How To Save Money Fast On A Low Income (Budget & Saving Tips)
Do you want to know how to save money fast on a low income?
The fact is that there are multiple ways to save money fast on a low income!
But you should know this…
Some might work for you, and others won’t; that’s just how personal finance works, but that’s why this post is packed with money-saving tips that you can use right now!
Let’s get straight into these awesome ways to save money on a tight budget…
Start Saving Money On A Low Income
I’ll keep it straight with you…
To save money fast on a low income, you need to stop worrying about penny-pinching little costs! (for now, at least)
What you need to do is focus on your biggest expenses and find ways to cut costs in these categories, now everyone spends differently, but most people spend most of their money in these three categories:
If you need to save money fast, you need to focus on reducing your biggest expenses first; then, you can move on to other methods to help you save money.
Now let’s dig deeper into this post on how to budget money right now…
Getting Into A Saving Mindset
I’m guessing that if you are reading this post, you are looking for different ways of budgeting, am I right?
But are you serious about saving money?
The reason I ask is that there are many people who want to save money, and they might start saving money but then stop after a while.
This is definitely not the way to go about saving money at all!
To save money and stick with it for the long haul, you need to develop a saving mindset and focus on how much you can improve your life if you take control of your money.
Now the question is how can you develop a saving mindset?
My little speech right here will probably not do it for you. You need to read books to educate yourself about the world of personal finance and why you should take your finances seriously.
The best book you can read to develop a saving mindset is a book called Your Money Or Your Life by Vicki Robin.
I know I’m asking you to spend some money right now but trust me; this is one of the best investments you can make in your life.
Cut Down On Your Biggest Expenses To Save Money
As I stated earlier, before you start penny-pinching, you should first focus on saving money on your biggest expenses.
This way, you are spending your time getting the best results possible!
For most people, the three biggest expenses are food, transportation, and housing.
Let’s break down these three expenses, and you will see how to save money fast!
We all have to eat to survive, but there is no reason to spend an arm and a leg on food expenses.
Here are a few tips to save money fast on your food expenses:
- Stick To A Budget
You should have a set amount you plan to spend on grocery shopping; now, stick to it!
It is very common to get carried away when grocery shopping and end up purchasing items you don’t need or really want.
These items usually go bad and then end up in the trash!
So, stick to only the items you need and do your best to stay within your budget.
- Shop On A Full Stomach
A very neat way to save money when grocery shopping is to always shop on a full stomach.
It sounds strange, but this is one of the best ways to curb impulse purchases because you are not drooling (no, not literally… I hope) over all the food in the grocery store.
This is a great way to ensure you are only buying items you need!
- Limit Eating Out
I’m not one to diminish my quality of life for some extra money, but if you really want to know how to boost your savings, you have to sacrifice a few things.
One of those things is eating out!
Now I’m not telling you to quit eating out entirely, but you should definitely limit the amount you eat out if you want to save money fast.
Try packing lunch to work every day (you can have one day a week to buy lunch at work to keep your sanity), and try going out less often to save more money.
You have to make some sacrifices now to improve your financial life, and then you can have more luxuries later on.
- Use Ibotta
If you want to know how to save money fast on food without giving up anything, then you must check out ibotta.
Ibotta is an awesome app that will help you save $100’s on food!
With ibotta, you will be able to get cashback for purchasing grocery items you were already buying!
All you have to do is install ibotta for free here, and then when you are going grocery shopping, hop onto the app and activate the cashback offers.
Then after you finish shopping, scan your receipt in ibotta, and then you will get real cash!
Also, if you sign up to ibotta with my link you can get up to $20 for free!
Another big expense is transportation costs (well, if you own a vehicle, that is), and you should really look for ways to reduce costs in any way you can.
Here are some ways you can reduce your transportation costs:
- Swap Car For a Cheaper Alternative
The best but not so easy way to save money on transportation is to swap your car for a cheaper one.
For example, a Mercedes Benz is definitely much more expensive than a Toyota, not only in purchase price but in maintenance costs, gas, and basic wear and tear.
By switching to a cheaper and more reliable car, you can save a lot of money in the long run!
- Shop Around For Car Insurance
Car insurance is one of the most expensive aspects of owning a car; a simple and legitimate way to save money fast on car insurance is to go with another company.
Shopping around for car insurance is an easy way to save money on transportation costs.
Check out Gabi, which can help you compare car insurance from different companies to see which one offers the best price.
Gabi states they save users an average of $865 on car insurance! Definitely check them out.
- Find Cheap Gas
Gas is one of the other most expensive aspects of owning a car, but unfortunately, you need gas to run your car! (Unless you own a Tesla or other fully electric car)
Most of us don’t own fully electric cars yet, so buying gas is necessary.
The best way to save money on gas is to find the cheapest gas station in your area, and you can do this easily with GasBuddy.
GasBuddy is an awesome app that can help you find cheap gas wherever you are!
- Ditch Your Car Completely
An extreme but sometimes necessary step is to ditch your car completely and take public transportation to save money.
Now, of course, this will not work if you live in a rural area, but if you live in a big city like NYC or LA, public transportation can work just fine.
I know public transportation can be stressful, but if you really need to save money, you might need to make some sacrifices now to live better later on.
- Take Care Of Your Car
A very simple and legitimate way to save money on your car is to take care of it!
Taking care of your car can reduce maintenance costs and repairs, which can be a real drag on your wallet.
Also, by keeping your tires inflated at the recommended PSI, you can save money on gas!
So, take care of your car so you can get more out of it.
The biggest cost of all is housing costs; whether you own your own house/condo or rent, it is still one of our biggest expenses.
- Negotiate Rent
If you are a renter, a simple way to save money fast is to negotiate the rent with your landlord.
Let them know you are having a tough time financially and you are struggling to pay your rent.
Ask them if they can lower the rent and mention to them that if the rent cannot be lowered, you will have to be forced to rent somewhere else.
Your landlord will most likely work with you (especially if you are a good tenant) due to the fact that they don’t want to lose out on a good tenant.
- Rent Somewhere Else
If you are unable to negotiate your rent or lower it by any other means, then it might be time to move somewhere else.
Yes, this is a big step, but it can save you a lot of money!
Just look around and get an idea of how much you can save if you rent somewhere else. First, look in a close radius to where you currently live and then expand the distance.
If you find a place where you would like to move to, go for it and save some money!
- Get A Roommate
Sometimes moving is not an option, so why not get a roommate?
A roommate will help you split the cost of rent or mortgage, which will help you save a ton of money over the long term.
I know getting a roommate can be a hit or miss, meaning there are some really bad roommates out there, but there are also good people out there looking to save money, just like you.
Vet potential roommates and see who will be the best fit, or better yet, try rooming with some friends or family.
A huge problem with most Americans is that they buy too much house, meaning they are paying for space they don’t even use.
To save money, you can downsize to a smaller house which I admit is not an easy task but can save you a boatload of money!
Track Expenses & Start A Budget
If you really want to know how to save money fast, you need to start tracking your expenses and then start a budget.
I know this can seem like a long and hard process, but this lays the foundation to find where to cut costs to save more money!
You can take the easy route and use Mint to track your spending automatically! All you have to do is link your bank accounts to Mint so it can track how and where you are spending your money.
If you spend cash a lot, then you will have to enter this in Mint manually, and there are also security concerns with linking bank accounts to Mint which can be a turn-off for some people.
The other option is a good old Excel or Google Spreadsheet where you can track your spending. This is a manual process, but some people rather have this option due to how involved you are.
Mint is great due to its passive nature, but you can forget to check it and review your financial standing.
Do whatever method works best for you, and most importantly, do the method you are going to stick with.
After you have all your expenses tracked, it’s time to start to find areas where you can cut costs.
We’ll dig deeper into cutting costs soon, but for now, have a loose budget and note some areas where you think you are able to cut costs.
Get Free Money From The Government
If you are having a tough time trying to save money, then getting some help is no shame.
Who is better to ask for help from other than the government?!
There are certain government assistance programs you can reach out to if you have a hard time affording things such as heating/cooling costs, childcare, unemployment assistance, etc…
Head over to benefits.gov to see a list of all the U.S. government assistance programs available.
If you reside in another country, dig around to see if any government assistance programs are available to you.
Note that you have to be eligible for most assistance programs from the government, with household income most likely being the deciding factor.
Also, along with federal assistance programs, there are state assistance programs you also check out.
Use Free Money Apps To Boost Your Income
The technology era shows that you are not alone in your money-saving efforts. Many apps can help you save money fast and even apps that can help you get free money!
Here are some apps that can give you free money right now:
Swagbucks is an awesome site/app where you can make extra money doing surveys and save money by getting cash back on your purchases.
And get this…
If you sign up to Swagbucks with my link you will get $5 for free!
Swagbucks is only offering this gift for a limited time, so get it while it lasts!
MyPoints is similar to Swagbucks because you can take paid surveys and get cash back for simply buying things.
Plus, MyPoints will give you a sign-up bonus as well!
By signing up with my link you will get $5 for free!
One of my favorite apps to save money on everyday purchases is Dosh.
Dosh is a cash-back app that automatically gives you money on your purchases without activating offers as other cash-back apps require. All you need to do is link the debit cards and credit cards you shop with.
When you sign up to Dosh with my link and link your first card with Dosh, you will get $1 for free.
I definitely recommend using Dosh to save money fast on a low income!
One of the oldest and honestly best cash-back sites to save money when shopping is Rakuten (formerly Ebates).
Rakuten is an awesome cash-back platform I have used for years and will use for many years to come!
They are partnered with 1,000’s of stores, meaning you will get cash back on almost anything you purchase.
Plus, when you sign up to Rakuten with my link you will get $10 for free!
All you have to do is purchase $25 worth of items within 90 days to get your free $10, which is super easy to do!
The last platform I want to go over where you can get free money by simply signing up is InboxDollars.
InboxDollars is purely a money-making site where you can make money by doing surveys, playing games, watching videos, searching, etc…
InboxDollars will give you $5 for absolutely free when you sign up with my link!
Pay Down Debt
By staying in debt, you are throwing money away each month in interest!
You need to start focusing on paying down your debt and not just the minimum payment; you have to try paying off more than you usually do.
Save as much money as you can but try to pay off debt whenever you can with whatever you can because with debt, it can feel like you are taking one step forward but two steps backward.
Dealing with debt is a financial burden, and you should be working towards getting out of it as soon as possible!
An awesome app that helps you save money is Trim which can help you save money fast on unwanted subscriptions.
The way it works is like this…
Just sign up to Trim for free and then link your bank accounts to the app (don’t worry it’s secure).
Then Trim will analyze your spending to find all the subscriptions you are paying for and cancels them for you if you don’t want them anymore.
Trim will negotiate with your provider on your behalf for your internet and cable bill to get you a lower price.
Trim is an awesome free app that should be included in your money-saving strategy!
Another awesome app I use alongside Trim is Paribus, which is truly amazing!
Paribus is a price protection app that will give you the difference in price for products if the price drops within a certain period.
For example, if you bought a product for $100 and then a few days later, it drops to $60, then with Paribus, you can get $40 back!
This is an oversimplification because every store and credit card has different price protection policies, but Paribus works with these companies to get your money back.
Paribus is free and all you have to do is link your email where you get receipts and your credit cards you shop with and Paribus will work to get you price differences.
Get Paribus for free right now!
Refinance Student Loans
One of the biggest reasons people are in financial distress nowadays is student loans.
According to Forbes, student loans have crossed over $1 trillion dollars, and in 2017 the average student loan debt per person was $28,650.
Sadly, these numbers keep increasing, but wages are not keeping up!
There are people who graduate college with $1,000’s in student loan debt and find themselves in minimum-wage jobs.
These people don’t have the income needed to pay off their loans in a timely manner which leads to interest building up month after month.
If you can relate to this, you should consider refinancing your student loans to ease the burden.
Student loan refinancing might or might not be a good option, so you should definitely do your research before jumping straight into this.
If you are considering student loan refinancing check out companies like earnest or SoFi.
Cut Some Things Out
One of the best ways to save money fast on a low income is to cut out some things from your life.
If you are struggling financially, you should make some sacrifices to create a better financial life for yourself and your family.
It’s possibly the best way to save money with low income!
Here are some of the best things to cut out (at least temporarily):
You should definitely cut out cable if you are still paying for it. Consider opting for a cheaper alternative like Hulu.
If you would still like to keep sports channels and such, then opt for Sling TV, which is a much better option than overpaying for cable.
As we’ll review in the Financial Smoker Method section, you should cut smoking out!
Not only does it drain your pockets, but it also takes years off your life. Save money every month and get healthier by cutting out smoking.
Brand Name Items
If you are struggling financially, you should not buy brand-name items at insane markups!
Keep it simple for now and save as much money as you can; you can have your brand name items after you improve your financial standing.
There are many other items you should cut out to save money. Head over to my post on things you should stop buying right now to learn more!
If you want to know how to budget money, you need to implement the 72-hour rule in your life!
The 72-hour rule works like this…
Every time you see an item you want to buy, wait 72 hours before purchasing the item. That’s it!
It’s super simple yet effective because it helps you to curb impulse purchases. These are items you might not even want after a few days.
This is why the 72-hour rule works so well!
So, the next time you see an item you want, wait for 72 hours and see if you still want the item. If not, then you can save your money.
Shop Second Hand
If you are struggling to save money, then you should stop buying new items all the time and consider shopping secondhand.
Of course, there are some items you would never want to buy second-hand, which is perfectly fine, but you should definitely do so for some other items.
Check out consignment shops and thrift stores in your area to find high-quality items at low prices!
Sell Some Stuff For Extra Money
If you are struggling to save money and finding yourself in tough times, consider selling some of your non-essential items.
Selling your things is one of the best ways to make some extra income fast, and you can use this money to pay for necessities and save the rest!
So, go through all of your items and see which ones you can live without and sell them on Craigslist, eBay, Facebook Marketplace, etc…
Selling some stuff is one of the best living on low-income tips to get some extra cash!
Negotiate On Everything To Save Money Fast
One of the easiest ways to save some money is to negotiate with pretty much everything.
I said pretty much everything because you can’t negotiate the price of groceries, gas, etc…
You can negotiate on certain bills like your cable bill (if you want to keep it), your cellphone bill, car insurance, internet bill, credit card rates, etc…
Negotiating with companies to get a lower price for products/services works great because they will pretty much do anything to keep you as a customer rather than lose you.
So, pick up the phone and start negotiating; you will be surprised at how much you can save!
Financial Smoker Method
A neat trick to save money fast on a low income is what I like to call the Financial Smoker Method.
The Financial Smoker Method is essentially acting like a smoker who buys a pack of cigarettes a week, but you are transferring this amount to a savings account.
It’s a unique way to save money that you should try!
However, if you are a smoker, you should consider quitting, not only for the money but also for the health consequences that come with it.
Find Cheap Entertainment
Even though this post has been going on and on about cutting things out, you should still have some fun from time to time to keep your sanity.
Don’t just go and spend your money like you’re crazy. Find cheap entertainment options on places like Groupon and Living Social.
Try some free activities like hiking, picnics in the park, free museums, etc…
An awesome challenge that can help you save money every day and get you in the saving mindset is the 1-on-1 challenge.
Doing the 1-on-1 challenge is super simple; it works like this:
Just save $1 every single day; that’s it!
If you really want to know how to budget money, the 1-on-1 challenge is a great way to do so.
Saving $1 a day will allow you to save $365 a year, which is not jaw-dropping, but it’s a good amount for someone with a low income.
After you do the 1-on-1 challenge for a while and you feel like you can save more, increase the amount of money you are saving while keeping the time frame the same.
For example, an increase to a 2-on-1 or a 3-on-1 saving rate.
Give Your Savings Account A Boost
A very simple way to save more money than usual is to switch banks!
For your checking account, you should definitely go for one of the bigger banks like Chase, Citibank, TD, etc… because they have branches all over the place.
You don’t need to access your savings account all the time (it is better if you don’t), so you should opt for an online bank like CIT Bank.
Why would you do this?
For one simple reason… Interest!
Putting money in a savings account and letting it sit is great, but it is much better to let that money grow while sitting there!
To be fair, big banks like Chase or Citibank do offer interest on their savings account, but it is usually around 0.01%, which is horrible!
CIT Bank offers over 2% interest with their savings account, so you can let your money grow while you keep saving!
I highly recommend checking out CIT Bank and consider opening a high yield savings account with them.
If you really want to know how to boost your savings account, then you need to set up automatic deposits with your bank!
Most, if not all, banks offer automatic deposits that you can set up in a few minutes.
If you are not taking advantage of this awesome savings account feature, then you really should!
When you get paid, have your job automatically send a percentage of your paycheck (whatever you can afford) to your savings account.
If you get paid in cash, then, unfortunately, you will have to save your money manually, so if you have the option, definitely opt for a direct deposit in your bank account.
If you really want to know how to start budgeting effectively, then you need to do whatever it takes to stop spending money.
This means you should make an effort to do a lot of things yourself and not pay other people to do them for you.
Simple home maintenance tasks and car maintenance/repairs can be done by yourself to save money!
You don’t have to be an expert carpenter or mechanic, but simple tasks are definitely doable, and with the power of the internet, you can find guides on how to do these things step-by-step.
Save On Utilities
If you really want to know how to save money extra money, then you need to be cautious about how you use your utilities.
To save money easily, turn off the lights when you are not using them, invest in energy-saving light bulbs, take off the water when brushing your teeth, take shorter showers, etc…
There are so many ways you can save money on your utility bill; you need to implement them in your life!
Check out my post on 25 ways to save money on utilities to learn some other awesome living on low-income tips.
Have A No-Spend Day
An interesting and legitimate way to save money every month is to have a “no-spend day” once a month.
So, once a month, you will have one day where you try to spend absolutely no money that day!
Now, of course, if you need necessities that day, you will have to spend money but try to prepare for your no-spend day in advance.
This means no eating out, buying any wants, shopping, etc…
For just one day a month, do your best to spend absolutely nothing!
Saving money is great, and I always advocate saving as much as you can, but this can be hard for some people.
The fact is there is only so much you can save when you already have a low income.
So even though you are looking for ways to save money fast on a low income, you should also be looking for ways to make some extra money.
If you want to make big money, you should look for some side hustles, getting a new job, a promotion, etc…
If you are looking for ways to make some money here and there from the comfort of your own home and on your own time, then look no further than these awesome survey sites:
One of my favorite survey sites ever is ySense because they have good payouts and they are available in most countries.
With ySense, you can make money wherever you want (as long as you have an internet connection) and on your own time!
Sign up to ySense for free and start making money today!
Another awesome survey site that can pay pretty well is Survey Junkie, which can make you a pretty penny in your free time.
Survey Junkie is only available to those who reside in the U.S., Canada, and Australia.
So, if you reside in one of these countries, I highly recommend signing up for Survey Junkie!
The last survey site I want to mention is PaidViewpoint which is available in all countries and allows you to make money on your own time.
Since PaidViewpoint is available to everyone and you will never be disqualified from a survey, I highly recommend signing up for this survey site.
Check out PaidViewpoint now and get $1 just for completing the registration process!
This post gives you many tips on how to save extra money, but I have to drop a truth bomb on you…
Saving money might not be enough.
For example, if someone makes 100k a year and their needs come up to about $30k a year, but they spend $50k+ in wants, then yes, of course, saving money should be the main focus for this person.
But on the other hand…
If a person makes $25k a year and their needs (after budgeting, cost-cutting, etc…) add up to around $23k a year, there isn’t much room to save money.
I know… I know… you can play around with the math, but the point is that there is only so much you can save, but there is always room to make more money.
If you are feeling stuck and having a hard time finding ways to save money, then saving money shouldn’t be your main focus right now.
You should find ways to make extra money in your free time!
Consider driving with Lyft, delivering with DoorDash, or find odd jobs on sites like TaskRabbit and FlexJobs.
Sometimes you need to put in extra work to make extra cash!
An awesome app that helps you save and invest at the same is Acorns, and you should definitely check this out if you are ready to start investing your money!
Acorns is a great app for beginners because it is truly a set-it-and-forget-it investing app that is super easy to use.
The best feature that Acorns offers is the round-up feature that rounds your purchases to the nearest dollar and invests the difference!
This way, you are saving money without really noticing it and investing your money automatically so it can grow in the stock market.
When you sign up to Acorns with my link you will get $5 for free when you start funding your account!
A big step you can take to save money is to become a minimalist.
This is a huge step because it is more of a lifestyle change than a temporary solution.
Most people see minimalism as diminishing your quality of life and essentially living like a hermit crab.
This could not be farther from the truth!
Minimalism is simply the act of living on less while keeping the same quality or even improving the quality of your life.
Minimalism is a lifestyle change that can save you a lot of money and help you achieve a freer and more fulfilled life.
I know it can be difficult to save money, but with these awesome ways to save money on a tight budget, you will finally learn how to take control of your finances!
The most important money-saving tip I can give you is to START SAVING NOW! It doesn’t matter how much you save now; you must focus on starting first.
Remember that the first tip in this post was to develop a saving mindset; without the right mindset, you won’t succeed.
With the right mindset and these saving money tricks in this post, you will be on your way to a healthy financial lifestyle and start saving a lot of money fast!
Be sure to check out my post on stuff I Stopped Buying To Save Money and ways I Save Money Every Month!
What is your favorite money-saving tip from this list? Have any other tips on how to save money when you have a low income? Let me know in the comments below!
Hi, really good article and appreciating work. Thanks For Sharing. Keep up the Good Work and keep writing the wonderful article like this.
Thank you, Antonette. Much appreciated!