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How To Save Money When You Don’t Make A Lot Or Even Have A Job

Uber driver, driving a passenger to make extra income
Uber driver, driving a passenger to make extra income

Want to rest easier at night? Having a safety net, when life happens will definitely help. Did you know 7 out of 10 Americans don’t have even $500 cash available for a major emergency? Because most people tend to overspend, then they do save, any little emergency may become a big stress and ordeal if you don’t have a little buffer between you and life. 

Cars break, accidents happen, and if you don’t have at least $1,000 cash sitting in a separate bank account or available if a real emergency happens, you’re royally screwing yourself on so many levels. 

I will preach and preach and preach this, but it starts with a budget and having your money organized. It has to matter to you, because no one else is going to come in and rescue you. Being able to save, starts when you decide it needs to be a priority. 

If you couldn’t cover a $500 emergency and have to ask someone to borrow money or put it on a credit card, you are not in a good situation financially. If you don’t at least $500 in your bank or a savings account at this very moment, that’s not allocated toward bills, then it’s time to listen up, because this is freaking important. 

I used to have very little liquid cash and would be in a total frenzy and ball of stress if anything hit me unexpectedly. I have been there and I have felt the guilt, shame and overwhelm and IT DOES NOT FEEL GOOD. It felt so awful that I decided to make it my life’s mission to help other woman step into their power, gain control, and see that there is another way. Credit cards are NOT a safety net. Taking out a loan shouldn’t be an option either and will only keep you broke. 

Asking your mom or grandma (like I used to do) is not chill and it’s actually embarrassing. I’ve done it. I’ve regretfully done it more times than I can count. I LIVED, like it was my job, in a lack mentality, never taking responsibility for my own actions and always asking for a bail out. 

I’ve now made it my mission not only to help other woman, but to make my grandma and family proud. I want to be the one who’s able to help others and not in the helpless situation I found myself in over and over again. 

Soooo, savings. You need one. And if you don’t make a lot of money, or have never had the discipline (because it takes it) to save, then I want to share with you some tips. 

So how do you save money? Here are a few ways to start saving fast even when you don’t make much money or maybe don’t even have a job…

1. Sell, sell, sell – all the things

Look around your room and home. Gather at least 5 things you can put up for sale, TODAY. Anything that has some value (even $20), snap a few pics and post on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, LetGo…all the apps. It does take a bit of work on the front end to take photos, write a description and post, but it is worth it. 

Also, be patient if things don’t sell immediately. Keep reposting and make sure to respond right away to buyers. Do beware of those scammers and anyone trying to send you fake cashier’s checks though. Always meet people in person and get cash whenever possible. 

2. Loose change is your friend

When I was on my journey to pay off my debt, I used any and every avenue I could to bring in extra cash. One of the first things I did was collect all the random change I had. From my purses and car, to pockets and couch cushions…even change on the ground, I had no shame in collecting it all in a jar and taking it to my local Coinstar to turn in for cold hard cash. The result? $60 and a big smile. 

You have to pull out all the stops when it comes to ramping up your savings, or paying off your debt and I say don’t leave any stone unturned. Bonus if you take your recyclables to a local recycling center and turn them in for cash. You get charged an added fee when you buy glass, bottles and aluminum anyway, so might as well get that money back and put it to something useful. 

3. Pay yourself first

I’ve been told this since I was a kid, but it didn’t really stick and I didn’t abide by this until well into adulthood: You must pay yourself first. You have to have your own back and invest in you first, otherwise you will never get ahead. Just like taxes get taken out of your check, you have to pay yourself a percentage too, BEFORE you pay everyone else. 

Start with 5-10% and right when you get paid, automatically send a percentage to a separate account. Better yet, if you have direct deposit, you can set up a percentage to go to separate accounts, automatically so you don’t even have to think about it. Think about it as part of your taxes, but it’s actually going to your account, not the governments. What a concept, right? I am telling you, if you don’t hear anything else, paying yourself first is the single most important thing to being able to get ahead (besides a budget). And you will never regret it. 

4. Side hustle – Uber, Lyft, Airbnb, Instacart, Task Rabbit…the world’s your oyster

If you can’t make money in the world in this era, then you might actually have no hope. I’m not saying that to hate or to be rude…maybe you’re actually just lazy, really don’t want to work, and don’t care to ever be rich. 

There are LOTS of jobs, of your choosing actually, if you are ready and willing to get to work. Like Dave Ramsey says: “There’s a good place to go when you’re broke. Work.” This isn’t the time to be choosy and worry about what others might think when you need money. It’s time to get to work. Now more than ever, you can work for yourself, on your own schedule when you sign up with Uber, Lyft, Airbnb, Instacart, or Task Rabbit. 

Besides all the apps, there are plenty of other ways to side hustle: Babysitting, cleaning houses, delivering pizzas, Starbucks barista…nothing should be off the table when you need to jumpstart your savings.

Remember, these seasons are temporary. You won’t always have to work extra or be in this position. It’s time to break out of your comfort zone and stop stressing about how you will ever get ahead. Start being creative and thinking of ways to fix your problem…now. 

I believe in you! You’ve got this and I’m here to support you, always. 

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