Earning just minimum wage can be a bummer. It can be a limiting experience, especially as you may find it hard to make ends meet. This is considering that the average costs of living keeps increasing too. Also, housing costs show no signs of declining, and there are scarcely ways of making extra money. So, what do you do?
Because of all this, it is important to discover how to make ends meet with the minimum wage you currently have. Of course, it may not be an easy change. In fact, the tips that will help you save might actually demand that you cut off some things you consider essential. However, with commitment, perseverance, and discipline, everything is achievable.
So, want to learn how to save money on minimum wage? Let’s dive in!
How Much Do You Earn A Year On Minimum Wage?
Generally, there is no universally accepted measure of the minimum wage. However, there have been attempts by organizations such as the International Labor Organization (ILO) to standardize the wage made per hour. However, this has proved futile in a vast majority of cases, and This is because the economic powers of various countries differ. Thus, the countries can only create minimum wage laws based on what they can reasonably pay.
In the United States, most of the 50 states have a state minimum wage law. The federal legislation also provides minimum wage compensation for employees, although a worker is subject both to state and federal laws. The minimum wage cap for states ranges from $7 to $15. In some cases, this is hardly sufficient, especially considering housing costs. The stipulation by the federal legislation is at $7.5. You can find provisions relating to the minimum wage in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
Remarkably, the FLSA does not provide for collection procedures. It also does not provide a means of redress if a worker is unfairly paid. This is a blindspot that state legislations try to handle. Hence, a worker who has complaints about unfair wages can have recourse under the applicable wage laws of that state.
How To Save Money On Minimum Wage
There are ways you can make sure that you save money even with a low income. Several of them involve making changes to your lifestyle. This includes modifying where you get food, how you go about your grocery shopping, and even your attitude towards your emergency fund. However, these changes will not cause an upheaval in your life. They are easy to implement. Here they are:
Avoid Any Debt
Anyone making minimum wage has no business going into debt. Hence, you must do all within your power to avoid or get out of any debt you find yourself in. Naturally, this might not come easily. Some debts seem unavoidable. This is especially when you consider that your take-home per month may barely cover your needs. However, in the vast majority of cases, people get mired in debt because of their spending habits. Thus, if you can identify the services and products you spend the most on, you can cut out the non-essential ones.
Be Careful With The Windfall
If you are in the low-income bracket, you should be careful with your windfalls, too. This is one of the ways to hit your savings goals faster. When you get a sudden gift, a tax refund, or free services, invest the windfall.
Every Penny Counts
As someone making minimum wage, this should be your personal mantra. Instead of spending the loose change on cookies or the likes, you could save them. Some people have jars in their homes where they store these small denominations; you may want to adopt this, too. Keep the jar somewhere easily accessible, maybe your kitchen counter or dresser. You can put your change directly into the jar when you empty your pockets. You can get your family to imbibe this habit also. Ignore how much you have. Just keep storing them away. This tip is for the long term. At the end of a period, perhaps a year, you would be surprised at how much you would have saved.
Cook Your Food
Eating out can be just easier. You would not have to deal with the stress of going through the process of planning, cooking, and cleaning up afterward. Diners take this burden in exchange for pay. Also, buying food is more convenient. From your place of work, you could walk into an outlet and have a meal. Super convenient. However, this is quite expensive in the long term. When you calculate all of the money you spend buying already packaged food, you would be shocked at how much of your wage goes down that rabbit hole. If you have a low income, you have no business eating out. Instead, you should take the time to prepare your food yourself. Create a food budget and stick to it. You could even institute that rule in your home. When everyone eats at home, it creates a time for bonding for your family.
Find A Roommate
As a minimum wage worker, one of the ways of saving money is through sharing accommodation/lodgings. Affordable housing is becoming increasingly scarce. Generally, if what you pay for your house is more than 30 percent of your income, it is no longer affordable housing. In such a scenario, you may want to share. Of course, this works best if you do not have a partner.
Sharing accommodations will necessarily mean that you get to split the incidental living expenses. This could help you get to your savings goals faster. Getting a roommate these days is incredibly easy. You could put out the information on websites that specialize in connecting roommates. You could then look at the offers you have and settle for the most likely candidate.
You may also want to consider renting out your house to lodgers if you are taking a vacation or going out of the country for a while. All of these will increase the money you have at the end of the month.
Increase Your Income
While looking for ways to make do with what you currently have, it might be great to look for ways to increase your income. If you have a full-time job, you would need to find some kind of side hustle for extra money. The internet has made it easy to offer goods and services from the comfort of your home. With your cell phone, you can reach thousands of people looking for your services. Thus, the important thing is to discover what you can offer. Do you bake cookies, do you write, can you type, can you use your car for Uber or DoorDash on the weekends? Any of these could be a job you can do on the side.
If you do not have any job currently, you may want to get one. You could be able to find openings in non-traditional spaces. For instance, you could consider working as a caregiver for an older person or even do online tutoring.
Find Alternative Means Of Entertainment
You may be surprised at how much people pay to be entertained. People often feel the need to indulge, especially when they feel low. This is the reason the movie industry waxes stronger by the day. People often do not realize how much of their money goes into staying entertained. This is quite regrettable, especially considering that entertainment and how much you spend on it is one area you are totally in control of. Thus, you can totally decide how much you spend on it and how much you want to save. For instance, instead of going to the movies, you could stay in and play a game instead.
How To Save Money If You Live Paycheck To Paycheck
When you make minimum wage, you probably would be living from paycheck to paycheck. However, it might be possible that you are living below the minimum wage, and your situation is quite dire. The tips here are all-encompassing. They will help you stay afloat regardless of the amount of money you make. Following these tips, you may not even need to make more money. Also, if you have any debt to pay, you may be able to pay those off in no time. Here are the tips:
Make A Budget
Keeping a budget is an indispensable tip for anyone living one paycheck to the other and looking to save money. A budget tells you how much your income is, the amount in your savings, what you can spend, and otherwise. When you create a budget, the first thing to do is provide necessities. Then, you can cut down unnecessary spending and save money from what is left.
Renegotiate Your Bills
Renegotiating bills is a great idea for those living from paycheck to paycheck. This is because it frees up money for you while also helping you achieve your savings goals. People often make the mistake of thinking that their bills are set in stone while, in truth, they are not. If you look through your monthly bills, you can definitely find what to cut and what you could renegotiate.
Thus, the first thing to do is keep track of your bills. Then, looking at your budget, you can estimate what you can afford and what you cannot. Eliminate every non-essential bill. There is no point getting into any debt you could easily evade. Then, you could look to see if you could renegotiate for the ones you cannot get out of. Trying to save money this way is not often explored by people. However, it could yet the best benefit.
Take Things Slowly
People often get desperate when faced with the bleak prospects of living from paycheck to paycheck. This grows more and more as the pressure mounts or when they incur any debt. However, you must understand that patience plays a vital role when you’re living on the margins. Saving money will take a long time. Also, for the most part, the choices you make can boost your income, but your best efforts may still fall short. However, if you are deliberate and diligent with topping up your savings account each month, you will see the result in no time. The money may not swell up immediately, and your life will not get turned around at the snap of your fingers. However, you can rest assured that the trickles will transform into a flood with time.
You may find it frustrating having to scrimp and save to get by with your minimum wage job. Truly, what you make as a minimum wage worker may be insufficient to get you to your savings goals. However, moaning about it will hardly help. However, you can take active steps to ensure that you do more than survive on your minimum wage. It is possible to thrive, hitting your target without fail. Start by implementing the strategies here.