Low-income earners can often find themselves getting discouraged when it comes to finding ways to save money. When you’re only bringing in a modest paycheck, there might not be much left over to stash away in your savings or investment accounts.
The fact is, low-income earners, do have a small advantage over higher-earning individuals because they often have lower expenses with monthly expenses usually lower and limited to some smaller debts, car repairs, and less rent fee payments.
So before you say there’s no way you could save money fast on a low income, try implementing these strategies!
Housing costs are usually the single most significant expense in most budgets, with the average mortgage payment in the United States being over $1,000 per month. Between the cost of the rent or mortgage payment, maintenance, repairs, insurance, and more, housing can eat up a large percentage of your income, especially in a lower income bracket. So, by keeping your housing payment to a minimum and not renting or buying more space than needed, there will be more money freed up for savings
On the other hand, spending money on a fancier apartment or bigger house could seem like a waste of money in retrospect. Also, don’t forget the reduced costs of maintenance and utilities that are usually associated with lower price properties if you rent a place. To take the savings to a higher level, consider trading work around your rental for a reduction in your rent payment. This can potentially be a win-win situation for your landlord, in your wallet, and if you have the skills, most landlords are receptive to this type of arrangement.
Furthermore, while leaving in the rented apartment, you could also do yard work such as mowing mulching and raking in exchange for a discount. Most importantly, the rent savings should be earmarked for a savings account so that the money saved doesn’t find a home elsewhere. If you get an apartment with a property manager position, you could likely pay no rent at all because apartment building owners often give property managers a free apartment.
So, imagine eliminating the single highest expense of your budget, how them would you not be able to save no matter how meagre your income is? Still, on housing, but in the aspect of utility, keep an eagles eye on your energy cost, and bring it down wherever possible. Switching to LED bulbs as the old incandescent bulbs burn out, can make a difference on that electric bill. Ensure to turn off the lights in rooms that aren’t being used, and unplug electronics that are sitting idle.
Adjust your thermostat to a lower temperature in the winter and higher in the summer. These few degrees will make a small difference in your utility bills that will eventually lead to money saved.
Transportation costs are another huge expense for many. The cost of purchasing a vehicle, ensuring, maintaining, and registering it are all expensive things. Even though most people don’t realize how expensive driving is, when you factor in gas maintenance and depreciation of the car’s value, it could easily be around 50 cents per mile. Drive half-an-hour to the store and half an hour back, and you’ve probably driven at least thirty miles at the cost of $15 per hour driven.
So if possible, substitute your driving habits for walking or biking, especially if you’re in an area suitable for this. Also, take advantage of free transportation when possible. Even if you leave your car parked one or two days per week, instead of driving it every day, there will be savings made. Never mind the health benefits received from exercising.
Avoid Stacking up Debts
Not only does accumulating debt mean that you’ll have more obligations each month, it means you’re postponing financial freedom by paying massive amounts of interest to the credit card companies. According to creditcards.com, the average interest rate on this type of debt is over 17%. This means that if you’re carrying a balance of $10,000 over one year, you’ll have paid $1,700 in interest alone.
By paying off debt quickly or avoiding racking up debt entirely, will equal less interest paid out, and more savings in your pocket.
Social and Entertainment Cost
Social and entertainment costs tend to sneak up on people, especially if their paycheck is somewhat lean. After all, what’s the harm in stopping for a couple of drinks and dinner out after a busy week at work, right? Well, dinner and a movie out for two people could easily cost more than $100, which is a lot of money for low earners.
Instead of heading out for a night on the town, why don’t you have friends and family come over for a potluck dinner? With this, not only will there be more food and leftover items, the cost of drinking soda and alcohol will be slashed one-fifth below what you would have gotten from a restaurant. Also, with this, you all can watch movies at home with an inexpensive streaming service, and make your popcorn instead of paying astronomical prices at the movie theatre.
Also, take advantage of free sources of entertainment and ones that will help you stay fit, such as hiking and biking. And if you’re the type that likes going on concert, budget, and schedule for that expense, and also use coupons and deals found on sites like Groupon to lower the costs.
In a nutshell, even though applying these above tips may seem obvious to your friends and colleagues, if you really want to save money fast while earning a low income, reduce your cost and means of transportation, avoid stacking up debts, reduce your entertainment and social expenses, and live in a house that fits your budget. In other words, live within your means!