When you’re living paycheck to paycheck and all your money goes directly to bills and basic living expenses, it can be difficult to see how you could possibly save money.
“After I’ve paid all my bills, I don’t have any extra cash! How am I supposed to save?”
Don’t worry, I feel ya! I’ve been there.
Years ago, if someone had’ve told me I need to save money, I probably would have laughed in their face. How can I save money when I barely have enough money to pay my bills?!
But what I started to realize was that there were actually quite a few ways I could have been saving money. I just wasn’t seeing the forest for the trees (or saving money when I should have been.)
10 Ways To Save Money When You’re Living Paycheck to Paycheck
First off, it will be incredibly helpful if you learn how to use paycheck budgeting. This will help you implement the savings strategies below. You also want to start looking at some other frugal living tips and/or one of these money saving challenges to help you on your journey!
1. Christmas/Birthday Gifts
Whenever a friend or relative asks you what you’d like for your birthday, instead of asking for a gift, ask for cash.
Now, a lot of people aren’t too keen on giving money in lieu of a present.
But if you explain why you’d prefer cash this year (i.e. “I’m really trying to get ahead financially by building up my emergency fund. Instead of a gift, I’d love if you could help me do this by giving me a small monetary gift instead”) then most people will be more than willing to forgo purchasing a gift.
I recommend virtually everybody I know to join Ibotta, because it’s HANDS DOWN one of my favorite cash back apps.
If you’re unfamiliar with Ibotta, in a nutshell, it’s a free app that gives you cash back for your groceries.
Unlike a lot of other apps/websites, Ibotta has a lot of rebates that aren’t brand specific. For example, I have received cash back for things like “any brand of cereal” or “shredded cheese” or “bananas.”
You can also combine coupons with Ibotta. There have been several instances where I have actually received items for free, by combining manufacturer coupons with Ibotta rebates.
In the beginning of December, I cashed about $164.50 from my Ibotta account. It took me just a few months to make, and I got it for something I would be doing anyway – grocery shopping.
Click here to join Ibotta and get a bonus $10 when you redeem your first rebate.
3. Tax Refunds
I know, I know… tax refunds can be so tempting to spend. Especially when retailers bombard us with “amazing deals” right around tax time.
If you’re fortunate enough to receive a tax refund, forgo the urge to splurge. Instead, put that money in your emergency fund or towards your savings goal.
4. Sell Your Used Clothing on ThredUp
Selling your old clothes can be a great way to find some extra cash to save.
Go through your closet and look for gently used items that you haven’t worn in the past year. If all four seasons have passed and you didn’t wear a particular item, chances are you probably don’t need it. It’s just taking up space in your closet.
Try selling it on ThredUp for some extra cash. (Join ThredUp here and get a bonus $10 gift card.)
5. Have a Yard Sale
Having a yard sale is one of my favorite ways to find extra money to save. You might be thinking that you don’t have anything of value to sell.
Don’t worry about that – I didn’t either, and I made over $400 in my most recent yard sale. (Read my tips for having a mega-profitable yard sale here.)
You’d be surprised at the things people buy – there is definitely some truth behind the saying “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”
6. Sell Unwanted Gift Cards
Don’t let your unwanted gift cards just sit in your wallet. Did you know that you can actually sell them for cash?
One Christmas, I received a $100 gift card from a client for a restaurant chain that was nowhere near where I live. While it was a thoughtful gesture, I knew I wouldn’t be driving 3 hours to use the gift card.
Rather than just letting it go to waste, I sold it for cash on Raise.
7. Work Bonuses
Work bonuses don’t seem to be as common as they were when I first entered the workforce (don’t ask how many years ago that was…) And they’re basically non-existent if you’re a freelancer.
But if you’re lucky enough to receive a Christmas bonus from your employer, avoid the temptation to spend it – put it straight into your savings account instead.
8. Online Surveys
Online surveys can be a great way to find some extra cash to add to your savings account. There are a lot of survey sites out there that promise the world, but unfortunately, many of them don’t deliver.
However, I do make supplemental income from taking online surveys, so I can attest that there are some legitimate sites out there.
My favorites are:
InboxDollars ($5 sign up bonus)
9. Cut Expenses
Another way you can find extra money to save is by cutting your unnecessary expenses. I’m not suggesting that you should start living by candlelight and eating gruel for dinner (but hey, if that sounds like something you’d like to do, then more power to you!)
But there are plenty of unnecessary expenses that you can cut to save extra money.
In fact, here’s a list of things you can do to become $8000 richer in a year that includes some suggestions of expenses to cut.
10. Get Cash back on Your Online Purchases
Getting cash back for my online purchases is one of my favorite ways to make extra cash to bolster my savings.
I rarely shop in brick and mortar stores anymore. Why?
Because by shopping online and using Ebates, I get cash rebates on almost all of my purchases.
If you haven’t used Ebates before, it’s really easy.
Basically, you sign up for a free account and then whenever you’re going to shop online, instead of going straight to the retailers website you go to Ebates, find the retailer and then click on the link to their website. Ebates will track your purchase and give you a percentage of cash back on your total purchase.
Then every 3 months, they’ll send you a “big fat check” in the mail!
Here’s the link to join Ebates (you’ll get a bonus $10 gift card after you make your first purchase.)
As you can see, there are plenty of ways you can find extra cash to save.
But the key to this is that you have to actually save the money (something I failed at in the past >.<)
I know how tempting it can be to splurge a little, especially if you’re on a tight budget. Using the cash envelope system for budgeting can be a huge help when you’re trying to budget.
But saving your extra cash instead of spending it is absolutely worth it, especially when you have a fully funded emergency fund, a “rainy day” fund, and you can hand over cash for that big-ticket item you’ve been wanting, instead of swiping your credit card.
Do you have any other ways to find money to save when you’re on a tight budget? Let me know in the comments!