Whether you’re a recent graduate or you’re a few years into your career, there are many reasons why you may find yourself in a difficult financial situation. In fact, according to a survey conducted by GoBankingRates, around 57% of Americans have less than $1,000 in their savings account. Although this has improved significantly from last year’s 69%, over half of Americans don’t have a comfortable savings cushion or know how to save money effectively.
If you are one of these people, keep in mind that you are not alone. And there’s still hope. The most important thing is to stay positive, motivated, and focused, and over time the hard work will pay off. Whatever your financial goals are, here are the best ways to save money even when you are broke.
Save Money – Create A Budget
No matter how much money you are making or trying to save, setting a budget should be your primary focus. It takes commitment and time, but once you have control over your expenses, you will have a clear path to take towards saving money. Here are the most significant things to consider while building your budget.
- Assess your financial situation. Gain a full understanding of how much money you are bringing in after taxes so that you know exactly what you are working with when planning your expenses.
- Categorize your expenses for more efficient organization. You can look at some of your past costs to get an idea of what categories to add. Things like food, entertainment, hygiene, transportation, and debts are all good ones, but it all depends on your specific situation.
- Identify areas where you are spending too much. These expenses will be the ones that you focus on minimizing right off the bat. When figuring this out, be realistic, and know that you will probably have to make sacrifices. There are plenty of things that you can do without.
- Set your new plan and commit to it. With the further clarity you have over your financial situation, you can now make decisions on where your future income will go.
Even after creating your budget, you may still not see much room for savings. This is okay. There are many other ways you can give yourself this cushion.
Buy Things On Sale And Find Coupons
Every single day, there is a sale going on somewhere. If you really believe that you’re broke, it’s now your responsibility to seek these opportunities out, because that is precisely what they are — opportunities to spend less money than you otherwise would. Each sale or coupon that you use is one more way that you can minimize your expenses, and decreasing costs is the key to giving yourself room to save.
There are many ways to find local sales and coupons. Websites like Groupon, LivingSocial, and slickdeals can provide you with good deals, but there are also some potentially more effective sources. In most cases, local stores will have ads and coupons mailed to residents within their area. Always look through these so you can see which grocery stores have sales for the items you need. You may need to make 2 or 3 stops to truly optimize your spending, but at the end of the day, if you can save more money month, then it will be worth it.
Public Services and Resources
If you are genuinely under financial stress, making use of publicly available services can make a big difference in how much you can save each month. The best way to do this is by using public transportation, which can save you upwards of $1,000 per month,depending on where you live. Another good strategy is to cancel your internet service and use free wifi at libraries or stores. You can even do things like hanging out at public places during the summer or winter to minimize your energy bills for AC, or find sites that give out free snacks, bottles of water, or anything else that you can make use of.
If you have free time outside of work, then you have time to make a bit more money. Some people go the traditional route and deliver pizzas, but there are other options like fiverr, TaskRabbit, and Uber that can fill this time. Be creative and figure out where you can bring value. With the right motivation and work ethic, you could be making an extra $300-$500 a month with ease.
Find Friends To Split Expenses With
When you are broke, one of the hardest things to do is buy in bulk. Apparently, buying in bulk is a great idea when you are trying to save money, but this also requires a much larger initial expenditure. When you are living from paycheck to paycheck, this is just not possible. Having people to split these expenses with is a great way to realize these savings. Toilet paper, mouthwash, food, shampoo, and almost anything else you need, can be easily split between you and your friends or roommates, so do not hesitate in asking someone to join you at the store.
Everything Adds Up
At the end of the day, the best way to save money when you are broke is to try every possible angle. Maybe this means grabbing an extra handful of napkins when you order food, so that you don’t have to buy paper towels this week. Or perhaps it means selling your car and taking the bus or riding a bike. There are a countless number of things that you can do in every area of your life.