Saving money on a low income comes with a lot of stress. People, in general, don’t like saving money because this activity feels restrictive to them. This is especially true if they earn $20K a year or less. You certainly don’t want to feel like you are working only to pay the bills. It’s also important to enjoy the money you are earning.
Financial expert and TV personality, Dave Ramsey, believes that it’s important to learn how to save money on any kind of budget, especially on a low budget. The saying that the more money you earn, the more money you spend is true.
Ramsey believes that the key to financial health is in your self-control and discipline. “You must gain control over your money or the lack of it will forever control you.”, Dave Ramsey says.
Ramsey’s ways are a bit rough for the average person who loves to indulge in their spending habits like paying for an expensive dinner out, buying brand new cars or expensive care products.
However, if you don’t take control of your financial urges, your financial urges are going to control you. As a result, your finances are going to suffer.
Here are 10 ways you can save more money on a low income, according to Dave Ramsey.
Save money by lowering your grocery bill
According to the U.S Bureau of Labour Statistics, in 2013, the average American family of four spent $550 on groceries every month (which totals $6602 per year).
If you don’t want to spend so much on food, you need to have a bit of discipline.
Dave Ramsey suggests you plan your meals for the week.
I know it’s hard but saving money by planning your meals will help you stay away from the temptation of buying extra food you don’t need.
When you go to the shop, stick to your shopping list and, if you can afford it, leave your kids at home. Children have a way of bending your will to buy them something they want on an impulse.
Another tip to saving money on a low budget would be to decrease the consumption of snacks. People who snack are more likely to spend beyond their budget. That’s because it is easy to give in to the temptation of buying a pack of candy, for example, if you allow yourself to snack during the day. Plus, snacking may be damaging your health in the long run.
Another way to save money is to try online grocery shopping to avoid buying beyond your budget.
Some of the grocery shops can offer free delivery. When you buy your food online, you’ll be more likely to stick to your grocery list. You won’t get tempted by the smell or sight of those chocolate chip cookies waiting for you in the baked goods section.
Save more money by ditching the brands
Dave Ramsey is a fan of buying non-generic products because, in his words, they’re as good as the generic ones but cost less. Thus, instead of reaching for that Pantene shampoo, grab a non-generic one that’s probably as good and will be kind to your wallet as well.
Save more money by getting rid of subscriptions and memberships
How often have you used your $100 gym subscription? If you rarely see the inside of a gym, it is time to cancel it. Movie streaming subscriptions can also make it hard for you to save more. If you don’t have time to watch Netflix or Amazon Prime or do but you feel guilty spending money on them, unsubscribe. There are plenty of other things to do in your free time than binge-watching tv shows for maybe the 5th time in a row.
Ditch that cable bill
Ramsey believes that paying for cable is unnecessary. Instead of paying more than a hundred bucks on cable, you can go out to see a movie. It will cost you less and the experience will be memorable.
Get rid of your debt
Dave Ramsey is famous for setting up a debt-reduction strategy called ‘The debt Snowball’ method. This method consists of paying off smaller debts first followed by larger debts. Why? Ramsey believes it’s all about human psychology. When you pay a small debt first, you will feel great about yourself to have managed such a task.
That confidence will lead to taking bigger steps and paying larger amounts down the road. You’ll finally believe that even that $100K loan could be paid off. Ramsey is a fan of the ‘small steps towards success’ mentality.
Cook all your meals
Ramsey advises those on a low budget to never walk into a restaurant for lunch or dinner and instead cook all the meals at home. The advantage of this tip is that cooking all your meals is fun. You know what ingredients go in your meals and that’s important especially if you have certain dietary needs like if you eat gluten-free or are lactose intolerant.
Pay in cash
Ramsey believes you can get rid of your need to spend money frivolously if you pay for things in cash. The financial expert thinks that using your bank card to make purchases makes you unaware of how much you spend. However, seeing and feeling the money in our hands when spending triggers a pain response in the brain which will make you less excited to splurge.
Save money by taking the spending freeze challenge
The spending freeze challenge is a challenge invented by Ramsey and consists of cutting up your credit card or stashing it in your freezer. Ramsey thinks that when you have taken physical action to destroy your credit card, it will be impossible for you to spend more. Even if you want to. You can also stash your bank card in your freezer for a week if you want to take a break from spending.
At the end of the week, you can revise how you felt without spending a dime. Could you make this a habit? You can also ask yourself if there are more interesting ways of spending your time without the use of money.
For example, you can try taking long walks in the park, planning a game night with friends, or going for a picnic with your significant other. These are enjoyable activities that don’t cost a dime but build long-lasting memories.
Get a better job
Ramsey’s biggest complaint when it comes to how people manage and spend
money is their income. He believes that those who have a low income don’t have a spending problem. They have an ‘income problem’.
Thus, if you find yourself stressed out when you must pay bills and manage an entire family of four on a $20K a year income, realize that it’s not enough and you need a better job.
Try to send out job applications in your spare time and look for jobs that can support your entire family, so you don’t need to live paycheck to paycheck or get into debt to pay the electric bill every month.
Create an automatic savings account
The easiest way to save money, according to Dave Ramsey is to set up an automatic savings account. You can talk to your bank so that, each month your bank automatically transfers money from your checking account into your savings account. For example, you can save 10% of your income so that each month, you’ll pay yourself $166 from an income of $20K.
That will help secure your financial future even if you’re starting with a bit over a hundred bucks.
Saving money on a low income is a bit of a challenge but it certainly can be done. Follow the popular financial advisor’s tips, Dave Ramsey, and you’ll be on your way to managing your money better and saying goodbye to debt.
Marlena Bontas is a content writer, tea drinker, a free spirit who likes walking in nature, traveling, and living in foreign countries. She advocates for mental health on her Medium Blog.