When your income is low, putting money aside to save is probably the last thing on your mind. According to Brigitte Madrian, a behavioral economist at Brigham Young University, people often tend to focus on their current situation rather than wondering how things might go in the future — and that includes thinking about saving.
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In an interview with NPR, Madrian said making savings automatic, like automatically withdrawing it from your paycheck before you even see it, is a proven way to save successfully. “By using this automatic approach to saving, many people can save a lot more money than they realize,” she said.
Here are 10 more ways to save money on a low income, and if you choose to implement one or more of them, you’ll see your savings balance grow.
Create a budget
“One of the best ways to save money is to create and stick to a budget,” says former financial advisor and money coach Michael Ryan.
“Once all sources of income are accounted for, list all your necessary expenses, such as rent, utilities, food, and transportation. Once all your expenses are accounted for, you will be able to see how much money you have. remains on each month.This remaining money can then be put into savings.
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Save what you can, whenever you can
“One strategy my clients use is to have a savings account and put some money in when they get paid,” said Jerry Zeigler, personal financial coach and owner of JZ Financial Management.
“If you have to start very low, even as low as $5, then do it. The goal is to start. If he stays in there, then with the next paycheck, put in a little more. If he don’t stay in there, ask yourself why it didn’t and if there are any changes to your budget that can be made to ensure savings are made.”
Zeigler continued, “If going to the movies once a week is what keeps you sane, I don’t want you trying to stop that. Small changes are usually easier. Maybe you could switch to a cheaper morning or cheaper-price per day.Perhaps you could remove the snacks.
Reduce unnecessary expenses
“Another great way to save money is to cut unnecessary expenses,” Ryan said. “For example, if you have a gym membership that you never use, consider canceling it. The easiest way to do that is to sign up for a service like Truebill or Trim.”
Earn a bank bonus
“Some banks will give you a bonus if you create a new account and meet a few simple conditions, such as setting up a direct deposit or maintaining a minimum balance,” said Matthew Dailly, managing director of Tiger Financial.
“Some of the best bank bonus offers allow you to earn up to $250 in as little as a few months. When you sign up for a bonus, read the fine print to see how to receive the reward and how long you have to keep the bonus. Keep an eye out for reserve ratio requirements that could make it difficult to establish or maintain an account, as well as account fees that could eat into your bonus.
Put any extra money directly into savings
“Set aside money that isn’t part of your weekly income,” suggested Carolyn Jones, money coach and owner of The Financial Moment. “Maybe it’s a tax refund or a surprise inheritance. Money that hasn’t been accounted for can sometimes be easily spent as a windfall. set aside and boost your savings account.”
Rent your property
Cara Berkeley of Penny Polly suggested renting out the property you’re not using and transferring your profits to your savings. “You may have assets like an extra bedroom or a garage that you can rent out to generate more income. You can even rent your car from Turo.com to earn more!”
Sara Lohse, Director of Marketing for BFG Financial Advisors made these similar suggestions.
“There are also ways to rent out your space without people staying in your home. Rent out storage space, like a garage, on an app like Neighbor, or rent out your driveway to someone who needs parking if you live near an airport or in a busy urban area.”
Challenge without spending
“A no-spend challenge is when you don’t buy any products for a period of time like a day, a few days, or a week,” says Jacqueline Gilchrist of Mom Money Map.
“You can set ground rules to only spend on necessities. The benefits of taking on a no-spend challenge are that it forces you to think outside the box with what you have and learn new skills to avoid buy anything. When you feel like you don’t have any money coming in, taking on a no-spend challenge can be an eye-opening exercise in finding other ways to save.”
Get a side gig
“The reality is you can’t save a lot of money when you don’t have a lot of money,” Gilchrist said. “What you save is your income minus your expenses and bills. Your expenses can only be reduced by a certain amount. Your income can always be increased.
She added: “It may seem impossible to increase your income in your current job, because you can only negotiate so much. It is much easier to increase your income by getting a second job. There are many work-from-home jobs like being a virtual assistant, accountant, or Pinterest manager that have flexible hours that make it easy to add to a full-time job.”
Use a savings app
“It’s hard to save when someone has a limited income,” said Gary Grewal, CFP and author at Financial Fives.
“My top tips for putting money aside for savings is to use an app like Digit that analyzes your spending to send money to savings. You can also use a rounded savings program like Chime or Acorns so that minimal amounts per transaction are saved, but over time this can add up without seeming like a burden to someone who is about to be paid check to check. “
Use a Cashback credit card to save
“Another tip I have is to use a cashback credit card for whatever you can and then transfer the cashback to your savings account,” Grewal said. “It doesn’t come out of your pocket but still improves your savings.”
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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 10 Ways to Save Money on a Low Income