Rent, gas, food…these are just a few of the things we can’t live without. But it can be hard to afford these necessities when you’re living paycheck to paycheck.
Something as small as your heating bill increasing a smidge one month may cause you to go without dinner for a night or two. And saving money may just seem like a pipe dream.
However, it is possible to start saving even when you’re living paycheck to paycheck. By making a few smart money moves you can start building your savings in no time.
Do you want to know more? Keep reading to discover our top tips for saving money every month.
Start a Budget
Alright, so this first step should come as no surprise. You can’t properly track and manage your spending unless you have a budget.
And when money is tight, you have to be strict about sticking to your budget.
Start by writing down how much you earn every month. Then, write down every category you spend money on, from rent to take out.
When you’re figuring out how much you can spend per category, make sure you find room for a little saving.
But not every month’s budget will be the same. You may have to pay car registration one month and insurance premiums another.
You may also have to spend a little extra to cool your house in the summer or want to spend extra for holiday and birthday gifts.
Write down when these events take place and figure out how you can adjust your budget that month to accommodate for the extra charge. Not only will this help you save, but it’ll keep you prepared so you don’t have any surprise bills.
Pay Down Your Debt
Now that you’ve got your spending down, it’s time to focus on your debt. The faster you can pay it off, the less you’ll pay in interest rates.
Start by paying more towards your debt with the highest interest rate. If your credit card’s rates are extremely high, look into getting an online loan.
You may be able to find one with a lower interest rate and save a little extra money.
Cut Up Your Cards
Do you find it hard to stick to your budget? Are you ever in the grocery store and think to yourself “I only spent a few extra rands than I should have, but that’s not too bad”?
Having a credit card can make it so much harder to stick to your budget. It’s all too easy to swipe your card without thinking about how much you already spent that day (or week) or to brush off overspending in one area of your budget.
If this sounds familiar, you may need to cut up those cards. Paying with everything in cash can help you visualize how much you’ve spent and how much you have left for the day.
Plus, it forces you to stick with your budget since you can’t spend anymore once your cash is gone.
Open a Separate Account
When you’re living paycheck to paycheck, you’ll likely only be able to save a small amount every month. Keeping this in your checking account can make it hard to see how much you’re saving, or if you’re even saving anything at all.
Opening a separate account will help you better track how much you’re saving. Seeing this account grow can help build momentum and motivation so you continue to save every month. Plus, you’ll be less likely to spend it if it’s in its own special account.
Ask About Waiving Fees
We’ve all been there–you couldn’t find the money to pay one (or more) of your bills in time, so you got hit with a late fee that really hurt your finances.
But have you ever considered asking the company to waive that late fee? This doesn’t always work, but you’d be surprised how many people will agree to waive fees if you just ask nicely.
Make It a Challenge
Once you’ve been following your budget for a month or two, you may notice that it’s getting easier to monitor your spending and stick to your budget. But don’t get too comfortable.
Challenge yourself to cut back just a little in all of your spending categories each week. Even if you don’t end up cutting back in every category or you only cut back a little, that money adds up.
Switch Car Insurance Companies
Car insurance may be one area where you don’t think you can save. However, you can probably lower your payments by shopping around
Car insurance companies think that you won’t leave them once you’ve become a customer. And let’s face it–collecting quotes and switching companies is a pain.
However, sticking with the same company means you likely aren’t getting the best deal anymore. If you have a clean driving record but your premium stayed the same or increased over the past few years, consider getting some free quotes and see how much you can save by going with a different insurance company.
Bring in Some Easy Cash
You can only cut your spending so much. Once you’ve done that, you may want to look at increasing your earnings.
But finding a better paying job or picking up a second job can be hard (and exhausting). Luckily there is another way.
There are online survey companies that will pay you to watch videos and take surveys. It’s not much, but if you do it regularly you can earn a little extra cash.
You may also look for a freelance job where you can set your own hours or make a little extra by helping people with home maintenance tasks.
Saving When Living Paycheck to Paycheck
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you can’t save money when you’re living paycheck to paycheck. Just follow these tips to start building your savings today.
Are you trying to prepare for the future? Then check out these tips on saving for retirement.