18 Ways for Low-Income Families to Maximize Every Dollar

Saving up is a big part of medium to low-income families. It helps you get the car you want or go on the family vacation you longed for. However, most people fail to be persistent with it.

Here are some tips for low-income families to save money.

Track your expenses

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Track your spending. Keep a list of everything you buy for a month. This will show you where your money goes. Check if there are small things you can cut back on. There are free apps like Goodbudget, Mint, etc., that can help you track your spending.

Budget

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Make a budget. Once you know where your money goes, plan how to spend it each month. Give yourself a set amount for groceries, bills, and fun. Stick to your plan as much as possible.

Eat more at home

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Cook more at home, as eating out or taking away can be expensive. Even your daily coffee can save you hundreds of dollars every month. This is not just about saving money; it is also healthier.

Opt for free fun

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Look for free fun. There are lots of free things to do for fun. Visit a library, walk in the park, or play games at home. Free doesn’t have to mean boring.

Make a habit of saving

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Save a little each paycheck. Even if it’s just a small amount, save some money each time you get paid. The best way would be to take out a portion of the funds as soon as you get your paycheck. That way, you will only spend what’s left after saving.

Challenge yourself

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Challenge yourself with no-spend days. Pick a few days each month when you try not to spend money on non-essentials. This can help you reduce impulse buys and become more mindful of spending.

Borrow what can be

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Borrow instead of buying. Need something for a short time? See if a friend or neighbor has it you can borrow. For example, if you need a lawn mower only once in a while, you can borrow it from friends or family instead of investing in one. This can save you money on things you won’t use all the time.

Be a smart shopper

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Shop smart at the grocery store and buy store-brand items when possible. Make a grocery list and stick to it to avoid impulse buys. Also, look for sales and coupons to save even more. You can even visit the local farmer’s market for fresher vegetables at a cheaper price.

Utilize community perks

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Take advantage of free community resources. Many libraries offer free classes, workshops, and even movies. Community centers may have free fitness programs or activities for kids. Therefore, instead of getting expensive gym memberships, you can use them.

Thrift clothes

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Thrifting is in trend and everyone is doing it. By thrifting, you can get free or cheap clothes. Look for gently used clothes at thrift stores or consignment shops. You can find great deals on clothes, furniture, and household items.

Be mindful of your orders

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Even if you plan to eat out occasionally, you can turn down the extras at restaurants. Skip the appetizers, fancy drinks, and desserts. Sticking to your main course can save you money and calories.

Look for discounts

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Become a discount pro. Look for discounts on everyday things like entertainment, movies, and clothes. Libraries often have discount passes available for free. You can even look for coupons in newspapers, magazines, and online websites to shop for a discount.

DIY what you can

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Embrace DIY (Do It Yourself).  Learn to fix small things around the house instead of calling a repair person. Many free online tutorials can teach you how to do almost anything. Plus, investing in a tool is cheaper than repeatedly paying a repair person.

Don’t be a hoarder

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Sell what you don’t need.  Do you have clothes, electronics, or furniture you don’t use anymore? Sell them online or have a garage sale. Turn those unwanted items into cash.

Negotiate

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Negotiate your bills. Don’t hesitate to call your cable, internet, or phone company and ask for a better deal. They might offer you a discount to keep your business. This is especially true for internet or cable operators. They have the provision to provide you with customized plans at customized prices.

Plan your route

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Planning your transportation can help you save a lot on fuel. Combine errands into one trip to save on gas or bus fare. You can also consider walking, biking, or using carpool options. Every little bit saved on travel adds up.

Drink water to stay hydrated

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Ditch expensive sugary drinks and bottled water. They don’t satisfy your thirst and can harm your health. Instead, choose a refillable water bottle and use tap water. It’s healthier for you and better for your budget.

Embrace free fitness

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You don’t need a gym membership to get healthy. There are tons of free workout videos online, or you can go for a jog in the park or do bodyweight exercises at home. If you are trying to do weight training, buying weights and working out at home can be cheaper than a gym membership. Plus, all your family members can use the equipment, unlike the gym membership.

Stop looking for brands

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Look for generic brands for things like medicine or household products.  They often work just as well and cost much less. Branding is mostly a facade to make you pay more. So instead, focus on quality rather than the brand name.

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