Charles Givens in his now infinitely popular book, Wealth Without Risk, defines wealth not as how much you MAKE, but how much you SAVE.
Considering his definition in a literal sense helps us see money in a new light. Even for the struggling income family or person, you CAN save some money each month, by putting a little away at a time. This requires a meticulous, systematic approach to budgeting and spending and requires a resolve to focus on decreasing spending so that savings becomes a priority. But you can also do some simple things every month that will help you save for a rainy day.
Here are some ways low-income families can save money
Take some money off the top for savings
Even if it is only $10, that is $10 you will have later if you run out of gas, need to buy lunch, or are out of something you need at home. Many times, it is these smaller, extra expenses which end up creating a sense of lack and deprivation. There just never seems to be enough money to save anything. But when you get paid each month, if you force yourself to take $10 off the top, and do it every month, in 6 months time, that will be $60 you have in the case of emergencies. This way you don’t have to dip into your other money, causing your budget to get off track, in the event of an emergency of immediate need.
Negotiate a reasonable payment plan with creditors.
For many people, overwhelming debt and credit from an earlier time in their lives eats into any hope for savings. If this is the case with you, you must find a way to free up some of this money. This may require some sort of renegotiated plan with creditors. Many people go for months without paying anything, and you should pay as much as you can afford each month toward this debt. But if all you can pay and still save a little each money is $15, then this is what you should pay. Tell your creditors you are in dire circumstances and have no extra money to live on. They have heard this before, but if you are sincere, and they know you are making an assertive effort to pay them, they will sometimes accept such arrangements.
Consult with a credit counsellor
There are many scams that carry the name of "consumer credit counsellor" so be careful. But if you find a good financial advisor or counsellor who can understand your financial situation, they may be able to set up a payment plan for your debts as well, negotiate with creditors on your behalf, and come up with a repayment plan that will work for both of you.
Use a coin bank for loose change
As I am writing this, I have over $30 in another room in an "ATM coin bank." I collected all this change from loose change in my pockets, wallet, and change purse over the span of only a couple of weeks! So, as the Oak Ridge Boys sang back in the 80’s on country stations: "Dig a little deeper in the well" and deposit the savings in the bank for emergencies.
Do extra jobs when available
If you cannot increase your income on a larger scale immediately, consider increasing it a little at a time. Having a yard sale, babysitting for a friends’ kids, or selling some unneeded item, may free up some immediate money you can use for your "emergency fund." Remember, an emergency fund is essential for those unexpected things that come up, so that you don’t find yourself going into further debt over these instances in which you need money fast.
The greatest power you have, when your income is limited, is your emergency fund . Start one today by avoiding one little thing that costs, like a big Mocha or that extra soda and deposit the money in your ATM coin bank at home with your loose change. You’ll be surprised how fast it adds up. Remember, it’s not how much you earn, it’s how much you SAVE that makes you wealthy. One day at a time! Start today!
Lauren Jameson is a professional blogger the provides financial advice to consumers. She writes for, a lending company that will work with you and your situation.