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How to Build Up Your Savings on a Low Income


Nicole Bustamante


April 1, 2022

How to Build Up Your Savings on a Low Income

ABBA said it best way back in 1976: “I work all night, I work all day to pay the bills I have to pay. Ain’t it sad? And still, there never seems to be a single penny left for me.”

This instant hit clearly resonated with listeners across the globe, and for good reason: starting to save money on a low income (or any income for that matter!) is a daunting prospect. When you’re living pay to pay it can feel like there are so many other priorities to take care of before saving money for the future—but if you start small and set a solid foundation, it’s not as painful as you think.

Follow these tips and tricks, and you may be surprised at just how quickly you can build up your savings on any income.

Get your budget in order (Zip can help with this!)

You really can’t avoid the b-word: budgeting. If you don’t have a budget, now is the right time to put one together that works best for your lifestyle. You can follow our budgeting guide for steps on how to craft (and stick with) the perfect budget for your unique circumstances.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: using a product such as Zip can make your expenses that much more manageable one by allowing repayments (think shopping expenses or bills) to be made over time.

Track your spending and adjust your expenses

Creating a budget gives you a real-time view into your spending: you can clearly see what areas of your life you are spending too much in, and pivot as needed. Start with the bigger money-sucking items in your life like housing, food, entertainment, and shopping, and consider these tips:

  • While you should be very cautious when it comes to adjusting your housing expenses, is there an opportunity to consider downsizing to a smaller space or moving in with roommates?

  • We all say that we will eat in more, but it can be hard to stick to that open-ended goal. Try meal planning for the next week or two before you go grocery shopping so you have a plan to follow. Remember you can also use Zip when you eat out or purchase your groceries to spread the cost out over time.

  • We all need some entertainment in our lives—but can you have your fun in a more affordable way? While we love a good reality show as much as the next person, consider cancelling your pay tv bill and opting for a cheaper streaming service instead. You can also manage your subscriptions with Zip in one place! While you’re at it, take a look at your phone plan options and see if there is a more affordable package available.

  • There are many amazing bargain stores where you can shop for all your essentials. Whether you’re looking for discounted groceries, new home items, or clothing, there are a number of retailers that offer competitive pricing compared to their full-price counterparts. Never pay full price again!

Take advantage of free and found money

This could be cash that was gifted to you on your birthday, or dollars accrued from rewards programs such as cashback through Zip’s rewards program. When you gather free and found money, see if you can put it directly into your savings account as an unexpected bonus to the savings you are regularly socking away.

Tackle your existing debt

To allow yourself the freedom to save more, you’ll also need to tackle any existing debt head-on. While it can be tempting to turn a blind eye to any expenses that are not linked to your immediate day-to-day needs, paying off your debt will help you avoid money-draining fees and interest charges.

There are many ways to go about paying off your debt: such as starting with the loan with the highest interest rate, or knock out the loan with the smallest remaining balance first.

Set tangible savings goals

It’s important to determine exactly what you are saving for. Is it your retirement fund? Is it to buy a house? Is it for an emergency fund (a very smart thing to do)? Clarifying what you’re saving for is massively helpful in recognising your progress and staying motivated.

It’s ok to start small when it comes to saving. Many banks offer a feature where you can automatically transfer any amount weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly so your savings can stack up in the background as you live your life.

Consider a side hustle

We can’t tell you to “just make more money!” because that is a completely unhelpful (and unrealistic) solution. What you can evaluate though, is if you have the time and ability to start a side hustle to make some extra money.

This could mean picking up a part-time job, starting your own small business, or simply re-selling your used items on platforms like Ebay and Facebook Marketplace for a little extra cash. Spring cleaning can happen year-round!

While there is no one-size-fits-all solution to saving money quickly, using these tips and tricks will help you get on the right path towards your short or long-term financial goals.

This content is for information purposes only and does not consider your objectives, financial situation or personal needs. It should not be taken as constituting professional advice. All investments have an element of risk. Please consider the risks involved before you make a financial decision. Zip is not a financial adviser. You should consider seeking independent legal, financial and/or taxation advice from a qualified professional.

Zip is not liable for any loss caused, whether due to negligence or otherwise arising from the use of, or reliance on, the information provided in this website.

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