Living on a low income is hard enough, but it can seem impossible when you have to worry about inflation too. Thankfully, there are many ways to save money during these challenging times. In this blog post, we will discuss 24 of them! So keep reading for tips on how to cut your expenses and keep more money in your pocket.
Let's be honest, if you are on a low income, you are feeling this inflation and might be in survival mode regarding your finances.
How can I save money with a low income?
There are several ways to save money when you have a low income. One way is to cut back on unnecessary expenses. For example, if you can live without something, don't buy it!
Another way to save money is to find ways to earn more money. For example, try selling items via social media or taking extra shifts at work. Finally, make sure to create a budget and stick to it!
What are 24 ways to save money on a low income and during a pandemic?
Check for Services
It's a good idea that if you are on a low income or having a hard time financially, check for social services, which you may be eligible for. They can help with things like food, rent, and utility bills. In addition, many government agencies have increased their benefits during inflation to help with rising costs.
States such as Pennsylvania have risen from 150% of the USDA-established poverty level to 185%.
Look for Freebies
There are many ways to get free items! Check online, in-store, or with friends and family to see if they have anything they are willing to part with. Additionally, look for free events in your area. Many museums and zoos offer free days or discounted rates.
To find local events online, head to Google and search free events near me to see available events near you.
Reduce your High-speed Internet
During these difficult economic times, finding ways to save money is more important than ever. Unfortunately, for many households, the cost of internet service can be a real burden. The good news is that the FCC's Affordable Connectivity Program can help.
The program provides a discount of up to $30 per month on internet service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for families on qualifying Tribal lands.
In addition, eligible households can receive a one-time discount of up to $100 toward purchasing a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price. This benefit can make a real difference for families struggling to meet ends.
Participates in one of these assistance programs:
- The National School Lunch Program or the School Breakfast Program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision
- Federal Public Housing Assistance
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Veterans Pension or Survivor Benefits
You can learn more about this program when you click here, as it is straightforward to apply, and your credit will be used quickly.
Use coupons! You can find them in newspapers, online, on emails, store rewards, and even on your phone. There are many ways to get them, and they can save you a lot of money. Just make sure to read the fine print and follow them correctly to save money.
How to use store reward cards to obtain coupons?
To download coupons to your reward cards, head to your favorite grocery store website and access your account.
Head over to the coupon tab, and if your store has a reward card, the option to download them to your card is there.
Once you download the coupons to your store card, every time you use your card at the store, the coupons will be automatically applied to your purchase.
This is an excellent way to save money and get regular discounts on the items you buy.
Create a budget
During inflation, budgeting is one of the best tools you have to help you understand where your money is going. No matter what your income is, you need to have a budget.
If you don't know where to start, there are plenty of resources online, including this site, and in libraries to help you. You can also find helpful apps that will help you create your budget as well.
Please read: How to Paycheck Budget (Paycheck Budgeting)
Why is a budget so important, no matter your income?
When you have a budget, it allows you to see where your money is going. This is critical because it helps you make informed choices about your spending. If you don't have a budget, it's easy to overspend and get into debt. A budget also helps you plan for future expenses and emergencies.
A budget is even more important if you're on a low income, and that's because you have to be mindful of every penny you spend. Even small amounts of money can add up over time, so it's important to know where your money is going.
Bartering is a great way to save money, especially if you have skills or services that others need. For example, you might trade your gardening skills for someone else's cooking skills. Or, you might trade your web design skills for someone else's accounting skills.
Bartering in the modern world
Believe it or not, you can barter on sites such as Craiglist. You can also exchange services such as volunteering a couple of hours at a local swimming pool in exchange for membership passes for the family.
Bartering can be a great way to get goods and services without spending any money. However, it's important to be fair and reasonable in your trade-offs. Make sure you're getting a good deal, and be sure to offer something that's of equal value.
Don't focus all of your attention on paying off debt
Another way to save money is to shift focus on your finances, and instead of putting all your money towards paying off debt, start saving. Even if you can only save a little bit each month, it will add up over time.
And, if you have an emergency fund, you'll be less likely to rely on credit cards or loans when unexpected expenses come up.
Start small, but start somewhere
If you don't have much money to save, that's OK. Start with what you can. Even $20 a month can add up over time, and it's better to start small and gradually increase your savings than not to save at all.
Use rebate apps
Rebate apps are a great way to get money or rewards back on purchases. You must take a photo of your receipt, and the app will send you cash or rewards.
With rebate apps, you can save money on your everyday purchases, and it's a great way to get cashback.
Switch Mobile Plan
Remember when we only had a few mobile service providers to choose from?
Now, there are many, which means more competition and better deals. So, if you haven't switched your mobile service provider in a while, now is a great time to do it.
You can also save money by downgrading your mobile plan. For example, if you don't need unlimited data and are home or have Wi-Fi access, then bring your plan down. You are wasting money if you are paying for data that you are not using.
What is a great plan that costs less?
Tello Mobile is a great mobile company, and one I use myself, that offers low-cost plans with no contracts. You can get unlimited talk and text for as little as $8 a month, and an unlimited data plan is $29 a month!
Tello is an MVNO that piggybacks off Sprint's network, so you'll get great coverage. Plus, with Tello, you can customize your mobile plan, so you're only paying for what you need.
If you're looking for a great mobile plan that doesn't break the bank, Tello is definitely worth checking out.
Increase Your Credit Score
With inflation and the rising cost of living, having a good credit score is more important than ever. A good credit score can save you money in the long run, as it can help you get lower interest rates on loans, credit cards, and even car insurance.
There are a few easy ways to improve your credit score, such as paying your bills on time, keeping your balances low, and using a credit monitoring service.
What is a credit score since I have a low income?
A credit score is a number that represents your creditworthiness. The higher your score, the better. A good credit score is generally considered to be anything above 700. However, your score may be lower than that if you have a low income.
Even on a low income, you can have a great credit score by following the tips above to help you increase it.
Use Credit Cards with Rewards
You need to use credit cards with rewards to get the best savings. With the right card, you can earn cash back or points that can be used for travel, shopping, or even to pay off your debt.
When choosing a credit card, be sure to compare the different rewards programs and find one that best suits your needs. Be sure to pay off your balance in full each month to avoid interest charges.
What's the best credit card with rewards for low-income families?
It depends on your credit score and income, but I will tell you that if you have a fair credit score, then Capital One Quicksilver is for you.
Even as a low-income family, we have used credit cards and have used their reward points to help us grow our savings or help pay surprise bills. Having a credit card after we had reached our financial goals of paying our debt has helped us increase our credit score and earn free money!
Automate Your Savings
One of the best ways to save money is to automate your savings. This means setting up a system where a certain amount of money is automatically transferred from your checking account to your savings account each month.
This is a great way to ensure that you are always saving, even when you don't have the money to spare. Plus, it's a great way to build up your savings quickly.
Audit your Pantry
Another way to save money is to audit your pantry. This means going through all of the food in your pantry and taking notes on what you have. When you go to the store to shop, you can then refer to your list and only buy what you need.
This is a great way to save money because it allows you to avoid buying things you already have. Plus, it can help you save money on your monthly grocery bill.
Cut Back on Eating
Eating out brings people joy but also costs a lot of money. So, if you want to save, it is important to cut back on eating out.
You can save money by cooking meals at home, eating leftovers, or bringing your own lunch to work.
If you are planning on eating out, follow the tips below to save money:
- Look for coupons or deals before you go
- Share meals or order an appetizer instead of an entree
- Drink water instead of ordering a drink
- Use restaurant rewards and coupons
Shop at Thrift Stores
If you want a great way to save money, consider shopping at thrift stores. Thrift stores are a great place to find clothing, household items, and even furniture for a fraction of the cost.
When shopping at a thrift store, take the time to look through all the items. You never know what you may find!
Start a Food Stockpile
Another great way to save money is to start a food stockpile. This means buying non-perishable items when they are on sale and storing them until you need them.
This is a great way to save money because it allows you to buy items at their lowest price. Plus, it can help you avoid last-minute store trips when needed.
When building your stockpile, here are some tips:
- Start with items that you use on a regular basis.
- Only buy items that are on sale.
- Store your stockpile in a cool, dry place.
- Rotate your stockpile so that you are using the oldest items first.
Make Your Own Cleaning Products
There are many cleaning products out there that are expensive and full of chemicals. If you want to save money, consider making your cleaning products.
You can find recipes for all-natural cleaning products online. Plus, making your own cleaning products is often cheaper than buying store-bought ones.
Buy Energy Star-rated appliances and lightbulbs
This is an investment that will pay off over time. Not only will you be saving money each month on your energy bill, but you will also be doing your part to help the environment. Start by buying lightbulbs such as:
LED lightbulbs – these last up to 25 times longer than traditional lightbulbs and use 75% less energy.
CFL lightbulbs – these last up to times longer than traditional lightbulbs and use 75% less energy.
Then, when buying appliances, make sure they have the Energy Star rating. This means the appliance is energy-efficient and will save you money each month on your energy bill.
Set Aside Any Extra Money
If you receive any extra money, such as a bonus from work or a tax refund, be sure to set it aside. This money can then be used to build up your savings or to pay off debt.
If you have difficulty saving money, consider setting up a direct deposit from your paycheck into your savings account. This way, you will never see the money, and saving will be easier.
If you are budgeting and have money left over categories, you have the choice to set it aside and save it.
Shop with a List
One of the best ways to save money is to shop with a list. This will help you to avoid buying things that you do not need.
When making your list, be sure to include everything that you need. This will help you to save time and money when you are at the store.
When it comes to creating a shopping list, here are some helpful tips:
- First, make a list of items you need before you go to the store.
- Before making your list, check your pantry and fridge to avoid buying things you already have.
- Then, add items to your list as you think of them so you don't forget anything.
If you are looking to save money, it is important to compare prices. This can be done by:
- Checking the weekly flyers for sales.
- Comparison shopping online.
- Ask friends and family where they shop and if they have any coupons.
If you shop online, browser extensions such as Capital One Shopping help you find the best deals and discount codes, if applicable.
By taking the time to compare prices, you will be sure to get the best deal on the items that you need.
Invest in Education
One of the best ways to save money is to invest in your education. This can be done by taking courses, attending workshops, or reading books.
By investing in your education, you will be able to learn new skills that can help you to save money. For example, if you take a course on financial planning, you will be able to learn how to budget and save money.
In addition, by investing in your education, you can earn more money. This is because you will have the skills and knowledge to get a higher-paying job.
Get Rid of Subscriptions
If you are looking to save money, eliminating any subscriptions you do not use is one place to start. For example, if you have a gym membership but never go, it is time to cancel it.
In addition, many subscription services offer free trials. Be sure to take advantage of these free trials and cancel the subscription before you are charged.
Invest Your Money
Investing seems to be taboo for people on a low income, but it is one of the smartest things you can do with your money.
When you invest your money, you are able to grow it. This is because you are earning interest on the money that you invest.
In addition, when you invest your money, you are able to protect it from inflation. This is because the value of your money will increase as the cost of living goes up.
By investing your money, you save money and grow your wealth.
There are many interesting apps:
- Acorns- This app rounds up your spare change and invests it for you.
- Robinhood- This app allows you to trade stocks commission-free.
Saving money can be difficult, but it is possible if you are on a low income. By following the tips above, you will be able to save money and protect your finances. Do you have any other suggestions for saving money? Share them in the comments below!