By Derick Gant
The Truth Contributor
You must have heard; the earlier the better when it comes to investing. But when you are earning less money you would wonder how can you start saving and investing money when you are barely making ends meet.
Half of your salary might be your rent or you could be paying debt while making just enough money to pay for the necessities afterward. In such a situation saving can be very difficult and might even seem impossible.
Well, you don’t have to be an expert to take control of your finances. There are simple and effective finance tips that you should know if you are trying to make your life better. Mastering simple financial skills to save money will help you in the coming life years and you will be grateful that you cultivated those habits early.
Many rich people were not born rich but they became rich because they knew when to save and when to spend money. Everyone has to start saving money at some point, you don’t have to wait to earn a six-figure income first. There are numerous six-figure earners out there who spend their entire paycheck every month and save nothing.
Here are eight hacks to save money when you have a low income.
Make a Budget
It may seem like an easy job to create a budget but the hardest part is sticking to your budget. You should learn how to budget money for everyday needs. Regularly writing down the expenses not only keeps a record of how you spend money, but it also helps acknowledge; where your money is going.
You can use an 80-20 budget or 50-30-20 budget to spend a major portion of your money on necessities, around 30% on happy hours such as eating out, movie nights, and fashion accessories, and also save 20% of the income.
Even if you save less, let’s say a hundred dollars a month, and put it towards your retirement, you will be saving money that will help you get financially independent. Every penny counts.
If you are too busy to separate your savings from your expenditure, you can automate the process. Let your bank deduct a fixed amount weekly, bimonthly, or monthly from your salary account and transfer it to your savings account. You won’t have to worry about it and there will be no chances of overspending money because you have put the savings aside first.
Saving as little as $20 every week can let you save up to $1000 a year. It is that simple. Sacrifice eating once a week and put the money in savings. The more you will save and invest, the sooner you will be able to get rich.
Use Cash Often
Paying using cash enables you to see how much money you are spending. Paying for things using a credit card gives you a false sense of having money until you check your account. Many people overspend when they use credit cards because they don’t keep a check on the funds they have.
Next time you head out to shop or pay bills, use cash instead of your credit card. Your hard-earned cash should be spent wisely.
Get Rid of Debt
If you are making less money and have lesser to spend every month then there is a high chance that you have to pay back money that you used for college tuition, auto loan, mortgage, or credit card bill. If you have to pay back a student loan, credit card loan, or any other type of debt, then you should get rid of it as soon as possible.
High-interest rate loans are the ones that you should pay off immediately when you can. If you let the high-interest rate loans stay for longer, they may add up and become very difficult to payback. Pay the debt first and then move onto the next expense.
Keep an Emergency Fund Ready
You never know when you get into an accident, an appliance stops working, you lose your job or get medical bills. For such unexpected events in life, you should always stay ready mentally and financially.
No one wants to go through the embarrassment of asking for money from friends and family even if they can pay it back. After you get rid of debt, you should immediately set up an emergency fund. In your savings account hold an amount at all times that you can only use during hardships. You might also be able to get a trickle of interest on your savings.
Learn Not to Shop Impulsively
We are bombarded with millions of ads every month when we check our newsfeed. Social media allows us to look at things that we may like to buy but at some point, it may get beyond the comfortable limit. Numerous people end up withdrawing their credit cards every month because they want to look updated.
Learn to ignore these ads and instead spend your time doing more productive things. Scrolling and swiping is no good for your health and if you feel addicted to doing it, its time you should delete the app for a while to give yourself a break.
Spend time in learning new things. Let’s say you have been struggling to work on Excel, if you have your phone while you are waiting in a queue, pull out earplugs and watch a basic excel tutorial video.
Pay Yourself First
Make a goal to save anywhere between 10%-20%. Every time you receive the paycheck, put aside the money you want to save in an envelope. Voila! You just paid yourself first. With the rest of the money, you can make a budget to cover your expenses.
You can also automate the process by enabling your money to go directly to your savings account on the 1st of every month. The money will go directly into the savings and it will lower your chances of tapping into your account to spend once they are in your savings account.
1.Take a List with You and Exact Amount of Cash to Shop
If you go to the grocery store without a list of things that you need, you will probably end up buying too many snacks, cosmetics, and things that you don’t need. Too many snacks also mean unhealthy eating for a week.
Make a list every time you head out to the grocery store. Calculate how much money you would need and keep the exact amount of cash with you. Leave your credit card at home.
If you want to treat yourself, keep a little extra money that can buy you a few bonus snacks. Do not keep a lot of money with you. When you know you don’t have a lot of money in your pocket you will probably spend what you have and won’t go over the limit.
Although you are making less money and have a lot of things on your bucket list, there are a lot of things that you need to learn about money first. If you want to achieve a higher income stream, learn to give up material things that make you happy. Don’t buy that beautiful pair of shoes you saw at the mall or cook at home for a week.
You will be able to save money and learn to be happy with simple things in life. If you have a phone that is working, you don’t need to upgrade. Save money and learn to say ‘No’ to yourself when you need to.
Living within your means and spending only what you earn will give you a sense of being in control. Try to save money and invest it, the earlier you save the better returns you will be able to receive. Consistency in saving money and investing it is the key to getting rich!
Derick Gant is an American author, speaker, financial advisor, and money coach with over 25 years of entrepreneurial experience. In 2019, Derick published The 24K Life Code: The Only Difference Between Mediocrity and Greatness. This book guides people step-by-step to achieve their best and get the results they so desperately desire.