Friday, November 30, 2018

5 Tips for Saving Money on a Low Income

Photo by @zdeal on Unsplash

Everyone knows about the rising cost of living. For many, this can pose a challenge to having extra funds accessible for leisure activities, goals and savings. The good news is, your salary alone is not what dictates your final bank balance. It’s your spending habits that play a major, more decisive role. Here are five ways you can regain financial control and increase your savings even if your income is limited:

1. Know Your Emergency Plan

Even if you're a crack financial planner, life will sometimes throw curve balls our way and set plans off course. It's a good idea to have an emergency savings fund to tackle unexpected costs like repairs and medical expenses. However this isn't always possible. Instead of racking up debt on a credit card, consider taking out a small loan, purely to help you cover the costs of your emergency bills. Talk with lenders who offer low interest loans for low income earners as they are safer and more affordable, meaning you can pay them off as quick as possible.

2. Carefully Manage Your Meals

Be conscious of your meal sources and avoid the extra costs of dining out. Even cheap fast food is not worth your money considering the impact it will have on your health long-term! Focus on consuming mainly home-cooked meals and cut costs by:
- Buying what you can in bulk or on sale.
- Have a supermarket strategy - Plan your grocery list and never shop hungry.
- Grow your own herbs - Parsley and basil will spread around your yard all-year-round!
- Cooking one-pot items in large quantities - Enjoy fresh and refrigerate leftovers for later use.

3. Reconsider All Subscription Services

It’s 2018, many people have Netflix or Spotify and won’t think twice about it. While most subscription services charge generally low fees, they do accumulate in the same way utility and phone bills do; adding potentially hundreds of dollars to your ongoing yearly expenses. Sharing an account with friends and splitting the subscription fees is an easy way to reduce these expenses.
Make sure anything entertainment-related you pay for is worthwhile. If, for example, you know you have a busy work month ahead, put a pause on your subscriptions so you’re not paying for movies you’re not watching.

4. Home-Made Cleaning Solutions

You’d be surprised by how many store-bought cleaning items you can replace with DIY cleaning products made from inexpensive items like vinegar, baking soda, citrus fruits, salts, and essential oils. You can also take this same approach and create your own bathroom or makeup products like natural cleansers, hand soap, and moisturizers.

5. Durability Over Single-Use

Save money and reduce waste by banishing single-use items from your life, for good. Don’t spend your cash on something you will throw out in a day and consider the following.
- Your kitchen: Use spare cloth or old clothes instead of paper towels
- Your bathroom: Replace disposable items like shavers, makeup wipes and even baby nappies with durable alternatives - they’re more eco-friendly and economical in terms of cost-per-use.
- Out of home: Refill your water bottle or thermos for free rather than buying bottled water. Drink coffee from home in a reusable coffee cup or seek cafes that offer BYO cup discounts!

You don’t have to overthink or spend a lot of time cutting down any of the above-mentioned costs. All tips are based on sustainable lifestyle choices rather than encouraging high-maintenance habits and changes to things you will truly miss. So why not start today with whatever is easiest for you to implement and see for yourself!