I am not a financial advisor. I’m just here giving out some useful tips and tricks to save you some coin!
The number one question I get asked on Instagram in my DMs (yes I do answer my DMs guys!) is how to budget and save money on low income. Obviously that is a difficult task to accomplish successfully, but I’m up to the challenge of proving some helpful tips. As a teacher I knew I’d never be raking in beaucoup bucks, but I also didn’t anticipate having thousands of dollars in student loans either.
I’ve been very lucky to have my adult life supported by my family. What that means? Although they didn’t give me money, pay for my school, or take care of me financially, they didn’t kick my ass out or force me to pay rent. That useful support, allowed me to learn how to budget and save money on low income.
Now this unfortunately isn’t the case for everyone who is struggling to budget and save money on low income. The fact of the matter is (especially to my boos living in New York) that the rent is TOO damn high! And as I make very slow and steady moves to becoming a property owner, I can tell you… the mortgage interest rates are TOO damn high as well! Budgeting and saving money is a lot harder than nit used to be, and though it is difficult it is not impossible. Here are few things you can do, and should do.
How To Budget And Save Money On Low Income
High Interest Debt Should Be Tackled First: I’ve said it before, and I will say it again, saving all the money in the world will not mean very much if you are not tackling your heavy debts first. It can be difficult and confusing to decide on which debts to tackle first especially if you have a plethora or variety of them (car loan, mortgage, student loans, credit cards…etc). The best method and decision to paying off your debts should be the ones that have the highest interest rates.
Why? Because if you make minimum payments on all of your debts, you’ll be paying until you’re 90 years old. Whether you use the snowball method, or any other debt paying methods, you should always pay the debts with they highest interest rates. This way you’ll get rid of the debt faster, and free up some money to either save, or direct towards another debt.
Cut Down On Big Expenses: I know that cutting down on expenses is common knowledge and advice the anti comes to budgeting and saving money. But… you need to really focus on cutting down on big expenses. When you cut down on bigger expenses you can free up way more money. This means you should think about refinancing major costs (if you have a mortgage that is the best part to start). Be careful when you refinance anything because even though it will lower your monthly costs, it will extend the life of your loan.
Spend In Moderation: Make your budget as lean as possible! What does that mean? Instead of cutting out everything (because that really is just no fun for anyone), you have to skim on the things that you love less. You are going to have to tell people no a lot more often, but if you prioritize what you simply can’t do without, and minimize all the rest you will be making some space between what is spent and what is able to be saved. This step is going to take you being really real with yourself. You are going to have to look at what you spend on a monthly basis and trim the fat where you can.
Side Hustle: Okay… we have talked about side hustles at nauseam. It is absolutely necessary to pick up a side hustle or two. The biggest thing you need to remember when it comes to side hustles is it needs to be something you like doing/ you’re good at. Because you will be doing it in addition to your regular 9-5.
Earned Income Tax Credit: I don’t qualify for this, but it is something that should be an option for you to look into if you do. Earned income tax credit (EITC) is a refundable tax credit that you receive so you are able to keep more of your income. It can be thousands of dollars returned to you during tax season. Speak to your accountant when you are filing your taxes to see if you qualify for this option.
Use the 50/20/30 rule: I like to think of the 50/20/30 rule as more of a guideline to how I live my financially frugal life. I say guideline because 1) it sounds far less constrictive and 2) I like to break rules so if I look at this as more of as suggestion/guideline I’m far more likely to want to follow it. Words have power so yes I trick myself into following certain things.
The 50/20/30 rule sets up how you spend your money in the following mathematical break down: 50% essential costs, 20% financial goals, 30% lifestyle costs. Essential costs are the costs that you pretty much have to pay to survive a decent life( rent, food, mortgage payments, car payments, utilities…etc). Financial Goals are up to you. This is the part that you decide on based off of your financial bases. This is your emergency savings, retirement, and future financial goals. Your financial goals also include any extra payments you make on your debts/bills. Your lifestyle costs are what you can control. This is where you decide your wants versus your needs. Eating out, shopping, vacation, variable costs…etc.
In following these methods you give yourself a better chance/opportunity of making it from check to check budgeting and saving money on a low income. Take it from a teacher… it’s difficult but doable!
Until the next time,
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Hey there! I’m Melissa, co-founder of Trials n Tresses, natural hair and beauty lover, binge tv watcher and lover of life. When I am not creating content for TNT, I’m busy teaching the future of society.