How to Save Money on Low Income


Living on a low income doesn’t have to mean living without. When you are living in poverty, earning less than $30K per year, save every dollar you can so that it will pay off.

If money is tight and the bills are piling up, here are some ways to save your hard-earned cash:

Maintain your vehicle well

Do not be afraid of doing small maintenance jobs yourself just because you don’t know how, because save money by maintaining your own vehicle. You may save hundreds of dollars a year by doing minor repairs and maintenance on your car yourself, rather than paying someone else to do the job. For instance:

Doing oil changes is easy with a mechanic’s ramp from an automotive store. Cleaning out fuel injectors can save you hundreds of dollars, as well as save time that could be spent in other ways.

Barter goods and services

There are many free sources of household help on Craigslist such as mowing lawns in exchange for free childcare or cleaning homes one day per week in exchange for a babysitter.

Barter goods and services with friends and neighbors. If you enjoy gardening, cleaning, or trades such as plumbing, offer to do these jobs for others in exchange for things you need.

Maintain and save money by doing small maintenance jobs yourself rather than paying someone else to do the job. For instance: Doing oil changes is easy with a mechanic’s ramp from an automotive store. Cleaning out fuel injectors can save you hundreds of dollars, as well as save time that could be spent in other ways.

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Make informed grocery decisions

The most costly items in the grocery are meat and produce so plan your weekly meals around cheaper sources of protein, such as beans and tofu or fruits and vegetables . When choosing animal-based protein, always purchase the whole/half animal rather than pre-packaged meats.

Begin each shopping trip by planning out your menu for the week and sticking to it. Make a list of meals you can make with ingredients already in your house.

Blend and save money on food

Buy in bulk whenever possible (but not when fresh produce is involved as it decreases in nutritional value over time.) If buying meat or other perishables, save money by freezing some for later use.  

Cooking large meals for leftovers helps save money because portion sizes are likely smaller than if eating a whole entree every meal. This also saves time that might otherwise be spent cooking every night of the week! Visit farmers’ markets for fresh produce.  

Become friends with a nearby grocery store manager and save money on groceries by purchasing items that are about to expire at discounted prices . Dried beans are extremely cheap, high in protein and easy to prepare- the perfect way for low income families save money on meals!  

When making large batches of soup, add many types of vegetables so that you only have to eat it for one or two days as leftovers.

Make your own condiments such as ketchup, hot sauce, salad dressing and jams. Freezing bread is a great way save money because it can be used in most dishes.

Cheaper cuts of meat are often just as tasty as the pricier versions, provided they are cooked correctly.

Combat food waste

Wasted food costs money and creates unnecessary clutter. Be mindful of the amount you purchase by using an exact measure for each recipe you make or getting a scale to weigh produce so that you know exactly how much you have purchased.

Freeze any leftovers immediately rather than letting them sit in your fridge or save money by planning meals around those items that would be otherwise wasted such as stale breads.  

Buy generic brands when possible  The healthiest foods (dark green vegetables, nuts, seeds, and lean meats) are least likely to be reduced in price even when bought in generic brands.

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Buy ingredients in bulk when you see a good price on them. Freeze or dry excess herbs to save money by using less expensive versions of these spices.  

Make things yourself rather than buying them at the store such as applesauce, peanut butter, flaxseed oil, and juice. Learn how to make bread from scratch and save even more!

Utilize free food resources

Check out your local community center or church to save money on groceries. Many grocery stores sell “seconds,” which are produce items that are perfectly fine, but they did not meet the appearance standards of the store’s brand image.

Work part time

Even small amounts of income add up quickly over time.  

Barter/Trade services

If you have skills, offer your services to save money in exchange for the goods or services that you need.  

Trim your grocery bill with coupons

While accepted by many companies, coupons are a great way save money on groceries because they often save around 50% of the cost of an item.

Visit your local library or save money by using a free computer at the library as you research recipes and plan menus for cooking on a budget.  

Create your own recipes with more expensive ingredients in order to save money later on. Most people can save some money by cutting their food costs by 10% over a year, save even more by 20% or more.

Do not waste food

The average American wastes 15-25% of the food that they purchase each month. That is a lot of wasted money! Save money on groceries by eating what you buy and using leftovers from the night before in new recipes to save time cooking.  

Save money on heating bills by turning the heat up a few degrees during colder days, save even more money by wearing layers, and utilizing blankets to save money.

We hope these helpful tips save you some time and money so that you can focus on living your best life.

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