People who live from paycheck to paycheck might think that no amount of financial literacy can help them to save money. It may seem impossible to prepare for the future or pursue goals if the means to save is not there in the first place.

According to The National Baseline Survey on Financial Inclusion by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) only 4 out of 10 Filipinos have savings. This makes a lot of Filipinos susceptible to financial worries when uncertainties strike.

While having a low income may be a factor that makes it more difficult to achieve financial goals, you shouldn’t lose hope. Even minimum wage earners can save money little by little. This article shares some of the tips that can help you get started.

Tips to save money even with a low income

Monitor expenses

Know where money is spent. List all spending to know the biggest expenses and track unnecessary purchases. Simple habits like buying food instead of cooking can take a huge portion of one’s income, especially when done regularly. If unnecessary practices would be eliminated, the unspent amount may be used to start your savings.

There are online tools that can make expense monitoring an easy task. Sun Life’s Expense Calculator helps users find out where their money goes. It provides a detailed view of expenses and the potential for savings. With the expense calculator, it would be easier to assess your readiness to start saving.

Check out Sun Life’s Expense Calculator, here.


Control your expenses by setting a budget. Categorize expenses according to priorities and identify the essentials and non-essentials. This makes it easier to allocate money properly so there will be enough funds for the things that matter the most.  Through proper budgeting, it will also be easier to control expenses and identify the ones that can be sacrificed in favor of the essentials.

Reduce the biggest expenses

Aside from cutting the unnecessary, it is also important to cut down the biggest expenses. For instance, if house rental and transportation costs are among the biggest expenses, the option of transferring to the least expensive place that is easily accessible to the workplace should be considered. This way, housing and transportation costs may be reduced.

Pay-off debts

To start saving, it is important to settle debts first, particularly those with high-interest rates. Pay off personal loans and credit card bills on time to eliminate huge charges. Create a plan on how it can be paid off. In case, several debts need to be settled, starting with the highest interest rate. Being able to be free from unnecessary charges is another opportunity to save even on a low income.

Explore opportunities to earn more

Having a low income is an obstacle to saving but is not impossible to overcome. There are opportunities to earn more. Freelancing is popular in fast-growing industries. Online platforms that offer a wide range of jobs for qualified applicants. Another option is to start a small business that can provide an additional income source even when done right from home. Skilled people can also use their talents to get side jobs apart from their regular jobs. There are many ways to earn additional income. One needs to make the most of his/her skills without getting in the way of a regular job.

Avoid bank fees

Saving money in a bank is one way to control your expenses. It helps prevent unplanned expenses since money is not available right away. However, it could bring disadvantages too, especially when it comes to fees or charges. One has to be aware of the fees that a bank may charge for certain transactions. The required minimum balance must also be maintained, or else hard-earned money may be eaten up due to unnecessary charges.

Stay healthy

Healthcare is expensive and it should not be disregarded. While it may seem like an added expense, staying healthy is a step to avoiding unplanned expenses. Basic practices like eating healthy foods, getting the right amount of sleep, exercising, and avoiding vices such as smoking and excessive drinking are the key steps to health protection. Investing in health insurance plans also be considered. it offers protection from certain conditions, health insurance plans with investment options are designed to protect a person’s health and wealth especially when emergencies arise.


ALSO READ: How to jumpstart your investing journey

People who live from paycheck to paycheck should not lose hope about their financial future. While it could be a challenge to save money on a low income, to improve his/her current status so it may be aligned with his/her financial goals.

Don’t be discouraged even when living on minimum wage. Start saving to prepare for a better future even if it may come with sacrifices. Financial freedom is achievable especially with the help of some useful tips that can guide a person towards smart spending.