Save Money Even If Your Income Dropped

by David Ning · 10 comments

Sometimes, the timely smack in the head is what we need. That’s why it’s nice to read this guest post from Adrienne, who gives us some commonly known anecdote to our problem of not saving enough. We’ve all read the money saving tips, but how many of us really practice them on a daily basis?

These are bad times financially; people are losing jobs they’ve held for years and suitable alternative employment is hard to come by. All you can do is make ends meet and avoiding to get into more debt seems like an accomplishment in itself. So when people talk of saving money, you’re ready with your sarcastic look – “How on earth am I supposed to save when I hardly have enough to get by each day?” But, saving money is so important that there’s no excuse even if your income dropped a bit. The good part is that you can do it as long as you focus on the task. Here are a few high level suggestions to get you started:

  • Reduce Your Expenditure: It’s probably the hardest thing to do, especially when you’re used to spending without thinking too much. But if you want to save money, you must reduce your expenditure. Leave your essential needs untouched and focus on your extras, those little luxuries you were able to afford before but which you must cut back on now. If you have any bad habits (like smoking), now is the time to give them up because you don’t have the money for either the addiction or the treatment for the diseases they cause.
  • Read the Fine Print: Most services come with certain conditions – for example, your cell phone service provider may have hidden charges if you use your phone for certain kinds of calls. Your bank may have a prepayment penalty for paying back a loan too early. And your credit card company definitely charges more for using your card to withdraw cash. Be aware of all these subtle charges that could end up costing you quite a lot of money, money that could have been saved and used for something that is absolutely essential.
  • Rely on Cash: If you reach for your credit card every time you shop, you’re never going to realize how much you’re spending until your bill comes in at the end of the month. Use cash for all your essential needs, and if you don’t have bills on hand, then do without what you were planning to buy. Once you get into this habit, your savings will go up.
  • Remember to Budget: While most of us set monthly budgets for our household expenses, we fail to do this on a daily basis. Set micro budgets for each day – say to yourself that you will not spend more than a certain amount of money that day, and try to stay within this limit. Any money that you save at the end of the day could go into a cookie jar; and if all your family members follow this policy, you could use the money in the jar to go out one weekend.

Who knows what will happen in the future? You may still have your job this time but what happens if another recession hits and you were unfortunate enough to lose your job? Having the extra savings will give you a cushion if you job was in danger, it will tide you over during an emergency and save you from debt and its associated ills.

Save. It’s worth the sacrifice.

This guest article was written by Adrienne Carlson, who regularly writes on the topic of accredited online universities. Adrienne welcomes your comments and questions at her email address: adrienne.carlson83 [at] yahoo.com

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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • Lee says:

    Good advice. This is the first article where I’ve actually understood the “use cash” argument. I posted about an hour ago on FMF that I disagreed, but I was doing it with my current mindset.

    If my income dropped, then drawing out a set amount and saying to myself this is ALL you have for the WHOLE week, then yes I’d spend it extremely wisely. You don’t have that restraint necessarily when using plastic, because you don’t “see” it dwindling.

  • Lees says:

    Good article. And all councils are old as the world.

  • FamilyDR. says:

    Switch from a regular contract phone to a prepaid phone. I did research when I lost my job and found that Net10 has the BEST OVERALL VALUE is prepaid wireless. I switched to prepaid and have never been happier with my no contract, no fees, no bill – cell phone

  • FinanciallySmart says:

    Wonderful advice. There is a saying in the Jamaican Culture Ebry mickle mek a muckle. Even though our earnings maybe at a stand still or even fluctuate we should still make the effort in saving a little. One should approach his/her savings with the same diligence as he/she do on the job.

  • Busted Keys says:

    oh yeah. i’ve definitely learned the hard way and i’m beginning to use my ATM card a lot more often.

  • Craig says:

    This may not be the easiest method, but if you rent, maybe move to a less expensive apt. You would save money that way, and you don’t have to think of it as a downgrade.

    • MoneyNing says:

      Another twist might be to move to a SMALLER but NICER apartment if it means less rent per month. You probably feel better living in a nice environment and many expenses will go down (like utilities) along with your rent.

  • Sandy says:

    Well said. I read the “use cash” advice countless times, but it wasn’t until the beginning of this year when I started actually using cash only.

    The results were amazing. Since I seldom go to the ATM because I’m lazy, I found myself “unable” to buy many useless THINGS that I never actually needed anyway.

  • Charlie@PayLessForFood.com says:

    Very timely subject. I recently read that the National Foundation for Credit Counseling did a survey in which 48 percent of Gen Y adults had NO savings.

    One way I found to save that is advocated by many financial experts is to make the savings automatic. Have a certain amount of money electronically transferred directly from your paycheck to a savings account each month.

    I’ve found that its a lot more difficult to spend money that you never see.

    • MoneyNing says:

      Nearly half… It’s a disturbing stat. I also read somewhere that the average college student credit card debt is over $3k. It’s scary that our debt level is actually increasing through younger generations…

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