How To Save Money When You Can’t Afford It – If you feel like there’s just no way that you can ever afford to save money, get ready to change your life.
Maybe you are one of more than 50% of people without any savings. Maybe you or your spouse are a compulsive spender and every dime that comes into your bank account goes out just as quickly. Or maybe you’re one of the people who just can’t find the money to save.
I used to think that too.
My husband and I used to think that way, more specifically. We both spent like the other one wasn’t spending a dime. And sure enough, that tiny paycheck that came into our account was gone just as fast as it came in. And there were still bills to pay!
We felt completely hopeless and lost. Every single person around us was always talking about their savings accounts, but no one ever talked about how to save money when you can’t afford it.
See, we were working with a single income of $17,000 a year for a family of 4. We had very little wiggle room in our tiny income for anything at all, let alone to save money.
There are 2 tools (and 1 trick) that I used to help us to save money. And I want to share with you how to save money when you can’t afford it.
No matter how low your income is, I promise you that you can actually save money.
Related Post: 10 Weird Ways to Save Money
Anytime that you can set your savings to autopilot, do it.
Setting your savings to autopilot really is the backbone of how to save money when you can’t afford it.
By setting up automatic withdrawals from your account into a savings account, this will take away the “should I save or spend” dance that we do in our heads. (Have you heard the song from The Clash, Should I Stay or Should I Go? You’re welcome… 😉 )
Let’s say you have $25 of money at the beginning of the week that you know is going to be left after bills and expenses. Now, $25 might not seem like much right away, but that’s either one take-out dinner each week or it can add up to $1,300/year in a savings account.
So now the question still stands: should I save it in a separate account or should I get that dinner? The reality is that more often than not, we’re all going to go for the dinner (or the pair of shoes, or the online shopping binge, or whatever it is that is your weakness).
That’s why it’s SO important to set your money saving on autopilot. It’s easy to set it and forget it. And before you know it, you’ve got yourself a nice, cushy savings account that you didn’t actually have to do anything to make it grow!
Tools to use that will actually work:
Digit is an app that takes money automatically from your bank account that you aren’t using. It might only be a few cents here and there or it could be a few dollars. But it all adds up to a really nice chunk of change.
And my favorite part is that they do it all automatically. You don’t need to touch anythingor move money yourself.
Digit will help you to save your money on autopilot. Plus, they keep your money in a separate account from your checking account so that you can’t actually be tempted to move that money until you’re ready.
Digit is free for the first 100 days, but then it’s $2.99/month. My advice to you is that if you aren’t saving at least $50/month using Digit, the $2.99 just isn’t worth it. (Don’t worry, I’ll show you some free options next though!)
I recently got into Acorns thanks to some amazing fellow personal finance bloggers and I’m only a little obsessed. Acorns is another pocket change saving app that rounds up all of your purchases and then moves them into an investment account for you.
The Acorns app is free, but it is an investment app and not just moving money into savings like Digit. There are risks that come along with any type of investment. But you can change your settings to be as conservative or aggressive as you’d like them to be.
The more conservative, the less risk as well as the lower earning potential. The more aggressive, the higher the risk as well as the higher earning potential.
You can withdraw your money at any time and move it into your personal checking account. But I started using it last week and in 1 day, I made $.10 off of a $13 deposit. That might not sound like much, but that $13 would never have earned me $.10 interest sitting in a checking account by itself.
Investing lets you make your money work for you. That’s why I love it. Again, it does come with some risks and that’s not something that you want to overlook. But if you understand the risks and still need help saving any money at all, I highly recommend Acorns for you to try.
Setting your own checking account on autopilot.
The biggest thing for you to remember when you need to know how to save money when you can’t afford it is to make saving a priority before your spending.
How can this happen when you can’t afford to save? By setting up a savings account that is separate from your checking account… and then setting it up for automatic withdrawal.
That sounds techy, but it’s really not… I promise! I am in no way, shape, or form “techy” and I could still set this up.
All you have to do is either call your bank or access your banking app or website and set up an automatic, recurring withdrawal. You can make this any number that you want. But to start when you’ve never saved money before or if you’re working with never having made a budget before, start with 1% of your paycheck.
Believe it or not, that 1% will add up quickly!
But you need to make sure that you set up that withdrawal to occur on the same day that your paycheck hits your bank account. This way, the savings happens before you even notice that the money has moved.
Let’s say that you get paid $500 on Friday morning. Your automatic withdrawal of $5 will go through almost at the same time that your paycheck hits the account. So when you check your balance when you wake up, you will only see $495 to spend.
The reason that you want to do this is to trick yourself into thinking that you have less money to spend each week. If you see a low balance in your checking account, you can’t overspend.
This also makes saving money into a priority.
Making saving money a priority over spending is key to learning how to save money when you can’t afford it. This is a principle that Dave Ramsey talks about a lot: “don’t save what’s left after spending, spend what’s left after saving.”
I can’t tell you how much that principle has changed my life, and I know that this way of saving will help you as well!
If it wasn’t for saving like this, I’d still be living in a tiny 2 bedroom townhouse living paycheck-to-paycheck on my husband’s $700 every other week. Saving automatically and basically hiding the saved money from myself (and more so, from my spender of a husband!) was the single key to breaking the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle for us.
It’s ok to hide money from yourself! Who else has ever seen a FULL bank account and thought “SWEET! I can afford to stop at Starbucks today, Chipotle tomorrow, buy those shoes, and stop by HomeGoods!”
Y’all… that’s SO me! There’s no shame in knowing your weaknesses with money and spending!
But it’s SO important to also know that you need to do everything in your power to stop yourself from spending. If that means moving all of your money into a savings account far, far away from your checking account, then do it! If that means opening both a Digit and an Acorns account to kick start the savings, then do it! Even if it means making the money that you automatically put into savings really high just so you won’t spend, then do it.
[clickToTweet tweet=”The only way to stop thinking that you ‘can’t save money’ is to do just that: SAVE MONEY.” quote=”The only way to stop thinking that you ‘can’t save money’ is to do just that: SAVE MONEY.”] Save money like a squirrel saves nuts for winter!
Even if you started reading this wondering how to save money when you can’t afford it, I hope that you now know that you CAN save money. That it IS possible to save even if it’s just pocket change.
I know that you can do it!
Some more resources to help you get started saving money:
- Budgeting Books You NEED to Read
- How to Save Money When You Don’t Feel Like It
- Fixing a Budget that Spends More Than We Make
- The 6 Bank Accounts that Your Family NEEDS
- 10 Habits of Highly Frugal People
- What Do You Do When There’s No Money For the Bills
- 20 Things Frugal People Don’t Do
- I Hide Money From My Husband (And That Isn’t Going to Change)
- How to be a Financially Successful Woman
- Money Saving Hacks from an Extreme Cheapskate
- What To Do When You’ve Racked Up More Debt
- How to Save Money When You’re Broke
- Top 10 Things I Did to Pay Off Debt in 2 Years
- How to Live on One Low Income
- How to Make Saving Money Easy
How do you save money when you feel like you can’t?