12 Smart Ways To Save Money On A Low Income Fast

Empty wallet with a few dollars and coins signifying budgeting on a low income

This article may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a small commission for your click. We only recommend products that we trust. Read more here.

Do you need to know how to save money on a low income fast? Perhaps you’ve lost your job and are going broke and need to save money as best as you can.

Saving money can feel overwhelming when you have a low income, or no income at all. That said, it’s still possible to save money when you’re on a tight budget.

Let’s get started on these top tips that will help you start saving.

1. Re-evaluate Your Budget

Now’s a good time to create a budget and work out where you have some savings opportunities. Figure out where you’re spending too much money and work on cutting back. 

When money is tight, it’s important to spend in moderation. That is, instead of eliminating fun activities completely, cut back on how often you do them. Remember, this is likely temporary.

By having a plan for your money, you will be able to better control how you’re spending it. Check out this post on how to create a budget for more information.

Download a FREE Home Budget Template

Budget your money and track your spending with this fully responsive budget spreadsheet.

budget template cover image

2. Reduce Your Housing Costs

Rent in most of America is so high that it can be difficult to live alone if your income is low. If you’re having a difficult time covering rent due to low income, check out a roommate-finder website like Roomates.com.

When you live with someone else, you’ll spend less money on all of your living expenses, including:

  • Rent
  • Utilities
  • Cable/Internet

This will allow you to have more money for other expenses or to pay down debt or save for the future. Read this post to learn how to lower your living expenses further.

If living with a roommate isn’t an option, consider moving to a location which is less expensive, or finding a smaller apartment to rent. If you live in a sizeable house, one option is to rent out spare rooms for some extra cash.

3. Eliminate Debt

Paying off debt fast while having a low income will save you money in the long term. Some strategies to paying off debt when your money is tight includes:

  • Choose how you’ll pay off your debt: You can focus on paying your lowest balance debt or your highest interest rate debt first. You can read more about these two methods of paying off debt in this post about the snowball method and the avalanche method.
  • Don’t take on more debt: When possible, stop using your credit cards and focus on working towards becoming as debt free as you can.
  • Pay more than the minimum payments: The more money you can dedicate to paying off your debt each month, the faster you’ll get out, meaning you’ll save more money.

Crush Debt for Good

Get out of debt and stop impulse spending, so that you won't get into credit card debt again.

4. Find Low-Cost Activities and Free Entertainment 

When you’re trying to save money on a low income quickly, one thing you’ll want to do is lower the average amount of money you spend on activities and entertainment. Check out my post on low-cost activities you can do from home. Here are some examples:

  • Read books
  • Watch streaming services like Netflix
  • Play boardgames and card games
  • Do crafts
  • Exercise

When you’re managing your money, the previously mentioned activities like these won’t break the bank at all.

One great thing about finding low-cost and free activities and entertainment is that you’ll still be able to have fun while spending very little. 

5. Live Frugally

Whether you live frugally all the time or you’re living frugally short term, when you’re trying to save money, it pays to live on as little as possible. Living frugally doesn’t mean you live cheaply; it simply means you spend money only where you need to and cut back everywhere else.

Examples of ways to save money when you’re living frugally include:

  • Cut back on your cell phone bill by reducing your plan
  • Pay down debt, such as credit cards, car payments, and personal loans, so you have more money left over each month
  • Live below your means. Spend less money than you’re making and tuck away as much into savings as you can.

To help yourself live frugally, consider creating a budget that also tracks your spending closely.

6. Use Apps To Help You Save Money

There are several money-saving apps out there that can help you save money fast when you have little to no income. Here’s a few that will get you started:

  • YNAB: You Need A Budget is a household budget app. While I prefer using spreadsheets, sometimes using an app is easier. Using YNAB will help you better budget and track your spending so that you can spend less money overall.
  • Honey: Honey is one of my favorite money-saving apps. You can download the Honey plugin for your browser, and whenever you shop online, Honey will look for coupon codes for you when you go to checkout. I regularly save 1-10% on most of my online purchases through Honey. You can then redeem your savings in the form of gift cards. I recently redeemed a $50 Amazon Gift card from all of my savings from Honey.
  • Groupon: Groupon contains coupons for a variety of products and services. You can sometimes save 50% or more on deals of the day, including oil changes, clothing, online streaming subscriptions, and more. Groupon is a service that I personally need to use more. The amount you can save is fantastic.

Lower Your Cable, Internet, and Phone Bills

Sign up for Trim and get your bills negotiated automatically. Trim will also identify any subscriptions you may no longer be using to help you save even more money!

Affiliate Disclosure: This is an affiliate link and we may earn a small commission if you click and make a purchase. This helps our site grow and provide you with more content. Read our full disclosure here.

7. Shop At Thrift Stores

You can save a lot of money on clothes and miscellaneous items by going to a thrift store. Spend time going through the store’s inventory. 

Many thrift stores have an unsorted bin where you can often find the best deals overall. Spending several minutes going through the unsorted bin can sometimes be the best way to save.

In addition to traditional thrift stores, shopping at dollar stores, and other stores where all the inventory is $5 or less can save you tons. There’s no reason you have to pay a lot of money for anything you don’t need when you’re on a tight budget.

8. Consider Working Remotely

The cost of commuting can truly add up, both in the financial cost and the cost of time. If you can find a job online, you can save money on transportation, clothes, shoes, and more. A job-search website like Glassdoor can help you find legit work-from-home positions. Just put your location as Remote and start refining your job searches with positions that you’re looking for.

Working remotely has a drawback of lack of socialization. Sitting behind a computer all day can get lonely, but sometimes it’s completely worth it for the money you’ll save while you’re looking to budget and save money on a low income.

You may be able to raise your income when you work remotely because you may land a job at a company that you normally wouldn’t be able to work at due to their location and they may pay better than a typical job in your area. Using a job site to look around at what’s out there can help you earn more money.

9. Earn Some Fun Money With Swagbucks

If you don’t have time for a side hustle, consider filling out online surveys and offers on Swagbucks. Some folks earn as high as $100 to $200 per month on the site.

Swagbucks has opportunities to watch videos, fill out surveys, earn cashback on online purchases, and playing games on your phone to earn money, to name a few.

It’s also great to earn money on Swagbucks during your downtime. I used to do Swagbucks while waiting for dinner to cook or when waiting between classes. There’s no wrong time to earn a few bucks on the side.

10. Save Money by Canceling Unused Subscriptions

A quick way to save money fast is to cancel subscriptions you’re not longer using. This could be an unused gym membership, game subscriptions, beauty boxes, and more. Use this saved money for your financial goals, such as paying down debt or powering up your emergency fund.

If you don’t have an emergency fund, consider open a CIT Bank Saving’s Builder account, my bank of choice. This savings account offers a competitive interest rate and offers a higher rate each month that you transfer money into your account. This encourages you to save regularly, rewarding you with extra cash when you do.

An app like Trim will help you save money on subscriptions by scanning your bank and credit card statements to help you find money-saving opportunities. 

11. Make Saving Money a Priority

Treat saving money like an expense. Determine a weekly or monthly amount of money that you intend to save and transfer that money from your checking account to a savings account. 

By taking money out of your checking account and tucking it away in a savings account, you’ll have less access to it. WIth the money out of sight, it’s less likely that you’ll spend it with the swipe of your debit or ATM card.

Always save some amount of money. This can be as little as $5. When money is tight and you need to save, lock away money into savings before you spend money on entertainment and fun.

You can also make saving money a game and have fun while saving.

12. Increase Your Income

You may have cut everything back as much as you possibly can and are still tight on money. In this case, the best thing you can do is find ways to increase your income. To increase your income, consider getting a side hustle if you can’t take on a new full-time job. 

A side hustle that increases your income by just $100 per week puts another $5200 in your pocket at the end of a year.

Additional ways to increase your income include asking for a raise and seeking employment elsewhere.

Ramit Sethi of I Will Teach You To Be Rich writes a great article on how to ask for a raise.

Level Up Your Income

Download this FREE eBook with 50+ side hustles you can start today. Supplement your income or replace your full-time job entirely!

Clean Cut Finance Level up Your Income cover

Wrapping It Up

Saving money can feel daunting when you’re not earning much, or any money at all, but saving money is important, and using these tips can help you get by even on minimal to no income. Once your income situation improves, you can use these tips to continue to save money.

What are some ways you save money fast when you’re on a low income?

14 thoughts on “12 Smart Ways To Save Money On A Low Income Fast”

  1. I really need to start investigating all the different apps that help with saving money. It seems like such a no-brainer but I just never get around to doing it. Thanks for the list to check out!

    1. I used YNAB for some time though I went back to using a spreadsheet more recently.

  2. Peri McIntosh

    You cover some great, practical tips here. Thanks Dave 🙂

  3. All great tips! I notice the trend of everyone having their own place is really going out of style lately. You can save so much money by just combining expenses all under one roof.

    1. So true! There’s definitely a lot of money to be saved by combining living expenses

  4. Great tips! We’ve certainly used just about all of these at one time or another.

  5. Great advice, having a good lifestyle doesn’t need to cost a fortune, just need good planning.

  6. These 9 tips are perfect! I would add that people should starting hoarding and clipping coupons for when they go grocery shopping. I’ve saved about $100 with coupons on food.

  7. These are great tips! I love budgeting and think it is such an important thing to have—even more so if finances are tight because it helps me know where my money is going.

    I want to add an extra shoutout for Swagbucks. I’ve used that site for years and love getting my gift cards 🙂

  8. Very good tips to help you save some money! Following all these rules will help you save money for traveling maybe or buying something for yourself!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *