How To Save Money When There’s Nothing Left After Payday

by Jon Dulin · 17 comments

personal savings rateThe following post is by MSG staff writer, Shondell of Call Me What You Want, Even Cheap. She blogs about her recent car loan and mortgage pay off of over $95k and a whole bunch more. Check out her blog right here.

When bills, debts, and other expenses eat up all of your funds on payday, it seems impossible to consider saving. Yet, savings are necessary to protect you on rainy days, keep you warm when you retire or fuel your goals. How do you make it happen? How do you save money when there’s nothing left after payday?

Make Savings A Priority

You are currently considering saving as an option and not as an obligation. You save WHEN and IF there is something left. That is not the way to do it. Allocate a fixed amount for savings every month and “treat” it just like any another mandatory payment. Transfer the money you’ve allocated to your savings account on payday, just like you do with other bills. Pay yourself first and not last, out of the leftovers. Getting into the habit of saving is not easy but you have more chances to succeed if you consider saving first and not last. To make sure you do that, you can make saving an automatic deduction from your paycheck. That way you will have less of an excuse not to save.

Get Rid of Your Debts

If you drag and span your debts over years and years, you will never be able to save money. Simply, eradicate debts and pay them as quickly as you can. They are a top priority that will help you regain your financial independence. Put them on top of the list and never miss a payment. Forget all excuses and just make the payments. Debts are holding you back. Do not let them take over your life; deal with them smartly and pay them off as soon as possible.

Get Rid Of “Costly” Habits

Habit is the worse vice. Sometimes, you get so used to certain habits that you fail to see how “burdening” they’ve become on your budget. Some expensive habits may include:

You may not realize it, but they weigh down on your expenses a great deal. You need to prioritize your costs and eliminating bad habits is one of the most effective ways you can do it. Every indulgence is an extra cost that can turn into a saving amount if you are committed and constant in your decision.

Analyze Your Budget

This is the part that nobody enjoys: taking a good look at your budget. The truth is that you may not like what you will see but you definitely need to see it. Thus, you will understand that there are very few things except bills and debts that you truly need. Ask yourself the question: do I really need this? Be honest about the answer and you will see just how much you can trim off on your budget list.

What are some tips you use to save?

[Editor's Note: there are two routes you can go in regards to creating a budget. The "old-school" way is to use a free excel spreadsheet template and manually budget. The other option is to use Power Wallet. You create a free account on Power Wallet and link your bank accounts and go from there. It's so easy to use, you have no excuse for not having a budget.]

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa @ Cents To Save January 29, 2013 at 9:04 am

I do try to eliminate the Starbucks coffee and that helps. I also save all my loose change and use that to pay down debt OR treat myself. :)
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moneysma January 29, 2013 at 6:56 pm

I keep all of my spare change in a jar and then each year “cash” it in. It usually totals close to $200. It’s a great little year end bonus!

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Sean @ One Smart Dollar January 29, 2013 at 9:39 am

My wife and I have our retirement funds and other investment money automatically taken out of our checking account each month.
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moneysma January 29, 2013 at 6:58 pm

Same here….automating my savings guarantees that I am saving for retirement.

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William Cowie January 29, 2013 at 10:40 am

When I lost my job years ago, my wife and I were forced to cut our expenses to the bone to make ends meet. We didn’t see how we could cut enough to get by on unemployment but, amazingly we managed. That taught us: where there’s a will, there’s a way. It may not be pretty, but you can do it.

When we both eventually went back to work, we decided on how much we wanted to save and, because we both had direct deposit for payroll, we had our savings deducted from our paychecks right off the bat. That forced us to figure out how to make do with what was left. When you save like that, it’s amazing how quickly you adjust to the new standard of living. Today we’re glad we set our standard living after the savings were taken out…
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moneysma January 29, 2013 at 6:59 pm

Great point! It boggles my mind sometimes when I look back at things in my life and how I thought how hard they would be and they turned out to not be so bad. It goes goes to show that you never know until you try.

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John S @ Frugal Rules January 29, 2013 at 11:00 am

Good points! I would say one of the best ways around this is to automate savings. Even if it’s a small amount, it needs to be done. I think often times people would rather make the excuse that they can’t save as opposed to finding things they can cut
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moneysma January 29, 2013 at 7:00 pm

John, I agree. When you automate your savings, you don’t have to think about it. It’s gone before you can do anything with it.

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Christian L. January 29, 2013 at 11:54 am

Work more. For awhile, right after I graduated college, I worked at a local ice cream shop. Per hour, I got paid more than minimum wage and took home cash tips after every shift. I’m still on payroll there too, so I can pick up shifts in the summer when the college kids leave town.

-Christian L. @ Smart Military Money

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moneysma January 29, 2013 at 7:01 pm

I did this as well after college. I worked part time until I found a full time job. Then I kept that part time job in addition to my full time job. It helped me dig out of the credit card debt I had gotten myself into.

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Money Beagle January 29, 2013 at 12:42 pm

I haven’t received a raise in four years now, so we’ve gone through and done more and more of these things, to where it’s pretty well at the end of the line without making big lifestyle changes. At that point, you have to look at the income side of things and try to find a way to make more money through side work or such.
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Shannon-ReadyForZero January 29, 2013 at 2:39 pm

I use the tip of paying my savings first and treating it like a bill. In the days before I did that, I always saved less than I projected in my budget. By paying savings first and considering that money gone, it’s easier to cut back on other spending than it would be if I waited until the end of the month to save whatever’s left over.
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krantcents January 29, 2013 at 3:23 pm

First, I always make savings a priority. If my expenses increase which they did recently I analyze why and what I can do about it. My gas (home) increased this past month thanks to the cold weather. My gas bill went from under $20 per month to $64. It was unusually cold in southern California, but it still bothered me. I remembered I had not changed the filters which I immediately remedied. I need to put this on a schedule so I cannot forget. Analyzing the numbers will help you reach a conclusion.

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Canadianbudgetbinder January 29, 2013 at 5:43 pm

That’s what we do, factor in paying ourselves as if it were a bill each month. That helps us to build up our emergency savings and our retirement fund. If you give yourself the option with what to do with the money you may not allocate it where you want it to go. Make it automatic, pay yourself first. Great post.
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Chris @ Stumble Forward January 29, 2013 at 9:08 pm

Great points here. I have a several employees who are really bad spenders. They get their paycheck each we and complain they don’t have enough money to save anything but yet they have enough money to buy 2 packs of cigarettes a day or $50 in lotto tickets. I believe almost everyone has the money to save but most just don’t choose not to do it because they don’t think saving $10 or $20 a week will get them anywhere.

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Totio Filipov January 30, 2013 at 4:34 am

I think the thing that is stopping most people from saving is debt. They should take care of that first if they would like to start saving, otherwise it is not going to work too well.

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anthony a. @ financial freedom ideas July 31, 2013 at 11:24 am

We need to analyze our spending habit. There might be an expense which is unnecessary. Avoid those and use the money to save. If there’s really nothing left, find ways or opportunities to earn more. Saving money is for our future and we need to prioritize it. We should retire young and very rich. Money must work for us thru investments or businesses. But before anything else, save money to capitalize on a business or investment.
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