Do you think it would be impossible to live on just $30,000 per year? Well, you can. In fact, a lot of families do. Some do it to save money for retirement, and some only earn that much income after taxes.
Whatever the reason you have for saving money, here are 11 smart ways to save money when you make less than $30,000 per year.
1. Cash-Only For Purchases
Let’s start with an easy one. Start adopting a new concept of paying for purchases – other than monthly bills – with cash only. It’s an easy move; just set aside a certain amount of cash per week for groceries, toiletries, etc. This idea sets a “limit” on what you can buy for that week because you can actually see how much money you have left.
You are much less likely to overspend if you have physical cash on hand. If you have leftover cash just roll it into the next week’s budget.
2. Cook Your Own Meals
Meal-planning alone will save you hundreds and hundreds of dollars every month! You will be amazed – and a little disappointed in yourself (but don’t worry, we all feel that way) when you see the amount you are saving once you cook your own meals. It’s healthier than restaurant food or take-out, which is a bonus. You get to save money AND also lose weight?? Sign me up for that! This tactic is one of the very smart ways to save money!
3. Spend Now Or Spend Later
Say it with me now, “Spend now, or spend later?” This will be your new mantra when you see those shoes on sale and your self-control is starting to wane. Ask yourself whether or not you really need those shoes, or whatever is sparking your interest. It’s better to go home and sleep on it for a day, and then make your decision.
More often than not you’ll realize that the shoes you have will do just fine, and you’ll feel better that you saved money not wasting it on something you might wear once.
4. Don’t Let Alcohol Sink Your Budget
We all have those hard work days. When all you want is that glass of wine or go out with your friends to get some drinks. But, if you live in a big city – or, let’s be honest, any place with bars – a cocktail or glass of wine can be as much as $10 – sometimes more! That can really start to add up!
Instead of going out and paying premium prices for drinks, ever so often invite some friends to your house and get a bottle or two of wine. You can even cook your own bar food, and save even more money! Get your friends to rotate and host their own parties, then everyone saves!
5. Skip The Gym Membership
This doesn’t mean stop going to the gym. I’m only saying skip those monthly gym membership fees! The importance of working out isn’t where you do it, or what equipment you use. The important thing is being consistent and just working out! And just imagine not having to drive to a gym full of loud and smelly bodybuilders. Your home is calming and you’re free to workout stress-free at your own pace.
6. Take Advantage Of Transportation Opportunities
One of the best and smart ways to save money is taking advantage of public transportation in your area. This will drastically lower your monthly spending! Check and see if your area supplies free public transport because not all do. If it doesn’t, you’ll want to make sure you’re keeping the cost of public transportation to no more than 15% of your monthly income. Bicycling and carpooling are other great ways to save on the cost of your commuting needs.
7. Always Pay Bills On Time
Make sure you’re on top of the deadlines for paying bills. It will only take that first $10 late fee to get you more motivated to remembering. It doesn’t seem like a huge fee, but that’s money that you no longer have to spend on things you need or, more importantly, next month’s bills.
Get a calendar or a planner, mark those deadlines down even if you have them memorized. If you’re still worried about remembering, see if you can automate your payments so you won’t have to remember!
8. Lower Your Energy Cost
When you make the change to find smart ways to save money, you will find that you have to get out of your comfort zone a little bit. You may live in a place that gets really hot in the summer, or really cold in the winter. There are even those poor souls that get both sides of that coin. Thermostats can make a big difference in your monthly costs. Even changing the thermostat one degree can either save or eat-up your money every month.
Dial it higher a little in the Summer, and a little lower in the winter. It won’t take long to get used to, and you’ll enjoy the extra money in your bank account.
9. Coffee At Home
Everyone loves Starbucks. For some, it’s the only thing that can get them through the day, and sometimes the week! But coffee shop prices can be pretty ridiculous sometimes. You should consider investing in a coffee maker for home. It may seem a little expensive – depending on how good you want your coffee to be – but each cup of coffee at home will be less than half the price of anything you can get at a coffee shop.
10. Make Your Clothes Last
This is one of the smart ways to save money that you probably hadn’t thought of. Beware over-washing your clothes; as well as washing everything in hot water. Hot water can wear your clothes out faster, and it adds to those energy costs! Switch to washing your clothes in cold water to save the fabric and your money. The only things you should really wash in warm water are whites and things that are heavily soiled.
Don’t be afraid to re-wear clothes that aren’t dirty, or that you didn’t wear for very long like sweaters and jackets.
11. Don’t Be Afraid Of Being Gracious
Don’t push away when someone wants to help you out a little by helping buy groceries or supplies that you need. Don’t think of these things as “handouts,” but rather, say thank you when someone does something nice for you. It may be hard or odd at first – especially if you were raised to be financially independent, but don’t refuse kindness. Most people want to do nice things for other people. When you’re finding smart ways to save money, there’s not much room to be too humble.