How I Save $150 Monthly [On A $650 Salary]
Where my husband and I live, the average salary is around $650, which is roughly what both he and I make on our jobs. And yet, we always end up with extra money and can afford ad-hoc traveling, any unexpected repair we need, or splurging every once in a while. None of us have side hustles, either. You may wonder at this point – how to save money on average salaries and tons of bills?
What’s our secret? (Well, mostly mine – I’m a much better money saver than he is!) Here’s everything I do to make it possible.
How to Save Money Each Month [And Still Have Enough to Spend]
The very first thing to do is:
Put 10% of Your Salary Aside.
No matter how big or small it is! If you make $2000, you’ll have an extra $200 saved each month. If you make $500, those $50 a month will come in handy. Now you might be thinking, “easy for you to say, but I can barely make ends meet!” If that’s so, I still recommend you do it, the moment you get your paycheck. Then, if by the end of the month you still have to pay rent or bills, sure, you’ll have no choice but to spend that money as well. But if you find you’re all set, leave that money be.
If you’re wondering how to save money from salary every month, this is where you start. It’s easy to convince yourself you don’t have the luxury, or to do it for two months and then take your savings and splurge thinking – yay me, I deserved it! But if you want to save for something long-term, or to simply have something on the side in unexpected situations, stay strong and avoid doing that.
Cook At Home.
If you started tracking your monthly expenses, and you’re the type to eat out or have takeout dinners often, you’ll be shocked to see how much money goes into that. Now, the question is: how to save money cooking at home? Don’t ingredients cost money, too? I mean, sure, they do. But I am always so, so grateful when I go grocery shopping and realize how cheap fruits and vegetables actually are. And that minced meat I get for homemade spaghetti? It’s 3x cheaper than ordering pasta for my husband and me.
If you’re not very experienced with cooking, here’s a simple guide I wrote when I was just starting with it myself. Now, one of the issues may be that you’re crazy busy. I am blessed with a flexible, WFH job that gives me two hours of free time at least before it’s dinner time. But when I need to add a doctor’s appointment or a driving lesson in there as well (yup, wish me luck!), I am often left with no time. In such cases, whoever is home first will take over cooking duties, and we’ll make sure it’s a quick meal.
Nowadays, you can buy frozen anything for when you’re in a hurry. Just today, I made some gyoza (yummy!), as we always keep a few packs in the freezer. We also have frozen french fries and all you need to do is fry some chicken with it, which takes no more than 15-20 minutes, meat preparation included. I try to cook actual food whenever I can – but even if I don’t have the time, I rarely opt for expensive, often unhealthy takeout.
The bottom line is: how to save money on food? By doing your best to cook at home!
Change Your Habits.
I wrote a piece about eating healthy food every day a while back, and I still watch what I eat, even though I’m building a baby as we speak, and I naturally need more calories. My breakfast consists of unrefined oats + yogurt + fresh fruit for breakfast, and I cook something nice and nutritious for lunch. I eat plenty of fruit throughout the day and take dark chocolate over milk chocolate when my sweet tooth starts acting up. Besides protecting my health, this also helps me save money. Now, how to save money not eating out is one thing, but how exactly do we save money eating specific foods at home?
Just think about it. How much do eggs and bacon cost, vs 1kg of oatmeal and 500g of bananas? If you eat the former for breakfast every day, you’ll be spending so much more money than if you’re eating the latter.
Bonus tip: if you don’t have a paid-for cafeteria at work, start bringing food to work. I’m trying to get my husband to do this because I remember how much money I would waste at my old work when I was too lazy to bring yesterday’s leftovers or a sandwich.
Look for Coupons and Discounts.
This is an obvious one, but we so rarely do it. We either buy stuff we don’t need just because it’s discounted, or we don’t buy the things we need, thinking “ah I don’t need that now”. Now, many people wonder how to save money on groceries when they’re usually quick to go bad. By a) buying those that can last longer (dairy products, meat – they can last a long time in a refrigerator or freezer) when they’re discounted, even if you’re not planning to use them ASAP, and b) by not hoarding fruit and vegetables if you’re not going to eat them, just because it’s discounted.
The same thing applies to other products – clothing, kitchen appliances, etc. Be patient and catch them at a discount, and don’t be afraid to buy winter clothes in the summer. I bought some wonderful sweaters in the middle of August, but when winter came, they were costing 3x as much, so…! Plus, I use Honey for all stuff online and let me tell you… It’s a real money-saver!
From December 14-16th, you can get the ultimate Master Your Money Super Bundle on a flash sale! You’ll get 9 eBooks, 27 eCourses, & 15 Workbooks and Printables for just $67. Be sure to bookmark it and use this opportunity wisely!
Turn Electric Devices Off When You’re Not Using Them!
One of the most common fights my husband and I have is over me turning the lights off in rooms we’re not currently in – bathroom, kitchen, etc. He feels that since we use electricity-saving lightbulbs the saving is virtually unnoticeable. But if you have 5 lightbulbs working all evening, even if each costs you 25c per hour, it’s still $4-$5 per evening, roughly $30 a week, and $120 a month. Not a small amount of money, is it?
One thing I fell in love with on my recent trip to Denmark is the fact no one uses any lights except for a few lamps. I naturally don’t like strong lighting, so saving money + creating a sexy atmosphere? Yes, please!
So, the bottom line is, if you’re wondering how to save money on gas and electric devices – turn off those lights, chargers, and radiators when you don’t need them!
How to Save Money Each Month: A Summary
And there you have it. If you want to save more than you expect each month, eat in, buy healthy food, look at discounts, turn those lights off, and leave 10% of each salary aside.