There’s nothing worse than feeling like you can’t do what you want, because your finances just don’t allow it. Whether it’s a lack of income, a lack of budgeting, or an influx of one-off expenses, feeling like a broke girl is never ever a good feeling. More importantly, how can you save? If you feel like your income isn’t up to par, you may be wondering how to save money when you’re broke.
Broke status is an unfortunate situation, but it certainly isn’t an end-all, be-all. There is ALWAYS a way out, you just have to work for it. Unfortunately, overnight successes in financial situations are few and far in between. You will have to put in the work if you want the results.
How do you put in the work? I’m going show you! I’m going to walk you through how to save money when you’re broke, so you can get rid of that feeling and start making progress!
First things first, are you really broke?
I will tell you this right now – spending excess money on shopping, going out to eat, partying and social outings and then not being able to save any money DOES NOT mean you are broke. It means that you can’t control your spending. You have a different kind of hurdle to overcome than someone who is truly broke. I suggest reading 11 Ways Saving Money Can Impact Your Life for some important insights on why unnecessary spending is not the way to go.
You will know if you are truly broke because your budget will show you. You budget will make it very clear that your expenses exceed your income. You are relying on credit cards to help cover living expenses. You are putting one bill on the back burner because you can only afford one at a time. You are the true definition of living paycheck to paycheck, if not worse. If this sounds like you and your situation, keep reading.
Certain “faux” needs must go
Maybe you’ve identified that you can and have cut out the non-necessary spending. You are no longer getting a Starbucks coffee every day. You are no longer going out to eat consistently. You are only driving when you need to. What about the expenses you think you need, but you really don’t? Here are a few such expenses:
- Cable – you don’t need cable, and you certainly don’t have to have it to ensure you get the best rate on your phone and internet.
- Dry cleaning – Those can pile up if it means your bills are getting paid.
- Excess cell phone data – Wi-fi is available almost anywhere. You don’t need the most expensive data plan, and if you are paying for data overages, call your cell phone carrier immediately, they can drop you down to the slowest data available, which is often free.
Those are just a few of those “faux” needs that people can convince themselves they need, but they really don’t. You must begin to think through each purchase and identify if it truly is a need or a want. Some things will be easy to identify as such, and others won’t. However, over time you will be able to perfect this skill. You will know what you can live without, and what you can’t. This is a necessary skill to help you save money, even if you’re broke.
Some people believe there is no point in saving money if it isn’t a large amount. This is so far from the truth. In fact, those who do put those “large” amounts into savings often end up pulling it right back out. Saving doesn’t have to be any extravagant amount, it just has to be consistent and not touched. To save money when you’re broke, you have to start small.
I suggest you open a savings account with a local credit union or an online savings account. Both of these banks offer more interest than a big-name bank. Make sure there are no fees are minimum balance requirements. Also, having your savings in a bank like this will make it a lot harder to get to, and therefore easier to avoid touching.
Once you have you new bank account open, set up automatic transfers of $5-$25 each week. $5 is small enough that you won’t miss, but large enough to add up over time. The trick is to start slow, as you figure out other means of getting out of the broke life.
Think about downsizing
As unfortunate as it may be to downsize your situation, it may be the saving factor of your financial life. You will want to take your pride out of this. If moving back home with mom and dad will allow you to pay off your credit card debt and start saving, suck it up. Once you are out of the broke situation, you can get your own place.
If moving back in with your parents isn’t an option, can you rent out a room at your current place? Can you move to a cheaper apartment or rental home? Housing is one of the most expensive costs a person can incur, so reducing it can help turn you from being broke to saving money.
There are other areas in your life that can use downsizing, outside of your living arrangement. You can start using public transportation, which will allow you to sell your car or at least save on gas. You can cut out or reduce subscription plans. If you’re healthy, consider a high deductible insurance plan at work, which are often much cheaper. It will take some deep thought, but there is always something that can be cut out or cut back.
Bring in more income
If you have exhausted all of your options for cutting back your expenses, the only other alternative is to increase your income. In fact, this may be a better approach than cutting back your expenses. More money gives you the ability to get more things done, get more bills paid, and get more money saved. Once again, you’re going to need to ditch the ego and do what you gotta do! Bringing in more money can truly save your situation.
You can take on a part-time retail job (mall jobs are easy), start selling any product or service you have been giving away for free or getting complimented on, sell things you don’t need, or start tutoring for a specific subject. Making more money doesn’t always have to mean a second job, but that certainly does help. Check out a few reads on bringing in more money: 8 Side Jobs to Boost Cash Flow, Using Poshmark to Make a Profit, and 15 Ideas to Earn a Quick Buck.
Lastly, stay positive
From this moment on, I no longer want you to think of yourself as broke. You are no longer a broke girl, you are a work in progress. Your finances aren’t the best, but you are working to improve them. The funny thing is, when you are positive (even when things aren’t going as planned), things tend to work out no matter what.
The same applies to if your negative – things tend to keep getting worse. You need to start seeing the world, and your situation, in a positive light. The truth is, it could always be worse.
Keeping a positive attitude will help you get through these trying times. You will build character, find solutions to obstacles, and keep these habits for the future. There is a learning experience in everything, even if you don’t see it right away. I know that you can get through it, and I’m rooting for you!
Related: How to Get One Month Ahead on Bills
Well there you have it. No matter how broke your situation may seem, you can save money by cutting back your expenses, increasing your income and staying positive. You will not get out of your situation if you aren’t willing to put in the work. Have you ever felt that you were too broke to get by? How did you get out of it? Share your broke girl experiences with me and other CGS readers by posting a comment below!