Saving money when you’re earning a low income seems to be impossible for most people. However, if you play your cards rights and if you do your own due diligence, then you will surely find a lot of ways to save money despite having a low income.
Here are some ways on how to save money on a low income.
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Condition Your Mindset – This Too Shall Pass
I grew up in a poor family, and if there’s one thing that I will always be thankful for is that my mother taught me to always look forward and to work hard for a better future. By doing so, it made me realized at an early age that whatever we were going through was just temporary, and in time, we can have the chance to change the future.
This made the day-to-day hardships a bit more bearable because in my mind I believed that it was just temporary and it would soon pass.
This also became my motivation to study harder and to find ways on how to help increase our income as a family. As early as my grade school years, I was already selling (every summer) a variety of stuff in front of our house such as snacks, scalable school projects that we had, etc. Although the income was not that much, it was still a big help for all of us.
Don’t Compare Yourself to Others – Unless to Learn Best Practices
Comparing our situation with the situation of others will only make things feel worse, unless… you are doing so to learn their best practices.
Comparing our situation to others might also make us feel bad about ourselves. It might trigger unnecessary emotions that might block us from staying objective and from staying focus in alleviating ourselves from our current situation.
To be honest, this is easier said than done, but if you couldn’t help it, compare yourself to others just to learn other people’s best practices at work or in life in general.
For example, if you have a friend who seems to be doing better than yourself financially, ask them what their best practices are. Most people are very open to sharing tips and recommendations even it’s about finances if asked properly.
This is actually how I first learned about saving. I met some frugal people at work and I often asked them how they save money, what do they invest in, etc.
This is also my secret in getting promoted (when I was still employed) in a shorter timeframe than most. I asked colleagues a level above me about their jobs, requirements, expectations at their level, etc. And based on the information that I gathered, I established what was needed (usually results) in the shortest time possible, and then I applied for those positions.
Surround Yourself with Like-minded People
This will be a common theme in my blog because I believe in the power of influence regardless if its direct or indirect influence.
If you’re surrounded by people who love to save money, then it will be very easy for you to save money despite the challenges. Tips and tricks about saving money on a low income will come naturally as it becomes part of your daily conversations.
Imagine if you’re surrounded by people who love to spend more than what they earn, chances are you’ll also do the same thing.
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Don’t Ignore Small Opportunities to Save Money
There are a lot of small opportunities that we often ignore because we’re thinking that it will only save us a few Pesos. But if you think about it, those small Pesos, when it accumulates, can easily turn into hundreds or even thousands.
A lot of these small opportunities to save money have been blogged to death already and yet not everyone is still paying attention to it.
Some of these small opportunities to save money include (but not limited to):
- Turn off the lights/electrical appliances that are not in use
- Don’t pay for what you don’t use (e.g. Mobile Plans, etc)
- Save loose change using coin banks or piggy banks
- Use public transportation
- Only buy what you need at the supermarkets/shopping malls
Live on a Budget
Living on a budget doesn’t mean depriving yourself. It only means you are being strategic in using your financial resources (e.g. your salary, side-hustle income, etc) and that you’re living within your means.
If you don’t have a budget yet, then consider tracking your expenses first so you can identify what you usually spend money on.
If you already have a family of your own, then do create a budget together with your partner so you can both agree on the things that you will prioritize and the things that you will omit from your monthly budget.
Pay Yourself First
When I first read about this, I was actually confused about how to do this. I was so conditioned to prioritizing expenditures over savings.
But now, I make it to a point that I pay myself first regardless of how small it is.
Paying yourself first means, putting a portion of your salary into savings first and then the rest will be budgeted to expenses. Of course, this is easier said than done especially for low-income earners.
But I’m encouraging you to try drafting a budget and factor in a 5 – 10% monthly savings. it may not be that much. But what you’re building first is the habit of doing it. You can always make adjustments as you go along the way.
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Consider Making Big Decisions to Save Money
Sometimes, you might need to make big decisions to save money, especially if the situation calls for it. One of those big decisions that can help you save money a lot is moving to a cheaper apartment.
When I was still working, I used to think that living as close as possible to my workplace is the ideal situation. I still believe that it is, but not for everyone (depending on your income and the demands of your job). This is might not be ideal for low-income earners especially when you consider the rising cost of rental apartments in the city.
It might be more cost-efficient for some to live outside the city to save money on rent. Just be sure that when you do your cost analysis, factor in the transportation cost and of course the commute time before making your decision.
Another big decision that can help you save money is by sharing an apartment with other people or bed spacing as it’s cheaper than renting your own apartment.
Personally, I have moved twice in the past few years. My rent got way cheaper while my liveable space got so much bigger as I move farther away from the city.
Earn More Money to Save More Money
Sometimes, it’s really impossible to save anything from our monthly salary because it’s just not enough even for our day-to-day expenses. And one of the best ways to address this issue is to simply earn more money.
The fastest and possibly the easiest way to earn more money is to actually get promoted in your existing company or to move to another company within the same industry for a higher position and higher pay. You can do this by making sure that you meet and exceed whatever is expected from you and of course, to outrank your competitors at work.
However, if taking additional responsibilities at work is not your cup of tea, then consider earning additional money from side-hustles.
Thanks to the internet and to the existing technological advancement of our modern-day society, there are now so many ways to earn additional money at the comfort of your home.
A quick Google search about it will result in a lot of options. My favorite way to earn a side income is to sell online, which, over the years, eventually became my full-time gig.
Grow Your Own Food (Or Some of It)
If there’s one good news that I have observed recently – it’s that people are now learning again how to grow their own food. Due to financial hardships that a lot of us are facing due to the pandemic, a lot of people in my country have resorted to growing their own food in their gardens, on their balconies, inside their homes, in their garages, in front of their house, etc.
Some local governments are even encouraging this by providing seedlings to their constituents.
If there’s one thing that we have all taken for granted (including myself) – it’s the fact that we have forgotten to appreciate that we live in a tropical country (the Philippines) and that our land is fertile and we don’t experience extreme climate.
It’s so easy to grow vegetables in our country compared to other countries with four seasons. We can grow our food all year round!
If you don’t know where to start, then check out Youtube. You will find so many tutorials on how to grow your own food without spending so much money (using recycled materials).
Personally, I have a few pots of herbs that I have been benefitting from in the past two years. Recently, I have been also thinking of planting vegetables on pots.
Think about it! You might even earn a side income by selling your produce or seedlings in your community.
Photo by Elianna Friedman on Unsplash
These are just some of the ways that could help you save money even if you’re earning a low income. The most important thing to keep in mind though is that more than anything else, this is a matter of will rather than skill, especially in our modern-day society wherein information is more accessible than ever.
Even teenagers and seniors in our town are earning money by selling a variety of stuff online. I meet a lot of them whenever I go to our local courier to ship my merchandise. Heck, sometimes, I even get envious of them because they have more sales than I am hahaha!
On a serious note, I’m happy to see that people are giving themselves better chances in life by trying a variety of livelihoods.How to Save Money on a Low Income Click To Tweet
Do you have additional tips and recommendations to share? Feel free to comment down below.
Graham @ Reverse the Crush says
Great post, TH! Getting ahead on a low income is something I’m out to prove. It’s more challenging in the beginning, but I think it’s possible once you get the ball rolling. I really like your 2nd point about not comparing yourself to others. That’s an important one. It’s best to compare yourself to your former self. Small opportunities add up as well. And of course, you probably know I agree that paying yourself first is a major key. I think enjoying the journey and slowly building additional income streams helps.
Thrifty Hustler says
Thank you Graham for your additional input.