How to Save as a Low Earner

I’m a saver. People who make far more money than I do (which isn’t hard) often ask me how I save so much, and here’s how. I don’t make a lot, but I cost very little. If you want to make money quickly and copiously, I’m not your girl. But if you want to work with what you’ve got and be ok with that, this could be of help.

Be Modest

My particular mindset will never get me rich, but it gets me enough, and it gives me the ability to accept when enough is enough without always wanting more. I earn modestly, I spend modestly and I live modestly. You have to be ok with moderation to do it this way.

Be Minimal

To the best of your abilities, have less stuff. You’ll find that when you have less, you’ll realize you need less. This comes easily to me because I have a minimalist mentality; in fact, clutter causes me stress. I Marie Kondo’d before Marie Kondo was born. I’m just kidding, I’m one year older than she is and I was a real sloppy baby. I know that some people take solace in objects and I don’t judge. However, I’m just suggesting you give it a try. Don’t buy so much junk. You don’t need it, you won’t use it, and it won’t bring you joy (unless it does, in which case keep it).

Be Mindful

Remember that what you don’t do matters as much as what you do sometimes. For finances, what you’re choosing not to spend can very well mean more than what you’re making. Everyone seems very focused on what they can earn (which, don’t get me wrong, is important) but I put just as much focus or more on what I spend. A rather important reason to set your focus on lowering expenses instead of raising income is that you have more control over it. Of course, there are things you can try to do to get raises and better jobs and yank on bootstraps and all that, but if we’re being honest what you get paid is far less up to you than what you spend.

To really save on purchases though, you’ve got to put in the legwork. Keep your eyes on the ads, maybe download a coupon app or two to get cash back on purchases, research cost comparisons, don’t run your AC all night when it’s cooler outside than in. It’s work, for sure, and I get why some people would rather spend their energy earning more than putting in the effort to reduce spending, but being mindful of spending is crucial to my savings strategy.

Don’t get me wrong, do I sometimes want more? Emphatically yes. But I also know that I don’t need more, and that stress-relief is of higher value to me than money most days.

Be Debt-Free

Don’t borrow unless you absolutely must. I suggest using a cash-rewards credit card for purchases (because every extra dollar does count), but auto-pay the full balance every month. Never push your spending beyond the limits of the money you actually have in the checking account set up to cover the complete credit card bill. If you do take out loans, pay them off as soon as you possibly can rather than trying to figure out how to afford more payments for longer. Listen, the Lannisters do it and so can you. Buckle down on lowering the balance. Double up on principal payments. Spend money on nearly nothing else that isn’t essential until your debt is gone. There is sacrifice involved, but it’s short-term sacrifice for long-term comfort. I realize certain things in life will likely require loans, like university and a house, but most things people buy on credit they just really don’t need, like bigger and more expensive versions of the things that they could actually afford. By afford, I mean really pay for, not afford the payments after the fact. Not having recurring payments and not throwing away money on interest is key to simplifying finances and saving.

Be Free

This all might sound like I’m suggesting you always be frugal and pinch every penny. On the contrary, this method frees me to spend more on what I really want, free and clear, like trips around the world, because I have the money on hand to do it and I’m not bogged down by bills. My goal is not to have a high number of dollars on my bank statement when I die, but to not live always desiring more or wanting in the resources to spend on what really matters to me.

Be happy

I’m just throwing out one perspective when it comes to money. I also understand that my method, while effective for me, is personal preference. Saving and not over-owning makes me happy and lets me do the other things that make me happy. For some people, spending makes them happy. Being surrounded by possessions makes them happy. Taking huge risks with huge loans for potentially huge payouts makes them happy. Whatever it takes guys, be happy.