When we first went from two incomes down to one after Sofía was born, I sort of played the “we can’t save money” game. Looking back, had I decided that we should put X amount away each paycheck, we would’ve been in a better position. It also shouldn’t have been that hard to do a few spending freezes here and there, and I could have done some freelance writing while the baby was still really little and sleeping nearly 18 hours a day.
I was convinced that my husband didn’t make enough money for us to save money. I believe that most people probably have similar thoughts, especially families living on one income.
Putting a little money aside, especially when you don’t make a hefty income, can be a burden. It pushes you to sacrifice, and I believe that most of us don’t want to give up good things now so we can have a better future.
© mikola249 / Dollar Photo Club
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How to Save Money When You Don’t Have Any
The only two things you can do when you don’t have enough money to save each month is to cut back on expenses or make more money. You could try to win the lottery, beg for money, or become heir to your great uncle’s estate, but more than likely you will have to be diligent about increasing income or decreasing expenses.
Since we have been in a tight financial spot over the last several months, I have learned that there are plenty of ways to both save and make money. Sometimes it takes a hardship to finally make changes that should have been made long ago. Now that I have learned that we don’t need much money to survive, I will be using this knowledge to my advantage even when we make a more decent income.
Ideas for saving money (that we’ve implemented):
- Cut back on groceries
- Drive only for necessary reasons
- Lower the temperature for the heater to kick on or raise the temperature for the A/C to kick on
- Take shorter showers
- Be resourceful with diapers and wipes
- Learn to live without appliances if they die on you
- Spend little to nothing on gifts for Christmas and birthdays
Ideas for making money (that we’ve recently done):
- Care for other children
- Participate in a research study
- Buy low, sell high
- Earn cash back by shopping through Ebates*
- Freelance writing
- Side hustle
- Tax refund: Ok, so we didn’t technically earn this money, but we got a nice refund this year.
Financial Philosophies to Adopt to Help You Save Money
Putting all your energy into making more money and cutting back on current spending isn’t going to do you any good until you learn to put a bit of money away while you’re at it. Whether it’s a $1,000 emergency fund or a $500,000 retirement account you’re reaching for, some savings will help you sleep better at night because you know you have a little cushion if something bad happens.
These 5 financial philosophies can help you save more money even when you think there is no room in your budget:
I’ve noticed that as I’ve appreciated the little things in life more, I’m much happier. I no longer wish I had more stuff. When you can be happy with how your life is at the present moment, you won’t have to spend more money to make yourself artificially, and very temporarily, happy.
2. PAY YOURSELF FIRST
You probably know what it’s like to live paycheck to paycheck. It’s one of those practices that “everyone is doing.” But you can break out of that cycle by implementing this habit into your life: pay yourself first. If you get paid by direct deposit, make sure that a portion of your paycheck is put directly into savings each time. You might not think you have a lot to save, but it will add up if you consistently do this. Even if it’s just $20 every 2 weeks, that’s $520 more in your savings account each year that would probably be gone if you didn’t save it.
3. USE IT UP, WEAR IT OUT, MAKE IT DO, OR DO WITHOUT
This philosophy is one that comes from those who lived during the Great Depression. If they didn’t have money for something they needed, they used it up, wore it out, made do, or did without. They didn’t have credit cards and loans to fall back on. It’s obvious that if you start living this philosophy, you will have plenty of extra money each month to put into your savings account.
If you already have a bunch of stuff and that stuff is just sitting there being an eyesore, start simplifying your life and get rid of it. You can sell it and make some money! When you don’t have a lot of stuff, they say that you don’t really want for stuff anymore. This can be a huge benefit to your wallet. It means that every paycheck you can save money that you used to spend on stuff that you didn’t really need.
A thrifty person will not buy something unless he knows it is the absolute lowest price he can find. A frugal person will not buy something unless it is a great price and she actually needs it. So if you want to become thrifty and/or frugal, you must start waiting to buy things. As you wait, you will notice that you probably don’t need as much as you thought and you’ll be able to save even more money.
Have you ever been through a financial hardship that helped you see just how much you actually can save on a small income?
Linked to: Thrifty Thursday and Frugal Friday (2nd time)