When you’re struggling to pay rent and put gas in your car the thought of actually being able to save money may seem impossible. We all know the importance of saving, but putting this knowledge into action is much more difficult.
However, there are some simple strategies you can implement to help jumpstart your goal of saving an extra $100 every month. Here’s how to break the cycle of being broke and actually save money when you’re living paycheck to paycheck.
Seriously, just start with putting away $2-5 a week. Open a free online savings account and deposit whatever you can afford. Or simply start stashing away any extra change you have lying around your house or car. It may not seem like a significant amount of money but this is a very important step.
After a few weeks or months, these small amounts won’t be as difficult to save and you can start increasing these deposits over time. It only takes $25 a week to save $100 a month and it’s a lot easier to go from $20 to $25 than it is to go from saving $0 to $25 per week. So start out small and work your up to bigger amounts.
Between earning rewards for shopping online and using coupons at local stores, there are endless ways to save money on things you buy every day. You’re probably already using coupons and earning cashback on purchases, but are you banking those savings?
What I mean is, when you use a $0.50 off coupon at the grocery store, log into your online bank (or send a text message) and transfer that amount from your bank account to your savings account. I use a free money-saving app called Digit which allows me to send text messages and transfer small amounts, like $1-3 per week, directly to my account when I save money with coupons or other deals.
Earning money outside of your day job is an ever-growing trend. It may take a bit of time to get off the ground, but if you attach this new side gig to your savings goal you’ll become much more motivated versus just working for an endless return.
From doing virtual freelance work to flipping yard sale finds on eBay or Etsy, your options for earning extra money are endless. Dedicate 1-2 nights a week, or an entire Saturday, to this new gig and set aside every dollar you bring in towards this new goal.
Once you’ve implemented these first few steps, keep it going for the next few months. Challenge yourself to a 60 or 90-day savings challenge and aim to increase your savings by extremely small increments each week.
Work with a friend or colleague to stay on track and make a fun competition out of it. Check in with your accountability partner and discuss your wins and struggles, so you can work through the tough spots. Once you reach your goal reward yourself with something small, like a cup of coffee or happy hour with a friend. Having something to work towards, with a reward at the end, will make the entire process more fun and exciting.
Make it slightly difficult to access your money so you’re forced not to touch it. You want it to be easy to save money on a daily or weekly basis, but not so easy that you withdraw funds on a whim. The point of saving an extra $100 while living paycheck to paycheck is to not touch your money until you reach your goal.
Put it just out of reach so you won’t be tempted. It takes a bit of discipline to create an on-going savings habit, so make it easier on yourself by using these strategies listed and not making it easy for you to spend the money you’ve saved. After a while you’ll be saving $100, or more, each month without realizing it!