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Tips for Budgeting on a Low Income – (15 Easy Tips)

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If you don’t have much of an income to work with and trust me I’ve been there, then it can be difficult to find a way to budget your money. This is especially true when it seems you don’t even have enough to pay your bills and you’re living month-to-month. The good news is with these tips for budgeting on a low income, you will find ways to pay your bills and even stick a little money in the bank.

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Tips for Budgeting on a Low Income

Take heart. It is possible to budget even if you don’t make a lot of money. It will take some time and work, but it can be done.

These tips will help make budgeting easier.

1. Track Your Spending Down to the Last Nickle

This is the toughest tip for some people to actually follow through with, but it is definitely worth it.

This means keeping receipts for everything and entering them into a notebook or some type of computer program for tracking spending.

You can use a notebook to track your spending, and if you want you could go ahead and get a small book that will fit in your purse that you can also use to jot down any notes or ideas for saving money.

I used to carry a small notebook in my purse and I would write down everything I spent money on even if it was only a few cents.

You can’t get a handle on your money until you know exactly where it is going.

This one tip helped me pay off a lot of debt.

That’s because once you know where your money is going, you can cut out unnecessary spending.

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2. Once You Know What You Are Spending Your Money On Cut Out Unnecessary Spending

This doesn’t mean that you give up everything all at once, but it means that you need to be realistic in your approach.

If you are paying $100 a month on your cable bill and it is only used to watch 1 or 2 shows a day, then it is time to downsize the plan.

It is also a good idea to start getting into the habit of using free Internet access such as community centers, libraries, or even at the local coffee house using their wireless connection.

This will not only save you money on high-priced Internet packages but also on the monthly bills for your computer as well.

Lately, it seems I have been going over the data limit on my phone and the internet. That cost me an extra $60 dollars last month.

You need to keep an eye on this sort of thing and use free internet whenever possible to cut down on your data usage.

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3. Take Advantage of Free Entertainment

Check your local paper and see if there are any free events taking place in your area.

Check out the library for free entertainment as well.

You can often find flicks that you would be interested in seeing at no cost, and you may also be able to borrow some books that you have been wanting to read but could not afford to purchase.

If you have any books that are collecting dust somewhere, take them to a used book store or a second-hand shop and see if they will buy them from you.

You could walk away with a decent amount of cash instead of just getting rid of the books because they were taking up space in your house.

Also, give your local Chamber of Commerce a call and see if they have a list of free or cheap activities in your area. They will most likely mail you any information they have at no cost.

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4. Give up the Car

If you have a car, it can cost you hundreds of dollars a month. 

Cars require insurance on top of registration and taxes.

You will also need gas to get around and tries to drive them on.

If you can live without a car, the savings can be great. I went without a car for a few years. It wasn’t my favorite thing to do but at the time I couldn’t afford car payments and insurance.

It saved me a lot of money and helped my financial situation at the time.

I ended up walking and riding my bike to most places.

I didn’t have to worry about making time to exercise as I got plenty of it daily just getting to where I needed to go and back home again.

Walking and bike riding means you can save money on a gym membership as well.

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5. Save Your Change

Whenever you get change back from a purchase, put it in a jar and don’t touch it.

After enough time, you may be able to accumulate enough money to do something special with it.

$200 in change can actually add up pretty quickly if you are disciplined about saving it.

You can even throw your dollar bills in there as well if you want to save money a little faster.

Just be sure you don’t start dipping into it. 

Empty the jar once or twice a year and put the money in a savings account. It will add up faster than you think.

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6. Plan Your Meals Ahead of Time

Plan out your meals for the week on Sundays before you go to the grocery store.

You will be able to save money by cooking your own meals rather than eating out.

It will also help you stick to your food budget. 

Make a list and don’t buy anything that’s not on the list.

I know this is kind of a pain to do, but it will help you when it comes to your budgeting.

7. Buy Your Meat in Bulk

Another way to save money when it comes to food is to buy meat in bulk.

Meat at a store like Costco can be purchased at a much lower price than at a normal grocery store.

This is because you are buying it in bulk.

It doesn’t mean you have to buy a side of beef. Of course, if you have a freezer that might not be a bad idea.

It just means buy larger amounts.

For example, I have a friend that always buys hamburger when it is on sale and she will buy 10 or even 20 pounds of it. 

It does save money.

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8. Pay Off Your Debt

Get your high-interest debt paid off as fast as possible.

You are better off paying off the high-rate loans and credit cards first and then start saving money after they are paid off.

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9. Reduce Your House Cost

If you live in an area with a very high cost of living, you may want to consider moving somewhere else.

If you can’t move, then consider taking in a roommate or renting out a room.

As a renter, you should think about renting a room instead of a full apartment.

If the idea of living with someone else makes you sick to your stomach, then you should really consider moving into a smaller place.

10. Cut out Nonessential Expenses

Do you really need that $90 a month cell phone bill?

How about cable or satellite tv?

Look at your current spending and see what you can cut out to save money.

You might be surprised.

And don’t forget things like Starbucks. I love going there, but at almost $6.00 dollars for a cup of coffee, it is truly a luxury and doesn’t even come close to an essential expense.

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11. Keep Your Budget Lean and Mean

Of course, we all would love to have a better salary and earn more money but that isn’t always possible.

If you’re currently earning the amount that you need to live comfortably and yet still somehow find a way to overspend each month then it may be time to revisit your budget and start making some cuts.

This may mean cutting down on clothing purchases or entertainment expenses.

It might mean canceling the cable or your cell phone plan if you aren’t using it.

It could even mean eating out less frequently or limiting certain household purchases such as cleaning supplies or toiletries.

Whatever the case, if you can cut back in these areas, you will save more money and will be able to live within your means once again.

12. Look for a New Job

What about your job?

If you are just not making enough money every month, you might want to think about getting a better job.

I know that can be much easier said than done, but it is possible.

Talk to your boss about a raise. If they say no, then start looking elsewhere.

You may have to take a training course to meet the requirements of a better job, but it can be worth it.

Don’t let your age or fear hold you back.

When I taught English at a community college, many of my students were older adults looking to make a major change in their lives and to find a way to provide a better future for their families.

They went back to school to get a degree or a certification.

At the end of all the hard work, they were able to get better and higher-paying jobs because they took the time to learn new skills.

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13. Save Your Tax Refund

If you’re lucky enough to receive a tax refund, rather than spending it on something frivolous or items you may not need, try putting the money aside for a rainy day.

A tax refund can be a great way to increase your savings by a substantial amount and can be just the thing you need to accelerate your debt reduction strategy.

Keep in mind, you really shouldn’t be getting a large tax refund. 

If you do, that means you gave the federal government a free loan for 12 months.

14. Use Cash

If you are able to stick to an all-cash budget then you will have a better idea of where your money is going each month.

It doesn’t mean that it is impossible to overspend with this method but it will help give a better idea of what your spending habits really are and how much you need each month to cover your expenses.

Just set it up so when you run out of cash you stop spending for the month.

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15. Start a Side Gig

If money is really tight and you can’t get a raise or a new job and you have a skill that can be turned into a side gig, you may want to consider doing it.

Whether it’s blogging, writing guest posts for other blogs, freelancing, mowing lawns, or whatever else you are good at, try to turn that into some extra cash by utilizing the skills and talents that you currently have.

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To Sum it All Up:

This should help you start thinking of ways you can save some extra money on your tight budget. Remember that just because your income is small, this doesn’t mean that you need to be in a great deal of trouble financially. With a little extra effort and patience, you can get the most out of what little income is coming into your household.

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