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Tough economic times, financial mistakes, debt, low-paying jobs, they can all make it harder to save money.
If you are having money troubles, don’t lose hope, you are not alone. With a brand-new economic recession underway, millions of people are looking for ways to cut costs.
Despite the challenges of saving money, it is still possible to turn your financial situation around.
Many famous millionaires were once broke and had to do everything they could to make ends meet.
If you are in a financial crunch or just motivated to quickly save some cash, then try these 13 extreme ways to save money fast on a low-income.
1. Eat Less and Fast Regularly
Intermittent fasting isn’t just a great way to lose weight and stay healthy; it can help you save money fast. Eating out, buying groceries, snacking, etc. it all adds up. For many people, the cost of food is wrecking their budget.
Make sure you understand the health consequences of going without eating. In moderation, it’s shown to have some excellent health benefits.
However, if you flat out starve yourself, you could damage your health. So, don’t overdo it. Seek advice from a medical professional if you aren’t feeling well.
Skipping a meal or two is a bit extreme for some people, but it will instantly save you money. Less eating means your groceries will last longer, and you won’t be going out to eat as much. To save even more, don’t go out to eat at all.
2. Downgrade Your Health Insurance
Not having health insurance can end up costing you thousands of dollars in medical bills. So, don’t get rid of it completely, the risks aren’t worth it, especially in the US.
You should take a good look at your medical insurance plan, and downgrade it as much as possible. Lower monthly premiums mean more savings.
It’s crucial to closely crunch the numbers; if you regularly see your doctor, then some of the more premium plans may be a better choice. If you hardly see your doctor at all and have relatively good health, then consider getting a more bare-bones medical plan just to cover the essentials.
You’ll likely need to wait for the open enrollment periods to make changes to your healthcare plan. Speak to your healthcare provider or your employer to find out what options are available.
Once you downgrade your health plan, the savings will quickly increase your monthly cash flow.
3. Couch Surf or Live With Family
Rent and mortgage costs take up a large percentage of many Americans’ income. When you have a low-income, the cost of rent may not even be feasible.
Living with your parents, a friend, relatives, or even couch surfing can significantly reduce your monthly expenses and help you save money fast.
Don’t be ashamed to live with grandma while you get your life together; just try not to be a burden. Offer to help out around the house and work out a mutual arrangement. Make plans to eventually live on your own. Otherwise, you might become too dependent.
Friends and family are there to help support each other. Their assistance can help you get back on your feet and save enough money to survive on your own. Even some nice strangers may allow you to couch surf for a while.
You could even try temporarily living in your car, just be careful!
4. Sell Everything You Don’t Need
Getting rid of things that you don’t need is a quick way to get some extra cash. Selling your belongings will temporarily increase your income and better your chances of financial survival.
Having fewer things can help you live a more simple life that will save you money.
The more you sell, the more money in your pocket and the less possessions you’ll have to worry about. Get rid of your TV, video games, unused sporting equipment, camping gear, excess clothing, unused furniture, etc.
You can sell your unneeded stuff on eBay, Craigslist, Offer Up, Facebook Marketplace, and more.
Everything you sell can be replaced later down the road when you have your finances together. Once you’ve sold some stuff, it will make you think twice about your future purchases.
You will be more critical about buying an item that you sold in the past because you didn’t really need it.
5. Entertain Yourself for Free
Immediately put a stop to all of your entertainment expenses. Look for other ways to entertain yourself for free instead. You will be surprised how much fun you can still have without it costing you money.
The library is an excellent resource for free entertainment and has personally helped me save a ton of money during rough times.
You can watch entertaining and educational videos on YouTube and other websites for free. Visit your local park, go hiking, go on walks, draw, write stories, hang out with friends or family, read, etc.
Get creative, and find ways to keep yourself entertained without spending a dime.
6. Cancel All of Your Subscriptions and Get Rid of Recurring Costs
Monthly subscriptions can sap away at your income. Want to save some money fast? Cancel every subscription you have unless it is absolutely necessary.
Most subscription services are for entertainment like Netflix, Prime, Spotify, etc. You can live without them, and if you need the money, it’s time to unsubscribe.
Don’t just stop at your subscription services. Take a hard look at all of your recurring costs.
Do you absolutely need the internet at home?
Most people do while working from home or for their home-based business. But if you don’t need the internet, consider getting rid of it and use the internet at a local coffee joint or library instead.
For those with a low-income, look into low-cost internet assistance. A local internet provider may offer support if you qualify.
7. Sell Your Car
This a pretty extreme way to save money, but it can definitely help, especially for those on a low-income. Cars are expensive. Car loans, interest, registration, emissions, insurance, gas, repairs, and maintenance; there are so many expenses involved.
Owning an automobile is owning a bottomless money pit.
For some people, it’s necessary to own a car as it could be their only means to get to work. However, you’d be surprised by how easily public transportation or a bicycle can replace a car.
Walking to work or taking the bus will save you money fast, and you won’t have to worry about the never-ending costs of vehicle ownership.
If you can do without your car, really consider selling it, the cash you receive can help you pay down debt or build an emergency fund. You can always buy a car again when your finances are in order.
8. Shop at Thrift Stores and the Dollar Store
You don’t always need to buy new. Shopping at thrift stores and buying second hand can help you save money on tons of essential items. The dollar store has a bunch of great bargains as well.
Some items you can buy to save money at the thrift store:
Some items you can buy to save money at the dollar store:
- Cleaning supplies
- Storage containers
- Kids items like toys and coloring books
- Bathroom essentials
Don’t be a stranger to your local thrift store or dollar store. You can get a lot of the same quality items for a much better price. Every cent counts when you have a low-income and need to save in a hurry.
9. Downgrade Your Cell Phone Plan
You could be paying too much for your cell phone. Data, text, warranties, upgrades, they can all add up.
It’s nearly impossible to get by without a phone these days, but you don’t need all the bells and whistles to survive.
Contact your provider and go over your options to find out how you can save. You may need to speak to their “customer retention” team to get them to offer you a deal. Be polite and let them know you need to save as much money as possible, and you are considering other providers.
You should even contemplate getting on a budget phone plan or buying a pay as you go phone.
10. Lower Your Power Bill and Heating Costs
Your unused electronics can turn into energy vampires that continually increase your electric bill. The modern household has more and more gadgets and gizmos that need juice—having everything plugged in can get expensive over time.
Unplug all electronics that you do not use often.
Watch how much you use the heat and air conditioner. Use thick curtains or blankets to insulate drafty windows. Wear warmer clothes in the winter and cooler clothes in the summer.
Cutting your electricity and heating costs is a relatively easy and effective way to save money fast. If you have a low-income, you may qualify for a “low-income energy savings program.” Contact your local power provider to find out more.
11. Ditch the Shampoo, Shower Less, and Cut Your Own Hair
You don’t have to shower every day. Skipping the extra showers can save you some money on your heating and water bill. It’s even better for your skin since showering too much dries your skin out.
Change your hairstyle to one that you can manage yourself. It’s common for guys to rock a buzz cut and shave their own head instead of paying a barber every month. A buzz cut may be a bit too extreme for most women, although that’s a personal preference.
There’s a movement you might not have heard of, and it’s the no-poo movement. People across the globe are tossing their shampoo bottles and just rinsing their hair out with hot water instead.
Advocates of the no-shampoo method swear their hair is much healthier without dousing their heads with chemicals. Your results may vary, but you will undoubtedly save money fast by not having to buy shampoo and conditioner anymore.
12. Stop Contributing to Retirement Accounts
If you are desperate for money and living on a tight budget, you should consider temporarily putting a stop on your 401k and IRA contributions.
It’s your money, and although it is wise to save for retirement, you could benefit from the increased cash flow to survive.
Once you contribute to your retirement accounts, it is harder to access the money, and getting a 401k loan is worse than momentarily ceasing your contributions.
13. Check Local Classifieds for Free Stuff
You never know what people may be willing to give away for free. Browse the free section on online classifieds and places like Facebook Marketplace.
Some folks even find treasure dumpster diving, yet that may not be legal in all areas and is much too extreme for most.
If you are appreciative and considerate, people are more than happy to help, and you can save a lot of money. Just don’t become a choosing beggar!
Once you are on top of your finances again, you too, can help those in need. Giving away some of your older or unused stuff for free is a great way to give back.
This list is intended to help those who really need to save some money fast and have a low-income.
The most important tool is self-control. Having the self-control to put a stop to unnecessary spending can reverse almost anyone from financial doom.
The art of frugality is composed of discipline, gratitude, and creativity.
You may not have found any suggestion on this list to be “extreme,” or you may have thought all of it was extreme.
Regardless of how extreme these tips were to you, I hope you found some of these suggestions helpful in your quest to save money. Please share this list on social media to help others!