Having no savings or a low income can make saving difficult. Where do you begin?
To get good at saving, like anything, it requires baby-steps and consistency.
The biggest mistake I see people make when beginning a savings plan is that they go too hard too soon. My advice? If you think you can save $100 each week, start with $50. Whatever you think you can save, begin with half, but stay consistent. If you can achieve that for 6 months, bump it up to $75.
The habit of saving is more important than the amount you save.
To get another perspective, I’ve asked Jacob Evans from Dollar Diligence to share his thoughts on how to save money when you have no money. Jacob is as diligent as they come with his money and has some great advice to get started with savings.
These money saving strategies will get you in the habit of saving and put you in good stead for down the track.
How to Save Money When You Have No Money & A Low Salary
By Jacob Evans
Though some people are budget conscious, the majority of people simply aren’t. Saving money can be challenging for anyone, but it can be particularly hard when you have no money and a low salary. After all, if you are already broke, it can be hard to find extra money to set aside for a rainy day.
Saving money is possible, though, even when you don’t have a lot of it. Many of us waste money in ways that we don’t even realize — and cutting these little expenses can add up to big savings. So while you may not think that you have any way to cut your budget, there may actually be ways that you can save money — even when you don’t have any.
Map Out Your Expenses
The first step in this process should be figuring out where your money is going. After all, if you don’t track your spending, you won’t know exactly where you can make cuts. By monitoring your spending for at least one month, you will have a better idea of what expenses are necessary and which can be cut to so that you can save some money.
The first step of any budgeting process is tracking all of the money coming into your account and going out each month. Once you understand those numbers, you will have a better sense of where you can trim the budgetary “fat.” Thankfully, there are a number of apps that can make this work relatively easy for you. Many of these apps will sync with your bank accounts so that your purchases and bills are automatically tracked — making it easy to see exactly where your money is going each month.
Start Cutting Your Extraneous Expenses
Once you have a firm grasp of where your money is going, you can start to make cuts.
If you are spending $100 each month on cable, consider whether this is truly a necessary expense. Cutting the cord could save you a significant amount of money — especially if you have subscriptions to Netflix or Hulu on top of your cable bill.
If you have a home phone that you rarely use, or an expensive data plan on your mobile phone on top of your home internet plan, consider if you can downgrade one of these services to save yourself some money. Cutting $20 off of your mobile phone bill might not seem like a lot — but $20 a month over time will add up, particularly if added to the other savings that you will find by cutting costs.
Finally, look at your other discretionary expenses. Are you going out to eat a lot or picking up coffee regularly? If so, consider bringing coffee from home, and staying in more often. These small changes can make a big difference in the amount that you can save each month.
Limit Your Big Expenses
Once you have slashed your non-essential spending, you can then move on to figuring out how to cut your other bills. Your electric and gas bills are necessary expenses — but you can lower them significantly with small steps. Turn off lights when you aren’t in the room, turn your air conditioning up in the summer (and your heat down in the winter), and make sure that you always unplug your electronics when not in use.
These may seem like small things, but each little bit can add up and can reduce your overall bill. The same principle applies to your water bill — keep your showers short and only run the dishwasher and washing machine when full. Each of these steps can save you money, and has the added bonus of being environmentally friendly as well.
When it comes to transportation, consider how often you use your car. While it may not take much gas for you to make a quick trip to the store, it does contribute to wear and tear on your car — which means that you’ll need service and you’ll have to replace it that much sooner. If you can, ride your bike or walk to the store instead of taking your car for those short trips. You’ll save gas and maintenance on your car.
Find New Sources of Income
Finally, having a low salary does not mean that you can’t earn extra money on the side. In 2017, there are more opportunities than ever before to pick up a side gig.
A number of sites offer freelance jobs for writers, photographers, designers and more. If you have a skill, hobby or even something to rent, look online for a way to put your talent (or items) to use.
The money that you earn from a side hustle could go directly towards savings, and help you build up an emergency fund, a retirement savings account, money towards a down payment or towards another financial goal.
While having no money, a low salary, and personal debt, it can make it harder to save money, but it is still possible. By budgeting, cutting expenses and picking up some side gigs, you can work your ways towards a healthy savings account.