Chris Bridges, Founder and CEO, VITAL Card Inc.
How To Save Money Fast on a Low Income
There are a few things that everyone needs to live: food, water, and shelter. What’s the one thing that all three of these items have in common? You need money to get them. At the heart of meeting your needs is your ability to save money to pay for your needs.
Saving money can be a challenge, no matter who you are. The challenge only grows more difficult when your income is lower than you want.
Never fear, though; there are tons of ways that you can stockpile cash without a considerable income. Here are nine ways that you can save money on a low income.
1. Start a Budget
The first and single most important thing you can do to start saving money quickly is to create a budget for your household. Putting a concrete budget into play can help you put away some leftover cash every month, whether you are only responsible for your expenses or have a family to plan for.
Building a budget for yourself is much easier than most people realize. You probably already have the information you need to develop a plan.
Start by listing your most significant monthly expenses, like rent or mortgage payments, utilities, groceries, transportation, and health care. Then you can list out some more discretionary categories, like dining and entertainment, travel, and miscellaneous expenses.
Then, you can see your monthly costs compared to your monthly income, which can help you know where you are spending more money than necessary. While budgeting may be a little work, it is a crucial step for anyone looking to save money.
2. Save First, Spend Second
Another tip you should follow to save money fast on a low income is to keep first and spend second; in other words, pay yourself first. When you get paid, you should put aside some money for savings before doing anything else. It may seem like a small and inconsequential step, but it can transform your saving patterns.
By taking money and putting it into savings before making any of your purchases, you realign your priorities, putting saving first.
This means your savings will increase before any money leaves for expenses. If you choose to save first and spend second, you won’t run into the issue of wanting to save at the end of the month and having no money left to put away.
3. Lower Your Expenses
If you have created your budget and started trying to save first but still find that you aren’t happy with your savings, then lowering your living expenses is a wise choice. There are many ways to do this, so feel free to get creative when finding ways to help reduce your costs.
You should look at your budget to identify non-essential areas and see higher spending than necessary.
Consider cutting back on your entertainment or dining-out budget. You could also consider skipping your car and taking public transit a few days a week. Start shopping at a discount grocery store or move to a cheaper or smaller apartment or home.
Bank of America, for example, recommends replacing your expensive nights at the theater with free entertainment options. No matter where you are, the chances are good that a Google search can fill out your evening at no cost.
There is no way to out-save poor spending habits. If you consistently spend more than you make every month, the only way to improve your savings is to lower your living expenses.
4. Build Passive Income Streams
If your expenses can’t go down anymore, you must take a different approach and increase your income. While you can do this by finding a higher-paying job or working more hours, building new passive income streams is the best way to grow your revenue.
Passive income, unlike active income, doesn’t require your labor to produce money. Instead, passive income streams allow you to build something that can create income without additional work from you. There are many ways to make passive income; the more you have, the better.
One great way to build passive income streams is using the VITAL card. The VITAL card is a new credit card that offers you cashback in a new and exciting way.
When you refer friends and send responsibly, your VITAL score grows. You can receive a cashback payment each month based on your VITAL score. Get started growing your VITAL score today and create a passive income stream.
5. Pay Off Your Debt
While perhaps not exactly a tip that will increase your savings account, there is a tip that will help you increase your savings in the long run. Pay off or pay down your debt.
When you are in debt, you can’t save effectively since the interest rates on your debt are almost certainly going to be higher than you can outsave.
A few different methods for quickly paying off your debt can help you. One method is called the snowball method.
This means you start paying off the smallest debt first and slowly working your way up. This process helps you build momentum as you eliminate debt obligations.
Another alternative to the snowball method is the debt avalanche method. This approach has you paying off the maximum you can, including additional payments, towards the debt with the highest interest rate.
This helps your debt accrue interest at a slower rate, which can slow the growth of your debt while paying it down. Both the snowball and the avalanche method can be a great way to get out of debt and grow your savings.
6. Utilize Tax-Advantaged Accounts
You have to maximize the tax advantages available to you to save the maximum and make the most significant impact on your income, regardless of the size of your income.
For instance, if you are saving money for your retirement, you should place those savings in a tax-advantaged retirement account, like a 401(k) or an IRA account.
These accounts allow you to defer your tax payments on contributions until a later date, when your income tax may be lower.
These accounts also allow you to make investments with your money while exempting you from taxes on the gains. This can result in tens of thousands of dollars of savings by the time you retire.
7. Open a High-Yield Savings Account
When you put money away in a savings account, you earn interest on your money. However, these interest rates are often a fraction of a percent, meaning they are nothing. However, some banks offer high-yield savings accounts, which can offer much higher interest rates than some traditional banks and savings accounts.
If you find a high-yield savings account that pays out 2% interest, you will be earning 20 times the interest you would on a savings account earning a .1% interest.
This means you’ll be earning interest twenty times faster by placing your savings in a high-yield account than by sticking with a traditional savings account.
8. Use Coupons, Discounts, and Deals
This is a tip everyone should use to save money regardless of their income size. Coupons, discounts, and deals are simple money savers.
With the internet, it has never been easier to take advantage of coupons and discounts for any sort of purchase you might make. From food to experiences, travel, and even healthcare, coupons are always your friend.
9. Take a No-Spend Challenge
Last but not least, you can take a no-spend challenge to see if you can go a week or month without any unnecessary expenditures. These no-spend challenges can be complex, so be sure to choose one that aligns with your goals and needs.
That said, taking some time off can help you calibrate your relationship with money and spending. This move can help make your purchases more mindful and help you stick to your budget.
Keep in mind, however, that some expenses are needed, like housing, food, and shelter. It would be best to focus on making your no-spend challenges a way to reduce your discretionary spending, not essential spending. No amount of savings is worth foregoing your needs.
Saving Money Fast: Recap
Saving money is not easy, particularly if you don’t have a massive income. But with these tips, anyone can create a savings plan that makes sense for them.
You can build huge savings by cutting down on your expenses, increasing your income, and sticking to a wise budget. It might start small and slow, but with time your savings will continue to accelerate toward your end goals.
Here at VITAL, we believe in empowering you to make responsible financial choices. With the VITAL Card, you get rewarded for sharing and spending responsibly.
Getting a growing amount of cashback every single month has never been easier. Check out the VITAL card today and see what excellent benefits the VITAL card can offer you.