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Realistic Ways to Save Money on a Lower Income

A young woman with a laptop and calculator trying to figure out realistic ways to save money on a lower income.

It isn’t your imagination that your money isn’t stretching as far as it used to. With inflation levels at a 40-year high, the prices of just about everything keep climbing higher and higher.

If you find your income is stretched thin, you may believe that saving money is easier said than done in the current economy. But, you might be able to save more than you thought possible by making a few changes to your finances.

The following are some simple strategies for saving money on a low income that can result in big savings.

Track Your Spending

Most people don’t give much thought to buying snacks, drinks, and other things when they’re running errands. Although you may not think that spending a few dollars here and there will have much impact on your finances, it can really add up if you aren’t careful.

Tracking your spending for a month is an easy way to identify ways to trim your budget and save money. Keep track of your spending by logging them on your phone or in a notebook. Do this is for four weeks. At the end of the month, review your purchases to see if you can identify anything you can cut back on or eliminate.

Look for Free Entertainment

You don’t have to spend a lot to have a good time. With a little creativity, you can enjoy a memorable day or evening with friends or family without buying anything. A few ideas to consider include:

  • Visit a local park
  • Learn a new hobby
  • Visit a free museum
  • Go window shopping
  • Go for a hike or bike ride
  • Check out a free local event
  • Volunteer for a worthy cause
  • Organize a neighborhood ballgame

Trim Your Grocery Bill

Buying groceries isn’t optional—everyone has to eat. Thankfully, there are several things you can do to trim your grocery bill while still eating well.

One simple change is to buy generic or store brands as much as possible. These are usually much more affordable than name brands, and many people can’t tell the difference in taste or quality.

Another strategy is planning your meals in advance so that you go to the grocery store with a specific shopping list in hand. By making a list of the things you need, you can avoid overspending on unnecessary or impulse items.

You may also be able to save money by shopping at discount grocery stores. These stores are usually smaller and simpler than the big chain stores, which is why they have lower prices. By not having fancy displays, extra employees, and other amenities they save money which is then passed on to their customers through lower prices.

Buy Used as Much as Possible

Did you know that people sell things all the time that are in excellent condition, for just a fraction of the retail price? Great deals on used items are everywhere, and you can potentially save a lot by buying used as much as possible.

You can easily find used items for sale in your community without even leaving your home. Check out online marketplaces like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, OfferUp, and others to see what you might be able to purchase second-hand and save a lot of money in the process.

Have a Staycation

Traveling can be very expensive. You have to pay for transportation, hotels, meals, tickets to attractions, and that’s just the beginning! When it’s time to take a vacation, you can save big by having a staycation instead.

As the name implies, a staycation means you stay home instead of traveling somewhere. A few ideas to consider include:

  • Go fishing
  • Go camping
  • Read a book
  • Invite your friends over
  • Have a movie marathon
  • Have a bonfire in your backyard
  • Check out new things in your community

Lower Your Car Expenses

While most of us are dependent on cars to get around, there are several ways you can save on this expense.

New cars go down in value the moment you drive them off the dealer lot and can lose as much as 20% of its value in the first year alone. So consider a used car with low mileage because that’s how you’ll get the most savings. It will have the majority of its useful life remaining but will be much more affordable and might still be under warranty.

Shopping around for car insurance is another way to save. Insurance companies may quote vastly different rates for the same coverage so getting quotes from several different companies before making a decision will enable you to find the best deal.

Lastly, don’t forget to consider gas mileage when shopping for a vehicle. With the price of fuel continually skyrocketing, choosing a vehicle that gets good gas mileage could result in big savings.

Sell Your Stuff

Many people accumulate a lot of stuff over the years. If you have a closet, basement, or attic that’s full of things you’re no longer using, you could sell them to make some extra money. As a bonus, your home will be decluttered in the process!

Small Changes Lead to Big Savings

It’s definitely possible to save money on a low income. By making a few simple changes in your finances, you can save money to then put towards a down payment on a home or pay for college, for example.

Click on the following link to learn more about how developing good money habits can help you get ahead in life. Making just a few small changes in handling your money can help you achieve your financial goals quicker than you think.

How Financial Wellness Helps You Get Ahead