Complete financial freedom is a dream for most people, but not usually an option - especially for low income earners. Saving on a low income can sometimes feel as impossible as finding a flattering swimsuit in December. Trust us, learning how to save money fast on a low income isn’t nearly as difficult. If you are living paycheck to paycheck, or need to keep a tight budget, we're here to help you reach your financial goal. Check out these eight ways to save money on a low income so you can start saving for your future.

1. Cut Down Home Costs

Housing costs may be the primary expense that keeps low income earners from their financial goals, so whether you’re a renter or a homeowner, there are plenty of ways to cut down on home expenses:

Work for Rent Reductions – Talk to your landlord or property management company about trading services for reduced rent. That could mean taking over watering the plants in front of your building, being on-call for tenant emergencies, or even just sweeping the lobby area once a week. Your building will save on monthly expenses and you get to save on your monthly rent.

Save on Utilities – Take a close look at your utility bill to see where you could be trimming monthly expenses.

  • Keep your thermostat down in winter and up in summer
  • Call your gas and electric company to see if they offer any energy-saving rewards programs
  • Reduce water by installing a low-flow showerhead or toilet.

Make Your Space Work for You – Rent out your garage space to a local neighborhood band for rehearsals (if you don’t mind the noise) or lease your spare room on Craigslist or AirBnB.

2. Coupons

Coupons are a fantastic money-saving strategy for low-income households. Sign up for your favorite grocery store’s mailers, download couponing apps, and keep an eye on your mailbox for valuable money-saving coupons that you’ll actually use. This is a fantastic way to teach you how to live on a budget and keep extra cash in your pocket.

3. Avoid Emotional Spending

When you’ve had a hard day at work or aren’t feeling great about yourself, buying a treat for yourself might make you feel better—temporarily. But in the end, you’ve incurred an unnecessary expense on a product that only made you feel good for a few days, at most.

Differentiating between an essential purchase and an emotional one is vital to learning how to save money on a low income. Try these frugal living tips to help you stay on the path of budgeting:

Ask The Right Questions – Sometimes, a quick reflection is all it takes to say “no” to emotional spending. Before you tap “Complete Order” or head to the checkout line, ask yourself:

Would my life drastically improve if I purchased this item? For how long?

Am I buying this because I need it? Or am I buying it because I want to feel better?

If I put the cost of this item in my savings, how much closer would I be to my long-term savings goal?

The 3-Day Rule – Before buying a non-essential, try to establish a little distance from the “Want! Must have!” impulse. Save the link to a product page or ask a clerk to place an item on hold for you. If you still want the item in three days, then maybe it’s worth the purchase. If not, celebrate your self-control by putting that money into your savings!

Plan For Emotional Spending – If you know a hectic week is coming at work, plan some self-care to avoid retail therapy. Do some calming yoga in your living room, have a good long talk with a friend, or treat yourself to a home spa day. You deserve to take care of yourself and meet your personal finance goals.

4. Automate Savings

You can’t spend what you can’t see. Create an automatic transfer from your deposited paycheck to your savings account. Your bank account’s savings will be safe from any shopping spree urges.

5. Find a Side Gig

Find a second job or side gig and devote those earnings entirely to savings to improve your financial situation. You can be a date-night babysitter once a week, drive for a ridesharing app on the weekends, or even take surveys online to make extra money to add in your savings account. The gig economy is a hot marketplace right now, so no matter your skillset or time constraints, you’ll find an easy way to make money fast.

6. Cut Down on Food Expenses

Eat well and save by taking a strategic approach to buying food. You may not realize, but your spending habit on food adds up and is most likely not helping your financial situation. A few planning techniques can help reduce your food expenses (none of which, by the way, are “cut down on eating”).

Pack a Lunch – Buying your lunch every day at work can take a huge chunk out of your budget. Instead, pack a delicious lunch for your day. You’ll save money daily and eat healthier.

Meal Plan – Meal planning can help you. By planning ahead for the week’s meals, you’ll be able to create a list of exactly what you need... instead of buying random fancy cheeses you know, deep down, you really don’t need.

Shop Smart – Familiarize yourself with your favorite grocery store’s weekly deals. That way, you can optimize your grocery trips for maximum savings on a tight budget.

7 Spring Cleaning for Savings

Declutter your home and bolster your savings by selling the things you don’t need for extra cash.

Books– Make a trip to your nearest second-hand bookstore. Paperbacks typically don’t get you more than a few bucks, but second-hand bookstores will always pay more for hardcovers.

Clothes – Go through your closet for the clothes you don’t wear anymore then sell them online or at a thrift shop—but pay attention to what and when you’re selling. Thrift shops usually only buy in-season clothes, so your old sundresses are best sold in summer.

Electronics – Do you have an old video game console lying around that needs a good dusting? Or maybe an old smartphone you upgraded from a while ago? Try selling used electronics to tech stores for parts or online. This method is great because you're making extra money while organizing your home - it's a win-win situation!

8. Online Rebate and Promos

Rebates are a quick way to add to your savings while you shop, and now they’re available online. Use RebateKey’s easy-to-use Chrome plugin while you browse your favorite digital storefronts. The plugin automatically applies promos and rebates for top-selling products. You’ll want to do a happy dance when you see your checkout total with all the promos and rebates automatically applied.

RebateKey: Incredible Savings That Feel Like a Splurge

Saving money on a low income is as easy as clicking “Purchase” with RebateKey. Instead of mailing in purchase receipts and rebate coupons then waiting forever for your rebate to show up in the mail, RebateKey automates every rebate claim so all you have to do is:

  1. Click “claim rebate”
  2. Purchase the product
  3. Submit the claim online
  4. Check your mailbox.

Start saving today by shopping with RebateKey!


The Balance. 15 Side Jobs To Make Some Extra Money.

Clark. 7 Ways To Save Money on a Low Income.

Money Ning. 5 Tips for Saving Money When You have Low Income.

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