You want to save money, but there just isn’t a lot of it to go around for the time being. You pretty much have no money. Don’t despair and don’t give up just yet. The trick to getting started with saving money is to focus on what you can do, not what you can’t.
It doesn’t matter if you are only able to save a few dollars as opposed to a few hundred or whatever amount you think needs to be saved at a time. Saving will eventually become a habit and will help relieve stress about your financial situation.
The key is being honest with yourself about your spending, being willing to change, and understanding that saving money is a form of self-care.
How to Save Money When You are Broke
1. No Amount is too Small
I don’t know about you, but for me, growing up I thought you had to save at least 50 dollars a month in order to have a good savings account which is totally untrue. But I have come to the realization that it doesn’t matter how much you save each month as long as you are saving.
Now there is nothing wrong with saving 50 dollars a month or more. That’s awesome. But at the same time, it is perfectly okay if that monthly amount needs to be much lower. It doesn’t matter if that amount is only 5 dollars or lower and that is all you are able to save. That is still a valuable contribution to your savings account and every little bit adds up.
So, if you grew up with the belief that you needed to put in a certain amount into your savings account and lower is unacceptable, allow yourself to change that mindset. Be willing to put a lower amount into your savings account until you are able to raise the amount. The whole point of saving is to start saving, no matter the amount.
2. Make Your Savings Work on Autopilot
Sometimes the easiest way to save is by not having to think about it. If you are having your paycheck paid by direct deposit, usually you can have a certain percentage or a certain amount pulled from your paycheck to go directly into your savings account.
If you don’t receive your paycheck this way, then pay yourself first. Take whatever decided amount you are going to put in your savings account and put it there and leave it there until it is needed.
3. Be Honest About Your Spending
There are levels to being broke.
First, there’s the type of broke where you still can find 10 dollars for a manicure or 15 dollars for dinner out. This type of broke means that you have some flexibility to saving more money. The second type of broke is when there is no extra money and cobwebs are starting to form in your bank account. This type of broke can happen if you experience some type of financial emergency, such as losing your job or becoming a single mom when it wasn’t planned.
There is technically a third type of broke that is a combination of the first two. You don’t have any wiggle room in your money, but you somehow manage to find money to use on whatever, whether that is spending money you need to use for something else or using credit cards to pay for things.
What kind of broke are you?
If it is the first type then you aren’t technically broke. You are temporarily living beyond your means. This is good, because it means you have the power to cut back on your excess spending to save money.
Here are a few things you can do:
- Try a No-Spend Day -Where you don’t spend a dime on that day. Any money you might have spent can be put in your savings account. You are feeling more ambitious you can do a longer no-spend challenge, such as a week, month, or even longer.
- Create a Budget or Tweak an Existing One – You probably have a budget that just needs tweaking. And if you don’t then creating one is easy and non-scary.
4. Bring in More Money
Let’s talk about the second type of broke. With this type of broke, there is no additional income. There is simply no money to save after all of the basics have been taken care of, keeping a roof over your head and to put food on the table.
There is no shame in finding ways to make extra money in this type of situation. (And honestly, if you are in the first type of broke there is nothing wrong with making more money to get ahead and stay ahead.)
There are so many ways to make additional money. Some of the ways include:
- Applying for a part-time job
- Deliver with DoorDash
- Be an Uber and/or Lyft driver
- Sell pretty much anything in your house for extra cash
- And the list goes on…
Do what you can to bring in extra income. When you get back on your feet, be mindful of your spending and make sure your budget has an emphasis on saving.
Saving has two sides to it.
One side is about the money, but the other is about your mindset.
There is no way around it. We live in a shopping and spending money-obsessed world. It is hared to save money when you are bombarded by ads, social media and information that tells us to spend.
Once you realize being on a budget is a sign of responsibility and not one of desperation, it becomes easier to save.