How To Save Money When You’re Broke (10 Simple Ways)

man holding wallet with $1 that he saved while broke

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When you’re broke, saving money might seem like an impossible task.

The thing is, this isn’t the case, and there are various ways in which you can accumulate your money and set it aside for future needs.

Having the right mindset and following some guidelines can help you immensely. Below are just a few of the best ways to get started with your financial goals.

In this article, we'll discuss different ways you can save money when you have none at all.

1. Make a Realistic Goal as to How Much You Want to Save

When setting your savings goal, you’ll want to be realistic about it so that you can achieve it. Whether you’re saving for a down payment on a home, setting up your kids’ college funds, or for an extended vacation, having a specific goal in mind will help you stick to your plan.

Next, set a deadline for your saving plan, so you’ll know exactly when you’ll accomplish your goal.

For instance, if you plan to buy a car, this could be a short-term goal.

But if you’re planning your retirement, this will take longer and require more thought into planning and execution.

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To help you better achieve your goals, it’s best to break them down into smaller, more achievable chunks.

For instance, if you’re planning to purchase a new phone for $1,000 in the next three months, then you’ll need to set aside $334 every month.

However, this could feel overwhelming, so you can break this down into a weekly savings of $84 to make it a bit more manageable.

2. Track Your Spending and Determine Where You Have Excess Spending

When your bank balance is running low, having a budget can help. Creating a budget will help you keep an eye on your money and figure out where you're overspending.

In the next 30 days, be sure to list down all your expenses, which may include:

  • Rent or Mortgage
  • Groceries
  • Personal expenses
  • Insurance
  • Entertainment
  • Transportation expenses
  • Utilities

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Be sure that you know where each dollar is going and at the end of 30 days, look at how you spent your money. As you look through your expenses, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Did you spend money on anything unnecessary?
  • Where did your money go apart from necessary expenses?
  • Do you have any expenses that can be substituted for low-cost options?
  • Are there any expenses that can be reduced or eliminated?

While this may sound like a lot of work, you’ll discover a lot of things simply by tracking and analyzing where your money goes every week.

If you’re looking to save money while you’re broke, it’s important to control your income and expenses.

Developing a budget is the best way to do this because it will provide you with an insight into how you can best stretch every dollar and leave some to go to your savings.

3. Pay Off Credit Card Debt

Get off on the right start by lowering your debt, and the best way to do this is by minimizing how much you pay in interest.

The app Trim can help you negotiate your credit card APR with your bank, which will lower how much interest you’re paying each month.

This will then save you money as you’re paying down your card or cards.

Here are a few things you can do to get started with a debt-payoff plan:

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  1. Get all of your debt statements together, which will include things like:
    1. Mortgage
    2. Credit cards
    3. Car loans
    4. Student loans
    5. Other interest-bearing loans

Be sure to write down the details on these debts, including the balance for every loan, their interest rates, and their minimum monthly payments.

  1. Prioritize the order in which you plan to pay off the balances of your debt. This will make it easier to manage and allow you to eliminate one source of debt at a time. You can either pay off debt with higher interest rates first, or you can go for those with a smaller balance first.
  2. Determine how much you can pay against your debts each month. By finding ways to limit expenses and by creating more sources of income, you can get rid of debt quicker.

Now that you have a plan, be sure to put it to work right away.

Once you get started, stick to it — staying focused on the goal will increase your chances of becoming debt-free.

When you get out of debt, you’ll be able to use your money to grow your wealth through savings and investing.

4. Use an App to Get Cash Back on Everyday Purchases

Much like using food apps to add deals to your card, you may also find great opportunities on apps such as Swagbucks for household items or groceries.

Swagbucks is a rewards app where you can earn money in over a dozen ways, some of which include filling out surveys, shopping online, scanning your receipts, playing games, signing up for offers, and watching videos.

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Possibly the easiest way to earn money is to install the SwagButton to your browser and use it every time you shop online, as you will earn cash back almost instantly, which is applied to your account and can be cashed out from Swagbucks at any time.

Of course, there are so many other ways to earn on Swagbucks, so sign up for free with this link then head over to our Swagbucks guide to learn how to maximize your earnings.

5. Set Up Automated Savings

Save up money by setting up automatic withdrawals from your checking account to your savings account.

Another app that can help you save is Acorns.

Acorns is a simple investment app that rounds up your everyday purchases and automatically invests the difference. Your investments are then diversified across more than 7,000 stocks and bonds, while the app keeps everything balanced for you.

Acorns also offers a checking account and debit card so you can save, invest, and earn while you spend.

Check out Acorns right here.

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Even if you’re low on money, you might think that you won’t have any leftovers to save. Even saving $5 a day leads to $1,825 saved each year, which can be even more if invested.

6. Increase your Income

While there are plenty of ways to save money, it’s even easier to do when you have more coming from different streams of income. Finding other ways to make more money will certainly help you reach your goals faster. Here are just a few ways you can look into:

Asking for a Raise

When asking for a raise, document everything you’ve been doing that has helped your company and your boss. Whether you’ve helped the company make more money, save money, or you’ve helped solve problems that no one else has – bring your best qualities to the table when asking for a raise.

By showing off how valuable you are to the company, you greatly increase your chances of getting paid more, as the company will not want you to leave for another job that pays better.

Do Part-Time Work

If you have a lot of time to spare, it’s good to look into starting a part-time job or a side hustle. A side hustle is perfect for most as you can spend as much or as little time doing it and you can earn some extra money on the side.

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Even earning an extra $50 per week through a side hustle can add up immensely over time and help you pay off debt and invest for your future.

7. Use Consignment Stores to Buy Common Things

People can make money from selling their unwanted things, but you can also save money by purchasing used goods from others.

If you’re too broke to save, then you’ll be able to free up some cash by purchasing used clothing, furniture, houseware, and other items rather than buying something brand new at full price from a store.

Moreover, thrift stores are also great places to find used goods for a fraction of the price.

If you’re looking for something specific, you can find just about anything on eBay, or you can look for local sellers on Facebook Marketplace.

You might also want to visit Saturday morning garage sales, where you’ll find that sellers are a lot more willing to get rid of stuff rather than make a profit out of things. It’s also beneficial to check out the FREE section in online classified ads.

With it, you can set up an email alert to notify you of the latest things that people want to give away for free within your local area.

One last thing you can try to free up your cash is to go on a spending freeze. This involves not buying anything at all for a few days or a week at a time. Not spending money for periods at a time can be helpful for reaching short-term financial goals.

8. Work on Stopping Impulse Spending and Save Money You Would Have Spent

The good thing about tracking your spending is that it helps you develop a sense of discipline — you may start noticing that before you make a purchase, you think about it first.

This is where accountability starts to kick in, and the more you think and write about your expenses, the less likely you are to splurge on unnecessary things.

However, if you find that you’re still making impulse purchases, here are a few other tricks you can try:

Set Rules for Yourself

To stop yourself from making impulse buys, you need to commit to not making purchases.

This can last anywhere between 24 hours to as long as a month or longer.

One way to do this is by adding an item to your Amazon wishlist, then ignoring it for the set amount of time you want. Doing this will give you enough time to consider your purchase.

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  • Survey Junkie – Snag another up to $10 when you sign up.
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You’ll find that a lot of the time, you don’t need the item, so you can remove it from your wishlist.

Moreover, you can set a limit on your impulse buys. For instance, you could allow yourself to spend $50 per week on impulse items.

9. Learn More About Personal Finance

If you’re truly interested in getting out of debt and getting started with savings, then it’s up to you to find out as much as you can about personal finance.

This won’t just help you on a personal level, but it will also teach you skills that you can use for the rest of your life so that you never have to struggle financially again.

There are plenty of online courses on personal finance that you can check out from online course providers such as Udemy, Skillshare, and Coursera.

 

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10. Reward Yourself for Saving Money

The best way to keep yourself motivated through such a hard process is to make the journey fun. You can do this by giving yourself some positive reinforcement along the way. This will help you develop better spending habits.

A great idea for a reward is to set a spending goal, then allow yourself to use whatever money is leftover any way you want. For instance, if you only spent $200 on food last month instead of the usual $400, you can use half the leftover money to purchase something you enjoy and the other half can be transferred to savings.

Benefits of Saving Money

If you’re able to stick to your saving plans, there are plenty of benefits to saving money, such as:

  • Getting out of debt
  • Having savings for things you want to do
  • Establishing your retirement funds while you’re younger
  • Having financial freedom instead of worrying about money
  • You’ll have emergency funds for unexpected expenses

Wrapping It Up

No matter how you look at it, saving money is always a beneficial move compared to living paycheck-to-paycheck.

Moreover, it helps you live a debt-free life where you can enjoy doing things confidently without worrying about using up all your income before you can even enjoy it.

The best part about saving up is that you don’t have to stay broke for long — the moment you decide to establish your savings goals, you'll have the tools to start right away.

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