Just about everyone understands the importance of saving money. You need to have a little bit of money set aside in case there’s an emergency or a car repair you need to make or a medical bill you weren’t expecting. You also want to save for something fun, like a vacation or a present for your special someone. Saving money is easy when you have money. But, how can you save money from a low salary job? If every dollar is accounted for, where can you find that extra money to put away?
Here are 7 tips on how to save money, even if you’re working a low salary job.
Start Small And Grow
When you’re not earning a lot, putting away 10 percent of your paycheck or a flat $100 probably seems impossible. Don’t be afraid to start small. Your financial plan needs a line item for savings, even if it’s only one dollar.
So start with a dollar. Put away a dollar every week, even if it’s just in an envelope instead of a bank account. If you can save that one single dollar every week for a full month, try two dollars per week the following month. Soon, you’ll have enough to bank, and you’ve learned how to live on a few dollars less every week. Then, you can really get your savings plan rolling.
Automate The Savings Plan
Once you work up to being able to save five dollars a week, start putting that savings into a separate account automatically. This will ensure that the first five dollars (or whatever amount you decide) from each paycheck goes into your savings first. You eliminate the temptation to use that money for other things. Automated savings will hold you accountable and make it easier for you to save.
Take Advantage Of Every Available Benefit
Save money by spending less on things that may be provided for you. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), for example, helps 42 million people.pay for food in the United States. Unfortunately, not all eligible households utilize these benefits. If your income level meets the threshold, take advantage of this benefit and put what you’d spend on groceries into your savings account. Find out if you can lower your healthcare costs through the Healthcare Marketplace.
Build A Better Budget
To save money from a low salary job, you’re going to need a little help. Learn how to budget so that you can incorporate a savings plan into how you balance what is earned and spent. Download one of the more popular budget apps, for example, where you can access calculators and tips on how to see where you’re spending most of your money. You need to know what’s coming in and what’s going out before you can build a stronger savings account.
Take All Available Retirement Matches
If you’re not earning a lot of money right now, saving for retirement might seem impossible. But, it’s important to get started right away. If your employer offers a company match for a 401(k) or a 403(b) retirement plan, at least contribute whatever amount earns their match. For example, if they offer to match your own contributions up to three percent, try to reach that three percent. This is pre-tax income, so you won’t have to take it out of your paycheck. It’s already been deducted before you get paid. If you can do this, your company is saving money for you.
Those credit card bills are always going to prohibit better savings habits. Every year, Americans pay a collective $120 billion in credit card interest. Avoid taking any new loans, unless it’s a low-interest loan that can help you pay off and consolidate debt smartly. Keep your credit score high, so that if you do need a new card or a loan, you can get the lowest possible interest rate. You’ll save more when you borrow less.
See Where You Can Spend Less
It’s never easy to cut back on what you’re spending, but when you’re trying to save money from a low salary job, it’s helpful to think about the long term and what you’re trying to achieve with your savings goals. There are some pain-free ways to spend less of your paycheck, too. Go to the library to rent movies and books instead of buying them. You can probably cut back on your streaming services and use more wi-fi and less cell data so your plan doesn’t cost you more. Think about whether it’s possible to give up the car and take the bus. Can you reduce housing expenses by taking in a roommate or moving in with one? Look at all your options and see where you can start saving up those few dollars every week.
Shawn Manaher is a former financial advisor, has founded 5 online businesses, and is a coach, speaker, podcast host, and author.
He’s been featured on Forbes, The Consults Corner on TAE Radio, The Writing Biz, What’s Your Story, and more.
He loves to share his personal finance tips and money management wisdom with others on his website, ShawnManaher.com, to help them find financial freedom.