How to Save Money Fast on a Low Income and Get Richer Doing It

by | Last Updated: March 21, 2020

It’s super frustrating, isn’t it?

Every month you rack up hours as if they were frequent flyer miles. But your savings account balance barely increases – like the speed of a TSA line during a government shutdown.

Even with overtime, working extra shifts, or picking up a weekend hustle, you still can’t save fast enough. Plus, the more money you make, the more you have to donate to special causes like bills and taxes.

This is the painful reality of your life. One where saving isn’t just an impossibility, it’s a luxury item you can’t even afford to dream about.

Believe me. I know what you feel like. I’ve been there. It sucks.

So how do you save money fast on a low income?

There are a few things you can do to start saving money. Looking around your home is the easiest way to find saving opportunities.

But the most important thing you can do right now is: change your mindset and habits.

Without that, you’ll be stuck in a never-ending loop of trying to find ways to save, but never actually saving any money.

What I’m trying to tell you my dear reader, is: you’ve got to take responsibility for what you want.

Why? Because…

Nobody gives a damn about your situation. Not your landlord, not the bill collector, not your boss, not the government, and definitely not life.

I guess you can add me to that list too. Not because I’m mean though…

But because I come from a place where $5,000 a year is considered a good income.

Shocking, I know. That’s barely three times less than the minimum wage in America. And yes, people still make that little (or less) today, in countries you’ve never heard of.

Now, I know you’re not concerned about the global economy. Like I said, nobody gives a crap about other people’s plights. And I certainly didn’t tell you that because I want your empathy.

I did it to show you that it’s possible to change your situation. A situation that isn’t as bad as you think, but is going to take every ounce of action you have to improve it.

And although I don’t care about your situation, I do care about helping you and others, by providing practical information you can use.

Whether there’s $0, $1 or more in your savings account, we all have to start somewhere.

In this post, you’ll find a list of things you can start doing today to save money faster.

So keep reading if you’re serious about taking action to boost your savings.

31 Creative Ways to Save Money Fast

Saving money doesn’t have to be hard. There are things you can do to make it easier. Here are a few:

1. Automatically add money to your savings

There’s nothing easier than setting up automatic deposits for your savings account. Most banks allow you to do this online. And you can do it by visiting a local branch too.

This works whether you do direct deposit or cash deposit. All you have to do is choose a day and an amount each month, to be deposited into your savings account. That’s it.

2. Schedule your monthly bill payments

Every bill you have has a fixed monthly due date. If you miss it, you’ll pay a penalty. Automating your bill payments can save you hundreds or thousands in late fees.

It also gives you easy access to those payments for tax purposes, or to see if anyone tried to sneakily overcharge you.

Automated payments give you one less thing to worry about each month.

3. Save and invest your spare change

You probably have a ton of apps on your phone. But is one of them Acorns?

This app helps people like you who struggle to save. It does so by rounding up your credit and debit card purchases, then it automagically invests those pennies.

It’s an amazing tool that enables you to save, invest, and more, without batting an eye. Click here to start saving with Acorns.

4. Get refunds on your purchases automatically

Retailers are a sneaky bunch. Today you’re charged $5 for condoms because it’s Valentine’s Day, and tomorrow the price drops to $3.50.

Ain’t that some BS?

Thankfully, there’s a cool app that will run through your purchases and try to get you refunds for things like this. It’s called Paribus.

Basically, it acts as your personal negotiator by tracking product prices and working to get you a refund while you sleep like a baby. Pretty cool, right?

You can check out Paribus here.

5. Earn cash on your essential purchases

Planning to go shopping for things you need (not want)? You may be able to get cash back on those items. This is possible with Ibotta.

The free app lets you check for available offers before you shop. And when you’re done shopping, you just snap a photo of your receipts and get cash back.

This works at over 200 retailers like Walmart, Target, Walgreens, etc.

Want cash back? Click here and get $20 FREE to sign up with Ibotta today.

6. Cut your cable bill and other wasteful expenses

Is Comcast sucking money out of your bank account like a Dyson vacuum?

What about subscriptions like Netflix, your phone bill, etc.?

If you don’t know what’s costing you money, Trim can help.

It’s an app that securely connects to your account and analyzes your spending. Then it cancels useless subscriptions, lowers certain bills, finds better rates, and more.

It’s like having your own personal money-saving assistant.

Saving money should be easy, click here to let Trim do it for FREE.

7. Get cash back for your online purchases

Found some great deals online for your essentials? Sweet! You should definitely take advantage of those.

But if you want to take it further, you can earn money on those purchases with Ebates. It’s totally FREE!

With over 2,000 stores and up to 40% cash back on purchases, it’s easy to see why so many people use Ebates to save and make money. It even works with coupons and discounts. If you’re smart, you’ll use it too.

In fact, sign up for Ebates now and get a $10 BONUS just for joining.

10 Good Ways to Save Money Quickly

Good Ways To Save Money

Sometimes it’s the little choices you make that can have the biggest impact on your savings. How many of these have you tried?

8. Make your own lunch and snacks

Most people spend about $40 to $50 on lunch per week. Even if yours is lower (doubtful), you can avoid this situation entirely by making your own lunch.

Not only is it cheaper to buy and cook your own food, it’s healthier too.

And all the extra money you’ll save, can be dumped right into your savings account. You can literally save an extra $50 by this weekend.

9. Shop generic brands

When shopping for your essentials, try avoiding name-brand items. In most cases, the store-brand is usually cheaper.

This can result in immediate savings. You can shop generic for household items, drugs or medicine, and a bunch of other things.

10. Become a smart negotiator

Prices for things aren’t always set in stone. People don’t get rich by paying full price for everything.

You should develop the habit of negotiating instead of just accepting the amount you see.

If you’re going to do this, here are two helpful tips:

  • Ask: “Is this the best price you can give me right now?”
  • Don’t Ask: “What’s the lowest you’re willing to go?”

Salary, clothing, and bills are all examples of things you can negotiate.

11. Take a hard pass on entertainment

Want to grab drinks after work? Coming to the club this weekend? Got your tickets for the [*insert musician*] concert?

These are all questions you can’t afford to say “yes” to at this point in your life.

Like most people, you’ll find it hard to say “no” to these things. Not because of the thing itself, but because of the people asking.

You don’t want to come off like a hermit or be the odd ball in the group who says no to everything.

Note: if these people make you feel that way when you decline to throw away money you don’t have for a night of fun, they are NOT your friends.

Now I’m not saying you need to stay home 24/7 and be unhappy. There are lots cheap and free ways to have fun. However, saving money on a low income takes sacrifice.

Therefore, it’s your responsibility to decide whether entertainment today is worth more than being homeless tomorrow.

12. Make a grocery list and meal prep

Meal prep isn’t just for gym rats and bodybuilders. You can do it too. And it will help you save money.

What you need to do is pick a day, say Saturday, to plan your meals for the week. So every Saturday, without fail, you’ll meal prep and create your grocery shopping list.

Then you can just shop for groceries and check off the items as you go.

If you use an app or a spreadsheet, you can get even more nerdy. You’ll be able to track prices for items, see what’s worth buying, compare prices, and do other nerd-tastic things. Planning rocks!

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13. Buy your groceries online

One way to save on groceries is to shop online. It helps you stick to your grocery budget since you can see the prices for all items added to your cart.

Most grocery stores have all their in-store discounts and coupons online too. So you can take advantage of those. Then when you’re ready, you can get free delivery or just stop by the grocery store to pick up your order.

This also benefits your weekly meal planning too.

14. Lower your transportation costs

Have you ever thought about your daily work commute?

If you live within walking distance of your job, I hope you don’t actually drive there – unless it’s necessary.

Also, if you’re avoiding public transit because you hate it, then it can’t possibly be as bad as zero savings, can it?

And finally, if you live in the boonies and commute 1.5+ hrs ONE way to work on your current income, I hate to be the bearer of bad news but…

It’s time to find a new job.

15. Eat in not out

Maybe restaurant food is the bomb. Maybe you’re lazy. Maybe you just don’t give a damn. Maybe it’s Maybelline.

Whatever the reason, I just have one question for you:

 How can you afford to eat out or take out on a low income when you can’t even save a single penny?

Three words: First. World. Problems.

16. Save money drinking water

Drinking water is not only healthy, it’s also cheap. Cheaper than soda and coffee.

Speaking of coffee, that Cup o’ Joe is costing you almost $100 a month.

Regrettably, I’m not going to say anything more on the topic. The last time I did, I lost a friend. And I don’t want it to happen again.

So, all I have to say is: you’re responsible for deciding whether coffee beans are more valuable to you than saving money.

17. Use coupons, discounts, etc.

Some people love saving money with extreme couponing or hunting for the best deals.

Although it’s an effective way to save, you don’t have to get that crazy.

Instead, you can pick up your local store flier or check their website to find coupons and discounts. That’s easy to do.

And if your financial situation is pretty bad, then you might consider extreme couponing.

6 Smart Money Saving Tips

Smart Money Saving Tips

In order to beat the system, you’ve got make the right moves. These tips are some smart ways to do that.

18. Take advantage of credit card rewards

If you’ve got credit cards or you’re planning to get one, make sure it has some kind of rewards.

These type of cards can save you money on most, if not all, of your purchases.

Just be sure you’re using them responsibly, and not for a weekend shopping spree to cheer yourself up.

19. Do your taxes like the rich

It’s funny how everyone cries about the rich using “loopholes” to avoid taxes.

Well guess what? It’s 100% legal and you can do it too.

There are many tax breaks for low income people. You may not know about them but a qualified tax professional will.

Just make sure that person isn’t your mom’s best friend’s sister’s brother-in-law’s nephew, who works out of his grandma’s basement.

20. Pay off and limit credit card balances

You can’t afford to have a credit card balance.

That money gathers interest every month, which slowly increases your balance. And if you’re making minimum payments, it’ll take years to pay off.

Ideally, you want to use your credit card as if it’s cash you have now.

For example: If you only have $200 to your name, that’s the max you should put on your credit card – even if it has a $1,500 limit.

The reason is, you can use your credit card to spend up to $200, and immediately pay it off with the money you do have.

It’s another smart way to use your credit card responsibly.

21. Have your loans refinanced

Got loans? Okay. No need to harp on them right now. That’s pointless.

What you can do though, is work with your bank or lender to refinance your home, school, or auto loan. Even a marginal reduction now can save you thousands in the future.

BTW, don’t even sit there and think it won’t work, unless you’ve tried to do it.

And if you tried and got rejected, so what? Do it again until you succeed – even if the rejection happened yesterday.

22. Avoid unnecessary bank fees

This may not seem huge to you. But most big banks charge you all kind of hidden fees that add up over time. For example:

  • Checking account fees
  • Fees for withdrawals at ATMs other than your bank’s own
  • And even fees for having a savings account (ridiculous!)

If you’re in a situation like this, then it’s probably time to find a new bank or credit union.

Don’t be afraid to take your money out and put it somewhere that actually benefits you.

23. Be smart about surprise inheritances

Got a huge tax refund or work bonus? A dead relative left you some money? Did ya win the lottery?

Congratulations!

But before you run out and buy that cool flatscreen TV or brand new car, I suggest you stick most of that money in your savings account. A part of you may want to pay off debt asap. But that may not be a smart move.

For instance, if it’s the kind of money you see people tossing in rap videos, it makes sense to invest it. You know: actually using it to make more money.

This goes against conventional wisdom, I know. But having that money doesn’t change anything else in your life, nor should it.

You should still act as if you didn’t have it and stick to a proper budget and savings plan. Albeit one that reflects your newfound wealth.

Whether or not the money is enough to quit your job, you’ll want to act like a rich person. That means: talking to a financial specialist about investing.

So if you’re fortunate enough to come into some money, make smart decisions with it and don’t let the money change or control you.

8 Brilliant Ideas to Save Money

Ideas To Save Money

Expenses often throw a monkey wrench in your plans. The following ideas can help you avoid those hidden surprises.

24. Shop around for home/renter’s insurance

It’s a good idea to compare insurance rates annually. But smart people try to do it by talking to their current insurer much earlier.

Since it’s a business, good insurance companies won’t want to see you leave, so they may give you an offer you can’t refuse. 

But if you’ve got a millionaire mindset, you’ll pitch that rate to other companies and watch them fight each other to offer you the best rate. Mwahaha (evil genius laugh).

Of course, if you’re happy with your current company, just re-up with them.

25. Shop around for auto insurance

If you own a car with no payments (which is rare) that’s amazing.

If not, let’s just ignore the fact that you’re financing a car on a 1000-month payment plan.

When it comes to your auto insurance, you’ll do the same as you would with your home insurance. That is: negotiate the best rate and make these sharks compete for your money.

The best part is, you can do this today and potentially save money on your car insurance. Isn’t that smart?

26. Cut back on food expenses

There’s a bunch of ways you can do this. Here are a few:

  • Shop at local farmer’s markets
  • Buy in bulk
  • Shop at discount grocers and thrift stores
  • Shop with coupons (online and in-store)
  • Reuse leftovers
  • Freeze unused items
  • Freeze some grocery items like milk, bread, etc.

It may seem stupid, but… ain’t nothing more stupid than the amount of money that’s NOT in your savings account right now.

27. Lower water heater temperature

Most water heater thermostats are set at 140 degrees Fahrenheit. This could easily be costing you over $39 a month.

Ideally, you only need a temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Not only is that safer for most of the population, but it’s cheaper and will save you more money.

You can change your temperature by contacting your heating company or a licensed professional.

And if you want, you can buy a more efficient water heater.

28. Reduce your living expenses

If the rent’s too high, it’s time to say goodbye – to the building.

Yes, it’s a wonderful neighborhood. Yes, you’ll miss all your friends. Yes, you’ll hate it. Yes, moving sucks.

But listen Boo-Boo, at your level of income and savings, you’ll have to move eventually. So it’s better to do it now and avoid the embarrassment of eviction.

If you’re going to ignore this, at least try to negotiate your housing cost or find a way to make more money.

29. Curb your tech enthusiasm

If you’re reading this on the latest smart phone, there’s a good chance it’s costing you money.

You most likely have a payment plan, financing the cost of your phone over 2 or 3 years. That’s ridiculous!

I don’t care if you like nice things. If you’re not here to save money, you’re wasting your own time.

Do yourself a favor and buy a used or cheap smartphone as a one-time purchase.

Oh, and if your phone bill is too high, get a cheaper plan.

30. Lower your utility bills

This is such an obvious place to find savings yet most people overlook it.

You can do a number of things to reduce your utility bills and save more each month. Here are a few smart ways to save:

Doing all of those things can significantly reduce your utility bills.

31. Cancel unused memberships

Got a gym membership that you use 4+ times a week? I’m proud of you!

Does it cost more than $25 a month? Sounds like someone has you stuck in downward dog position.

Unless you like that sort of thing, I suggest you cancel that membership and find a new gym. Or better yet, build your own home gym if possible.

You can buy some cheap weights here or find used ones on Craigslist.

And lastly… do you have a gym membership you hardly use or never used at all?

If so, I don’t even know what to say other than LOL!!!

This also applies to any other memberships you have that aren’t being used.

The Bottom Line About Saving Money Fast

First of all, great job on reading through this amazing post. I can already tell that you’re going to easily start saving more money in the future.

Just remember though: it’s going to take a lot of commitment and discipline to save money.

There’s gonna be temptation, obstacles, and all kind of negative forces trying to trip you up.

But if you implement just a few of the things you learned today, and keep coming back to this post for inspiration, your savings will increase significantly.

Unfortunately, most people won’t be able to achieve that. Only because they’re still searching for answers and haven’t yet found this post.

The good news is, you and I can do something about that. We can help them. And it all starts with the humble act of sharing.

So go ahead, click the buttons below to share this post. Someone will be thankful that you did.

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About Carlton F.

Most people like to brag about themselves here. Carlton just wants you to know that he co-founded this website to help you find meaningful solutions to your money problems. Cars and traveling are his passion, but otherwise, he’s a humble dude.