RGraf is an accountant who loves to read, study history, and travel. She has researched and written for educational sites and authors.
How to Save Money When You Have None
Many of us are struggling to make ends meet. It seems every penny goes out the door for bills before it even enters the bank account. There isn't much for even a soda. I totally get it.
All that being said, we really need to save up money. The car will need new tires at one point. There will be a medical emergency. Something will come up that will require you to pull money where you don't currently have any. Murphy's Law rules this universe. You need to be prepared.
So how can you be prepared when you don't have enough money coming in? Well, it might not be as hard as you might think.
5 Ways to Start Saving Money
- Save Loose Change
- Consider Working Extra Jobs
- Cut Small Costs
- Sell Your Things
1. Save Loose Change
Believe it or not, pennies add up, as do nickels and dimes. Trust me on this, as I have seen it firsthand. My great-grandfather used to say that if you watch your pennies, the dollars will take care of themselves. That is very true. No one pays attention to change. They typically think coins aren't worth anything. Ah, but they are very valuable in mass quantity.
How many of us see loose change in the washing machine and just toss it to the side? Many of us do that. That change adds up. Put a jar or box near the washing machine and put all the loose change in it. Don't worry about it until the box is full. Then count it out. You'd be surprised how much money you have.
My father traveled from Monday to Friday every week. When he came home on Friday evenings, he would empty his pocket of all change into a drawer of his dresser. In November, my mother would count the change and use it to buy Christmas presents. All that change added up to over a hundred dollars or more every year.
I'm not saying your change will pay off your car, though it might. It will help you buy gifts, pay for milk and bread, or get the medicine your child needs at midnight. Even the pennies add up to dollars. Keep your loose change, and you'll find that you have extra cash.
2. Consider Working Extra Jobs
I know this seems to be a no-brainer. But too often we don't really think seriously about it, or we limit ourselves. There are more possibilities for extra jobs than you realize. Working a second or third job helps to bring in the money.
This is an obvious and popular way to make more money. There are so many retail stores looking for workers. They need people to sell items, work the register, or clean the store. You might work 10–20 hours a week and earn a hundred dollars or more, depending on where you live.
I worked with a woman at my full-time job who worked for McDonald's in the evenings and on the weekend. She took every one of those checks and put them in a drawer where she saved them up to put a down payment on a house. She worked for five years and had more than enough for the minimum down payment due.
Do you need money for a new car? Work a second job. Want new clothes for the new year? Work at a clothing store. That will earn you the money and the discounts. Extra money can be saved simply by working.
These are great ways to earn more money to save. There are people everywhere who need babysitters or someone to walk their dogs. Unless someone knows you personally and trusts you, most of these jobs are found through services that do background checks on you. These jobs can pay you over $10/hour.
I know one young woman who did this and saved up enough for a trip she had always wanted to take.
I am actually doing this option now. There are many new opportunities for people to make extra cash by simply shopping and/or delivering goods to people in their area. We were getting tight on cash and even struggled to pay for groceries. I use my money each week that I make working for a grocery shopping/delivery service to buy our groceries and pay for our gas during that week. It gives us a little relief.
This is another great option that sometimes will not generate immediate cash, but you'll find that cash will appear when you least expect it. Write online, put your photography up for sale, become a virtual assistant, edit or market for others. I have written a few hundred articles over the last six years. Without any work from me, they bring in around $100 every month. That is extra cash that appears for me to use for emergencies.
Do you make crafts? You know you can sell them. I know several people who make craft items and sell them at flea markets, farmer's markets, or online. They bring in extra cash just from hobbies they love.
3. Cut Small Costs
You could be spending more on things than you realize. By cutting them even a little, you add a little more to your pocket.
This is where you can really save some money and put more in your pocket. Too often we tend to buy more than we need or pick the wrong products/brands. You can save $10–$50 per grocery run if you pay attention.
Make out your grocery list. Look over it. How much of it do you really need? I mean NEED! Those donuts—odds are you don't need them. When you are tight on cash, only get the necessary items that will keep you alive until the next payday. You will find you'll spend less this way.
You don't always have to choose name brands. The store brands cost much less and usually are made by name-brand companies. Trust me on that. I work for a company that makes special packaging for stores in their brand, and we are a big name brand company. This can save you dollars on each product.
Many of us are paying too much for our entertainment venues. Look at your cable package. Do you have premium channels? Is there a cheaper package you can take that will save you a few bucks? We looked over ours and realized that my Amazon Prime gave us more for our buck, so we downgraded our cable. This saved us $40 a month. Now we aren't as strapped as we were before.
Luxuries and Vices
We spend money without realizing it on things we really don't need. Do you really need that latte every morning? That could add up to over a hundred dollars a month you are spending while you cry that you don't have money. Every day, take the money you would have spent on the fancy coffee and put it in a jar or box. At the end of the month, you will have saved around a hundred dollars.
Do you really need the most expensive shampoos? Do you really need a candy bar with every meal? Think of what you really don't need to survive and cut it out of your spending. You'll start to see more money being available to you for emergencies.
Do you have subscriptions to newspapers, magazines, or online sites? Many of us do. They might not be costly individually, but together they can cost you a lot of money. $10/year plus $10/month plus $5/month helps you save money because you will have some when you cancel the subscriptions. You really don't need these. Cancel them.
How often do you go out for lunch? How much do you spend when you do? On average, that could be over $10 per lunch. That adds up to a few hundred dollars a month. Can't save money? It might be because you are going out to eat quite often. Make your own lunch and save hundreds a month.
There are times we need to make sacrifices. When we need to save money, sacrifices will help get us there. Excessive spending could be part of your problem.
How important is it for you to save money? Are you willing to give up a few things? Think of the coffee you buy every day, the snacks from the vending machine, the drink you have when you go out. We spend more than we realize.
I noticed that I bought chips with my lunch a few times a week. That added up to $2–3 a week. That's up to $15 a month. That's money you can save.
5. Sell Your Things
Most of us have too many things. We are a society of possessions. But do we really need most of what we have?
Your books could bring you some money. I took a box of books to a used bookstore. For that, I got over twenty dollars. These were books that were boxed away for years. I wasn't using them. I might as well get some money for them. Useless material items can help me save up the money I need.
Do you have jewelry that you never wear? Maybe you have a class ring that is just gathering dust. Maybe you inherited your grandmother's ring and don't really like it. Purge your unused jewelry and sell it. I've known people who got over a thousand dollars just from pieces hidden in their dresser drawers. It helps you get rid of things and helps you save money.
Many of us have extra clothes we haven't worn in years. What you might not know is that some of them could bring you some extra money. If they are name brand, you could get quite a bit. I've heard of people getting hundreds for their expensive, used purses. There are online sites where you can sell nice clothing and get a few bucks back instead of just donating them.
Some of the items in our house could be worth something. I had gotten a brass bell from my grandmother. I had no memories of the object, so it had no sentimental value to me. I sold it for nearly $50. It came at a time when we were really struggling. I didn't need the item. I didn't want it. Many of us have these things in our house. Look to selling them and putting some money aside.
How many of us have so many of these dust-collecting objects that we start to box them away and forget about them? Check your closet. Poke through your attic and garage. You might find some collectibles that will bring in some extra cash.
Get rid of all that stuff you don't use. We all have it. Open the boxes and clean out all the items you never use. Get rid of it. Have a rummage sale. Put it for sale online. Make a few extra bucks while cleaning out your house.
It's the Little Things
Little things add up. Pennies turn into dollars. Junk turns into cash. Unused items give you more bucks. Old clothes give you more money.
Don't look only for the big ticket items or the actions that will bring only hundreds of dollars. Don't ignore the little things. You'll find more of that to give you extra money.
ozboy on November 21, 2019:
Unfortunately while these tips are not bad, they are also not new... they have literally been around for years.
Kay Reds on July 01, 2019:
Using both coupons and rebates on groceries can save money, refundsweepers has both.
Some stores will double coupons, check the sales flyers for their rules.
Nicole K on December 18, 2018:
Excellent hub! I think you covered everything. Saving money is a real struggle for me. I'm trying to get better at it, though. Making sacrifices is definitely necessary in order to save for a rainy day. Thanks for the reminder and helpful tips!
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on August 09, 2018:
These are all excellent tips on how to save those pennies which add up to dollars. Almost everyone could save more if they really think about their spending habits and adjust them a bit. You have given some very good tips in this article of yours.
Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on August 08, 2018:
One item that I see so many people waste money on is bottled water. Drives me nuts when you consider that with a little planning you can take your water with you for free.
Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on August 08, 2018:
Oh I always save my coins up. When I round my coins up to say £5 or £10, then I put it in my savings account.