Money-saving tips on a low income
01/12/2024 // Olivia Cook // Views

Long-time preppers will tell you that anyone can live simply and still enjoy a high quality of life without spending much.

Here are simple and easy ways to save money that does not require major lifestyle changes or intense survival skills.

Treat "savings" like you would bills

Treat savings as if they were a bill: Set aside a specific amount of money each month for your emergency fund.

Don't spend money you don't have on things you don't need

Look closely at your finances and set your spending to match your income, needs and priorities. Stop comparing your life to others' because you and your family have different financial goals than your peers or neighbors. Learn why keeping up with the Joneses is a bad habit.

See how sporadic your spending is and make it predictable

You may not have control over how much money you make, but you do have a lot of control over how much you spend.

For the next three months, record each expense you make -- down to the last penny -- to determine how much money you’re spending each month. Analyze each expense and determine what you can cut out, such as subscriptions and memberships you don’t need or use. Your one-time effort to slash this kind of recurring cost is going to continue saving you money every month going forward.

You can swap your expensive phone plans from major wireless carriers – AT&T, T-Mobile or Verizon – with lesser-known, lower-cost yet reliable phone plans by doing your homework. You can start by checking out stories on the best mobile networks in the U.S. and learn why these are highly recommended by tech experts. Know your area and which carrier runs on which networks.

Consider a mindset shift to zero-waste (or near zero-waste) living

Be open to changing your lifestyle and learn about using everything you have to its fullest – reduce, reuse, recycle. (Related: Financial preparedness. Save money by reusing these 10 items.)

For more ideas on how to upcycle and reuse what you already have, do your homework and check out Suzanne Downing’s "Recycling 101: Learn how to recycle the right way" and Margaret Badore’s "10 Ways to improve your recycling."

Prepare for grocery shopping

Never go shopping without a list – whether you’re going to the farmer’s market, grocery store, mall or even a thrift store – to reduce the likelihood of you buying stuff that you or your family don’t need. Sticking to your list will require much effort and willpower but once you get good at it, it can be a game-changer that can save you money.

Your list also ensures that you don’t forget to buy things that you do need.

Keep impulse buying at bay: Save money by thinking like a monk

You can use the power of your mind to stop making impulse purchases. This "intentional" spending hack was inspired by a simple mindful exercise rooted in Tibetan Buddhism called "cloud (sky) meditation" – a guided visualization exercise.

What you do is imagine your mind as a clear, bright blue sky. When you notice random ideas and thoughts popping on your mind, don’t try to ignore or suppress them. Instead, calmly notice them and imagine them floating away just like the clouds in the sky.

You can do the same thing when you find yourself feeling tempted to spend money on a whim. Take a moment to pause, breathe deeply and notice the thoughts and feelings that are going through your mind. Then, just like the clouds in the sky, imagine them gently drifting away.

You can also consider using a simple mantra – "Just because I like something doesn’t mean I need to own it." Try saying this about nine out of 10 times. Give it a go and see how it works for you.

Here are additional tips to build healthier habits and keep impulse buying at bay.

  • Have a clear budget and savings goals and review this every month. Consider a financial cleanse to promote fiscal consciousness this 2024. Opt for a spending ban using your credit card – anywhere from seven to 21 days – by paying in cash. You can make everything at home and not purchase any restaurant food or coffee. Avoid tempting opportunities, such as “buy now, pay later” programs.

  • Make it harder to shop. You can start by deleting shopping apps from your phone. Don’t forget to delete your credit card and/or debit card information that you may have already stored on your favorite shopping sites.

  • Delay your purchases. If you need to get a gift for a family member or friend, look around your home and consider making them something instead. Try re-gifting an item you haven’t used and just be honest with them about your spending cleanse.

  • Apply mindfulness to your finances and create a relapse prevention plan. Being mindful of your finances and a period of abstinence can be challenging so before you spend your money, ask yourself these questions: "Is spending money on an item or service necessary? Will this expense bring me closer or further away from my savings and financial goals for 2024? "

"Saving money will start to feel as good as making money once you get used to your wallet remaining fuller and the prepping family remains well fed and well stocked for any type of disaster. Once you get into the habit of thinking outside of the box to fulfill the daily and future needs of your family, scoring deals and finding coupons can become pleasantly addictive," says long-time prepper and homesteader Sara Dodrill. Check out “105 ways to save money prepping and homesteading” for more tips from Dodrill.

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Watch the following video to learn how to save money on a low income.

This video is from the Daily Videos channel on

More related stories:

5 Simple tips to save energy, money and the environment.

3 Ways to save money on your homestead.

10 Habits all preppers follow.

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