It becomes challenging to live when you have a low income. Not everyone is privilege to earn in thousands of dollars and spend their day’s stress-free. More than half of the world’s population lives on a low income.
If you are earning less and struggling to live on a tight budget, this article will explore some brilliant tips on how to save money on a low income.
When the world hit the pandemic situation, the lives of many people went from good to the worst. People lost their jobs when a majority of companies layoff their employees.
Many got jobs below their level of experience. To feed their family, many landed in jobs like food delivery, Uber driver, vegetable vendor and so on.
There is nothing to be ashamed of. Bad times come and go. It is a life lesson. Coming to the point of
How to save money on a low income
Set a Tight Monthly Budget
Having a low income makes you do things that you might not want to do. It can be tough to save money and meet the daily needs of each month.
That’s why setting a tight monthly budget can make things a little easier. It will help you stay on track on your spending and help you with the disaster.
Budgeting will also give you an idea of where your money goes each month and where you can cut the expenses to save money.
The issues you might face during budgeting are to be realistic about your financial status and prepared to be making some sacrifices.
For example, this month you target to save at least 10% of your income. You have been thinking of buying a phone for a long time and there is a new model of Samsung in the market that you like and wish to buy.
But, there comes an emergency where you have to spend some money for the repair of your refrigerator and room heater. The part of your savings went here, and you prolonged with your existing phone to avoid spending more for this month.
But at the end of the month, you have saved 8% from your income, which is a success in the path.
Lower your housing cost
By lowering your housing cost, you will have more money to spend on other necessary things. But how can you reduce the housing cost?
Here are a few ways –
Look for affordable home in a decent location.
If you live in a high-cost city or society, consider moving out and look for a smaller space.
If you have a house/apartment, consider renting out the space and move out to a smaller space or to any government help house program.
The rent you will get from your apartment can be used in other things.
Find out creative ways of reducing your living expenses.
Also, if you live in a rented apartment, instead of paying the entire rent alone, consider sharing with a roommate.
Keep no debt
Having debt is one of the most dangerous thing for your financial independence. And, when you have a low income, the smartest thing you can do is to keep no debt at all.
When people have minimum income, they usually get tempted to take loans to fulfil their desires. Keeping your purchasing impulses under control is crucial.
As your income is less, and you have to fulfil your daily needs, you can not keep adding loan amount. Imagine the level of stress you will have to go through when you have to pay back the loan amount with interest through EMIs.
If you have no debt, you will have more money to save. If your heart wishes to buy something, consider saving first and wait until you have enough money to spend.
Make saving a habit
Saving is a great rescuer in the time of emergency. People in the early 30s often think ‘we are earning good, we deserve to enjoy life’ and they keep on increasing their spending.
Eventually, during emergency, when they need a surplus amount, they go dry.
If you practice saving from the inception, you will never have to face such a situation when you haven’t planned anything or have no money left.
Making saving a habit will help you even if you have a limited income.
Sell your new car & buy a used car
I have written an article on ‘how to save money on a used car’ where the article explores the ways on how can you save thousands of dollars if you choose a used car over a new car.
Certainly, your income is less and even if you desire to buy a new car, it will harm you financially and mentally more.
You are likely to get a less chance of getting a loan approved from the bank, if they think you won’t be able to pay the EMIs based on your current salary.
You can avoid all these and directly buy a used car if you want a car.
Financially, it won’t affect you much if you plan it properly. You can start saving a little for a year or two, and when you have enough savings to buy a used car, you can look out for the best deal.
Now, if your situation is somewhat different, say, you had a decent job where you earned a decent figure, but you lost the job. Your earning is low now as compared to the previous.
If you sell your existing car and trade-in with a used car, it will save you money and you can use it on something else.
Avoid wasting food
Food waste happened when you buy more than what you need. You buy food items that you don’t use and let them waste in the refrigerator.
Food waste is a huge issue in the USA and people can’t figure out what to buy and what not. It can happen to anyone if you don’t know how to properly plan your food meal.
You can reduce your food waste by planning ahead your weekly meal. List out all the food items that you need to purchase and stick to them.
Cook and eat only that much you want or can consume in a day.
Don’t stuff your refrigerator with more food. Last, use the leftovers.
If you follow these few tips, food waste will never happen to you. Thus, your more will be spent wisely on food.
Recently, I paid a yearly premium for my health insurance and it’s no secret that they are costly, especially when your income is low. They can give you heartache.
Interestingly, health insurance can also save you money. The premium amount you are paying can cover you on your medical expenses in an emergency.
Having a health insurance is a support you must need. But different health insurance companies have different plans for price range.
Before you go with any company, evaluate the premium cost and programs of each insurance company. Choose the one that you find suit the best for you and meet your requirement.
Do mindful grocery shopping
Do mindful grocery shopping when your monthly income is low. You have set a monthly budget and you know how much to spend on a grocery shopping. Make a list and stick to them.
To save more, use coupons and look for a store, which has discounts.
I won’t suggest buying in bulk, as it may lead to food wastage, but you can shop when there is a weekend sale going on.
Like this, it will be easier for you to figure out how to save money on groceries.
Use coupons and cashback
Living on a tight budget is tough, but with mindful shopping and planning, it is possible to save some money by the end of the month.
These days people love using coupons and cashback. There are coupons when you do online shopping. There are cashback opportunities for certain products.
Take advantage of the coupon websites and look for the best deal for saving money. When making a purchase through these sites, you can use the coupons to get a discount.
For example, in India, I use SWIGGY, an online food delivery app. On every online food, order you get a coupon which gives you discount on your food.
Although I say others not to use Credit cards much, but I use them only because I get coupons. I use HDFC bank credit card. It is one of the biggest bank in India and many reputed brands are associated with it.
Every purchase, I redeem coupons. I bought a trimmer, a mixture grinder, an extendable hard drive, a BOAT headphone all using the coupons.
Honestly, these coupons have helped me save a lot of money on each product.
Cancel all your memberships
If you have a gym membership, cancel it immediately to save money.
I never find membership scheme helpful. Clubs and gyms are the one that offer you to go with their membership plan claiming to save your money.
Paying upfront for any services is not a good idea. Especially, when you are struggling to find ways to save money because of your low income, cancelling a membership is a must do act.
Stop using credit card
You might have caught me on this point. Yes, I use credit card but that’s because my bank gives me coupons that help me save money on purchasing of electronic goods.
Otherwise, using a credit card is not very helpful. If you are a very calculative person, it will let lose your money easily.
Do you count your money every time you swipe?
It’s not possible to do that regularly. You hardly keep a tab on your monthly spending when you use credit cards extensively for payments.
I rather suggest either you use a debit card or the best option is to pay in cash. Though the world enjoys going digital. You can pay in a second with just one click. With the perks, it has the biggest disadvantage too.
I find the traditional way of payment the best way to save money and to keep a tab on every dime I am spending.
Carry CASH and pay CASH.
Don’t delay your bills
Delaying bills can lead to more financial stress when you have a low income. When you have bills to pay, pay them early. You won’t be charged any late fee.
Often people make the mistake of paying their bills late and end up paying extra money as a late fee.
You can easily cut that extra cost by avoiding paying late.
Build good habits
Building good habits can help you live a healthy life. Develop a good eating habit, have no addiction, build a good financial habit, keep your body and mind healthy.
Start a side hustle
A side hustle is a good way to add extra income monthly. If you have a low income, start turning your passion into a money-making profession. It can be anything. Do what you are good at.
If you are passionate about cooking, start a food joint. If you love writing, become a freelance writer. You can be a pizza delivery guy with your regular job.
Anything that brings you money and increases your monthly income.
Cut down your entertainment subscription plans
With the digital world at its peak now, streaming platforms are swarming. All having subscription plans which offer you to watch unlimited content.
How many do you have?
There are so many having amazing content to consume. The entertainment industry has made a shift, and it’s booming ever since.
But the truth is, all this subscription based platforms are making money from you. You can easily save by cutting down the plans and keep only one that pleases you the most.
Buy only what’s needed
When you create a budget, you will know how much money you will have to spend monthly to buy what’s needed.
As you have a limited income, sticking to the budget is the only way to save money. Make a list of things that you need each month and spend money only on them.
At the end of the month, when you have saved enough from your salary, spend some to buy what you desire.
For example, your washing machine is not working any longer, and it needed to be repaired. This is your need for this month.
You desire to buy a new sports shoe, this is your want which can be waited for the next month or so.
Thus, spend money on the things that you need.
Travel more on public transport
If you hail from a middle-class family, you would know how public transport saves money. Buses and trains are for the masses. The cost of traveling on them is low as compared to traveling by a car.
You can easily avoid the parking and gas cost. Plus, the benefit of traveling through public transport is you get to walk, which is a great exercise.
Though in many metropolitan cities, public transport is the saver of time and money both. In cities like New York, LA, London, Seattle, Mumbai, Bangalore traffic causes a huge mess. Traveling by car feels like a curse.
Public transport, especially trains, gives the respite here.
I know how affordable traveling by local train is. I have spent 10 years traveling by trains to college, university and to my workplace when I was living in my hometown.
Now, I live in Pune where driving seems fine occasionally.
Look for the best saving plans
Earning less and saving less can be stressful. You are constantly in thoughts of how to secure your family in the long run.
Look for some good saving plans where you can save on taxes and you will get a decent return after maturity. There are several banks that offer savings accounts with more interest rate.
You can also look for government bonds or savings schemes that are tax free and allow you to earn more in the long run.
Save your and your family’s future with the savings.
You can do so much with the DIY concept and that saves money, too. You can watch videos on YOUTUBE for the DIY ideas and utilise them in your need.
For example, a few days back, my car got a light dent in the door’s side. I knew it will going to cost me a hefty amount if I give my car to the service centre.
My husband and I thought of doing some DIY. We used boiling water on the dent by pouring it little by little for like 10 minutes. After that, the dent was partially gone like magically.
Honestly, this trick saves us a lot of money. The dent is still there, but it is not visible. It worked 90%.
You can literally save thousands of dollars yearly on utility bills. If you use them smartly and wisely, you will save money and that won’t affect your savings, even if your income is low.
Switch off the lights and fans when not in use. Use energy-saving electronic products. When you have a low income, move to a smaller place where your utility consumption will be less. Hence, you will have a low bill cost.
There are many small tricks that if you follow will help you saving money on utility bills. You can go and check out the article ‘How to save on utility bills.’
Last words –
It doesn’t matter how much you are earning. You can always save if you have the saving habit and if you control your spending.
Everyone wants to earn more, there is no limit to it. One who is earning $5000 a month will desire to earn more. One whose monthly income is around $15000 will still feel it’s not sufficient. There is no end to it.
Learn to be happy with what you have now. Save a little first and spend the rest on your needs and entertainment.
What to do when you’re broke?
When you are broke, it can feel like there is nowhere to turn. But there are plenty of things you can do to get back on your feet.
First, take a close look at your spending and see where you can cut back. If you are in debt, figure out how much you can realistically afford to pay each month. Once you have a clear picture of your financial situation, it is time to start making some changes.
Cut out unnecessary expenses and make sure you are not overspending.
And if you are not bringing in enough money, look for ways to increase your income. This could mean getting a part-time job or selling some of your belongings that you no longer need.
No matter what your financial situation is, there are always steps you can take to improve it. With a little of effort and some careful planning, you can get back on track financially.
How do I save while broke?
There are a few things you can do to stretch your dollars and make saving easier. Here are a few tips for saving money when you’re broke.
You can save money by cutting back on unnecessary expenses. For example, if you eat out often, try cooking more at home. By shopping at discount stores or using coupons, you can save money.
Saving money can be accomplished by cutting back on small expenses over time. You can track your spending and see where your money is going each month by using a budget.
If you are struggling to save even a small amount of money each month, start by setting aside $5-10 per week. This can be a helpful tool in identifying areas you can cut back on. Once you have a small cushion saved up, you can start working on saving more.