7 Ways to Save when You Make Minimum Wage

Pulling in minimum wage at your job is no excuse to stop saving. Whether you’re just getting started in life with your first job or you’re experiencing a temporary setback in your career after being laid off, there are ways to sock away a few bucks even when earning minimum wage.


  1. Claw your way out of debt. Debt-free living is peaceful living, and if you’re without the burden of credit cards and car payments, you can concentrate on paying the main bills like utilities and groceries. Freeing up room in your budget means you can allocate a small amount toward savings.
  2. Cancel your cable bill. This one may be easier than you think. Get Google Chrome cast or Roku so you can stream TV online. There are a few companies like Hulu where you can see your favorite TV shows for around $7.99 – $11.99/mo. Beats paying cable to watch many of the same things.
  3. Apply extra cash to your savings. Rather than spend a windfall on a vacation, put it away for the future. Maximize your use of tax credits, too. For example, if you have kids, look into the Earned Income Tax Credit to get thousands back from the government annually.
  4. Add to a jar. This may seem like a childish approach to savings, but it works. Perhaps you won’t become a millionaire this way, but you may be able to save $20 a month that can go right into your savings. That’s $240 over one year that you wouldn’t normally have. Put it into an emergency fund or invest in some stocks. Just be sure to do your research on every deal you see and always keep one eye on your broker. It’s good to have a securities fraud attorney in your corner too.
  5. Sell your car or take it off the road. Cars suck money right out of you, whether in the form of insurance, maintenance or gas. Take the bus, carpool with others, sell your existing vehicle and buy a cheaper one, or go out once per week instead of several and get all your errands done so you’re spending gas more wisely.
  6. Stay home with the kids. If both you and your spouse are making minimum wage, yet you’re spending astronomical amounts on child care costs, it just makes sense for one of you to stay home with them instead. You have to weigh what you’re spending on day care with what you’re actually bringing home. It could turn out that you’re working just for someone else to entertain your kids every day.
  7. Sell off stuff. Have a yard sale, sell things you don’t use, and downsize your home. Heck, you can even sell your TV or at least cut out cable to save $200 a month!
  8. Move where the cost of living is cheaper. If you’re living in a high cost of living city, such as NYC or Boston, you need to get out to the suburbs or an entirely different part of the region or country. You may find you can live more comfortably at your same salary.

Finally, if you’re uncomfortable with any of the above strategies, you may consider going back to school to get the career you really love and start making more money.