September 4, 2023

Top 5 Ways To Budget Money On Low Income

Hey there, friend! In today’s financial whirlwind, mastering budgeting on a tight income is crucial.

Let’s simplify things. We’ll uncover your unique financial situation and create a tailored budget.

You’ll learn practical tips to trim expenses and make wallet-friendly choices.

Plus, we’ll explore smart investments for those with limited resources.

Join me on this journey to financial success! 💪💰✨

TL;DR – Aaron’s Summary

  • Understand Your Financial Situation: Start by tracking expenses, categorizing them, and creating a budget template. Analyze the results and adjust your budget accordingly to cover essentials while allowing for savings and discretionary spending.

  • Prioritize Your Spending: Make a list of essential expenses, avoid impulse purchases, and set limits on discretionary spending. Establish clear financial goals and work towards them each month.

  • Cut Unnecessary Expenses: Trim the fat from your budget by tracking spending, categorizing expenses, and eliminating non-essentials. Save on utilities, shop smart, and avoid credit card debt.

  • Save Money with Low-Cost Alternatives: Shop at discount stores, cook at home, use alternative transportation, and cut down on subscriptions. Try DIY projects and use a high-yield savings account for your emergency fund.

  • Make Smart Investments: Start with small investments, diversify your portfolio, and take advantage of tax-advantaged accounts.

Budgeting is key for everyone (Image created with Midjourney)

Budgeting is key for everyone (Image created with Midjourney)

1. Understand Your Financial Situation

Want to budget money on a low income? First, assess your financial situation by tracking expenses and income, categorizing expenses, creating a budget template, and analyzing results to adjust accordingly.

  1. Track your spending: Use an app like Mint or a notebook to record monthly expenses.

  2. Categorize expenses: Organize expenses into housing, food, and transportation categories.

  3. Determine monthly income: Calculate monthly income after taxes.

  4. Create a budget template: Use software like Excel or free online tools like EveryDollar.

  5. Analyze results & adjust accordingly: Compare expenses to income and adjust as needed.

A successful budget should cover essential living costs while allowing for savings and discretionary spending within reason.

Once you have comprehended your financial standing, you can take action and gain mastery of your money for future prosperity.

List up all your spending to make a budget (Image created with Midjourney)

List up all your spending to make a budget (Image created with Midjourney)

2. Prioritize Your Spending

When living on a low income, prioritize your spending and allocate your resources wisely to achieve financial stability in 2023.

A. Create a List of Essential Expenses

Make a list of essential expenses by budget categories and organize them by importance, with necessities like housing and food at the top. This will help you see where your money is going. On top of that, you should also avoid impulse purchases as they can take up your budget quickly. Instead, focus on items which are needed and have long-term value such as medical bills, groceries and rent. You can also use this method to compare prices from different sources to get the best deal. You will find this the easiest way to avoid impulse purchases all together.

B. Determine Discretionary Spending Categories

Identify discretionary spending categories and rank them based on their importance to your overall well-being and happiness. This could include hobbies, entertainment, dining out and other non-essential items. By understanding what you spend on these discretionary items, you can make sure they are not taking away from your other priorities. Additionally, you should set limits on how much money you allocate to each category so that it doesn’t exceed a certain amount or percentage of your budget.

Tips for Reducing Discretionary Spending:

  • Evaluate Subscriptions: Cancel any subscription services not being used regularly or providing enough value for their cost.

  • Cook at Home More Often: Prepare budget-friendly meals at home instead of eating out frequently.

  • Leverage Free Entertainment Options: Take advantage of free or low-cost entertainment options, such as local parks, libraries, and community events.

C. Set Financial Goals

Establish clear objectives and work towards them each month, such as saving for emergencies, paying off debt faster, or investing in your future.

Avoid taking on debt as much as you can. If you already have debt, make a plan to pay back the debt as fast as possible, always starting with your high-interest debt first.

Prioritizing your spending is critical in managing money effectively on a low income. By focusing on essentials first, making smart choices with discretionary expenses, and setting achievable financial goals, you can work towards greater financial stability in 2023.

Ideally you can extra cash by starting your own business (check out 67 Ways How to Make Money Fast as a Woman in 2023).

Think about where you can save costs as you make your budget (Image created with Midjourney)

Think about where you can save costs as you make your budget (Image created with Midjourney)

3. Cut Unnecessary Expenses

Trimming the fat from your budget is key to budgeting money on a low income.When you are on a tight budget, every single expense counts. Identify the expenses that you can eliminate or reduce and make a commitment to sticking with it. This could mean making small changes like cutting your cable bill, packing lunch for work instead of buying, and only shopping for essentials.

A. Track Your Spending

Use budgeting apps like Mint or a notebook to track your spending for at least one month. It will feel tedious, but if you find ways to stick to it for one month, it will be very insightful and you will notice spends that you were not previously aware of. Spending without realizing I like to call “storm spending”, like a big storm and fog inside your brain so you don’t notice what is going on. Make sure to check your bank statements every month to stay on top of what is happening.

B. Categorize Your Expenses

Categorize each expense as “essential” or “non-essential” to identify potential areas for savings. Typical budget categories include essentials such as food, housing, transportation, and non-essentials such as entertainment and clothing (unless the clothing replaces or represents a vital item). Especially those on a tight budget should prioritize expenses that fall in the  essential category.

C. Eliminate Non-Essential Costs

It is critical to reduce the money you’re spending on non-essentials first when trying to free up extra cash.

Examples include:

  • Dining Out: Cook meals at home instead of eating out.

  • Cable TV: Cancel cable subscriptions and use lower-cost streaming services like Netflix or Hulu.

  • Gym Memberships: Explore free workout options like outdoor exercise routines or YouTube fitness channels.

  • Miscellaneous Subscriptions: Review monthly subscription services that may no longer be necessary and cancel them if possible.

  • Credit cards: Always pay your credit cards on time and in full – ideally have the money dedicated automatically from your bank account every month or even have it directly linked (as a pseudo credit card that is rather a credit card).

D: Save on Utilities

Reduce utility bills by implementing energy-saving practices and water conservation methods.

  • Energy Efficiency: Turn off lights when not in use and use energy-efficient appliances. Make sure any energy-related money you’re spending is actually heating, cooling, or illuminating rooms that you use.

  • Water Conservation: Fix leaks, take shorter showers, and use a low-flow toilet.

E: Shop Smart

Cut costs on necessary items by using coupons or taking advantage of sales, buying non-perishable goods in bulk, and enrolling in store loyalty programs.

Cutting unnecessary expenses requires regular monitoring of your spending habits, but it’s worth it to budget effectively even with a limited income.

Creatively finding cheaper analysis will help growing your savings (Image created with Midjourney)

Creatively finding cheaper analysis will help growing your savings (Image created with Midjourney)

4. Save Money with Low-Cost Alternatives

Don’t break the bank – try these budget-friendly options to maintain your quality of life.

A. Shop Smart

Save big by shopping at discount stores and online marketplaces.

B. Cook at Home

Eating out is expensive – cook meals at home for healthier options and more savings.

C. Use Alternative Transportation

Opt to save money and decrease your environmental impact by utilizing public transit or carpooling instead of driving alone.

D. Cut Down on Subscriptions

  • Entertainment: Choose one streaming service and share accounts with friends/family.
  • Gym Memberships: Look for free or low-cost workout options.
  • Magazines and Newspapers: Read articles online for free through your local library’s digital resources.

E. DIY Projects and Repairs

Tackle minor home repairs and projects yourself with the help of online tutorials.

By taking on DIY projects and repairs, you can enjoy quality results while maximizing your budget. Get creative and save big in 2023.

F. Use a high-yield savings account for your emergency fund

At least 6 month of rent and living expenses should be easily accessible as an emergency fund but also generate some returns by placing them into a high-yield savings account. Having an emergency fund is non-negotiable.

Maximize your budget in 2023 with these top 5 ways to save money on a low income. Shop smart, cook at home, use alternative transportation and more. #SimplifyYourSuccess #BudgetingTips

Once you have budgeted, you can be more deliberate on your spending (Image created with Midjourney)

Once you have budgeted, you can be more deliberate on your spending (Image created with Midjourney)

5. Make Smart Investments

Investing, even with a restricted budget, can be achieved and help you build your wealth in the long run.

A. Start with Small Investments

You don’t need a lot of money to start investing; use dollar-cost averaging to invest small amounts consistently.

B. Diversify Your Portfolio

Spread your investments across different asset classes, industries, and regions to minimize risk and maximize returns.

  • Stocks: Invest in individual stocks or ETFs through platforms like Robinhood or SoFi Invest.

  • Bonds: Consider purchasing government or corporate bonds via online brokers such as TreasuryDirect.

  • Real Estate: Explore real estate crowdfunding platforms like Fundrise.

C. Take Advantage of Tax-Advantaged Accounts

Utilize tax-advantaged accounts, such as IRAs or 401(k) plans in the US (and similar plans in other countries), to save for retirement while benefiting from potential tax savings.

D. Stay Informed and Educated

Continuously educate yourself about investing strategies, market trends, and financial news to make informed decisions with your limited funds.

If you are new to investing, check out my other blog post A Beginner’s Guide to the Stock Market.

  • MarketWatch and Seeking Alpha are excellent resources for staying up-to-date on investment opportunities.

  • Listen to podcasts like The Money Tree Investing Podcast to learn more about investing.

E. Be Patient And Consistent

Remember that investing is a long-term game, so be patient and consistent with your investment strategy to achieve financial stability despite having a low income.

Continue learning how to improve your budgeting (Image created with Midjourney)

Continue learning how to improve your budgeting (Image created with Midjourney)

FAQs on Budgeting for Low Income

How to Save Money with Low Income in 2023?

To save money on a low income, prioritize essential expenses, cut unnecessary costs, and utilize low-cost alternatives. Create a budget plan to track your spending and find areas for improvement. Consider increasing your income through side hustles or passive investments.

The Best Way to Budget on a Low Income

The best way is by understanding your financial situation, setting realistic goals, prioritizing spending based on needs vs wants, tracking expenses regularly using tools like Mint, and adjusting the budget as needed.

How to Improve Your Finances in 2023

Improve your finances by creating a solid budget plan, reducing debt levels, building an emergency fund of at least three months’ worth of living expenses, investing consistently, and seeking additional sources of income.

How to Save Money in 2023 the Japanese way

Save money by using a Kakeibo journal. You can buy them ready-made on Amazon.

Budgeting is a skill setting you up for life (Image created with Midjourney)

Budgeting is a skill setting you up for life (Image created with Midjourney)


Low income, struggling to make ends meet?  No problem! These Top 5 Ways To Budget Money On Low Income in 2023 will help you take control of your finances.

Understand your financial situation, prioritize spending, cut unnecessary expenses, utilize low-cost alternatives, and make smart investments.

Remember, every little bit counts when it comes to saving money and building wealth. Make bank statements your friend and ensure you give them the attention they deserve.

Start small and stay consistent with your efforts to achieve financial stability. Save $1 every time you need to buy something – and the savings will compound.

Don’t let a low income hold you back from achieving your financial goals!

I hope you took value from this post on the op 5 Ways To Budget Money On Low Income in 2023. If you have any questions, make sure to drop us a message.

Happy budgeting!


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Originally from Tokyo, I am a world-traveling Japanese adventurer who loves connecting with people.

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