Do you want to have some savings set aside for emergencies or to pay off debt, but feel like there’s no room in your budget for it? I’ve been there and know the feeling all too well. It’s easy for experts to advise us to save, but what do you do when you have no income to pull from? I know it seems impossible, but with careful planning it can be done. Today I’m sharing some tips to help you save money even when you’re barely surviving.
How to Save Money When You’re Barely Surviving
Increase your income
- When was the last time you asked for a raise? This is one of the easiest ways to immediately increase your income. I used to be a manager and was always surprised when my employees didn’t even attempt to ask!
- Can you start a sideline business? There are many business ideas that require little or no overhead.
- Can you reduce your tax withholdings or drop unnecessary deductions? Make sure you’re not overlooking something that could easily increase your net pay.
- Can you sell some items on Craigslist or eBay? Look around your home and find items to sell that you don’t use, but may be of value to someone else.
Decrease your expenses
I know this one is common sense, but it’s one that many people don’t pay attention to. I often hear; “Our budget is already down to the bare necessities so how can I lower my expenses even further?” Go over your budget with great detail and ask yourself the following:
- Can you decrease any of your utilities?
- Can you find creative ways to lower your food budget?
- Do you order take-out more often than you originally thought?
Find any leaks in your budget by keeping track of what you spend for at least a month. Figure out where your money is going and what you can do to decrease it.
Start small and make it automatic
So you went over the first two steps and find out you only have an extra $10 per week in your budget to put towards savings. Although it may not seem like much, you’re already a step ahead. Every little bit counts. That $10 per week can amount to $520 per year! Once you begin to see your savings grow, you’ll be motivated to put even more towards it. Each month go over your finances to see if you can increase what you allocate towards savings. Before you know it, you’ll have a nice cushion set aside. It’s very easy to get off track when something unexpected comes up. Treat your savings like you would a utility bill and make it non-negotiable. If you have automatic withdrawal at work, funnel your savings amount into a bank account that you don’t use so you’re not tempted to spend it.
Do you set money aside for savings? What do you find helps you budget for it? I would love to hear from you!