How to Save Money When You have a Low Income
Saving money is something that everyone seemingly wants to do, but often have much difficulty accomplishing.
When I look back at everyone I’ve worked with, I see that income itself has very little do with savings rates. In fact, I’ve said many times “It doesn’t matter if you make $50,000 or $150,000 a year, unless you generate a monthly surplus, you won’t get ahead” -Rick Orford
When working with someone who might have low income, I’d start to focus on the “basic needs”. That things like rent, food, etc. Everything that is absolutely essential. Stop spending on everything else – including things like cable TV, eating out, clothes shopping and so on. This will generate a surplus. If it doesn’t, your needs are too expensive – so you’ll need to consider moving to a lower cost home, or get a higher paying job, or a side hustle.
If you have predatory debt (i.e. payday loans, credit cards, etc), focus on paying them down ASAP. I like the “debt snowball” method – in that you start by paying off the creditor with the lowest balance first. Then you use that payment to pay off the next creditor and so on.
Soon, a healthy monthly surplus will be generated which should be used to generate an emergency fund, consisting of 6 months of “needs”. Once that’s done, pat yourself on the back. Feel free to start introducing back some “wants” and consider investing the rest for retirement.