can be used to formulate your budget is the 70-20-10 rule.
That rule states that the individual can only spend 70% of the money that they earn; they need to save 20%, and then donate 10% to be used by others.
This rule is fairly simplistic but certainly will work especially as it relates to saving 20% of one’s income.
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The reality in and of life is that an individual can do whatever they set their mind upon doing.
To save money quickly is not dependent upon how much money one has.
If they wish to save money, they will make the effort and make it happen.
The secret is not to concentrate on what you don’t have but on what you do have.
Additionally, an added part of that secret is not to concentrate on where you’re at but where you want to be.