Being stuck working a minimum wage job is a vicious cycle. To give yourself better prospects, you need to be able to save money for things to help you rise above and move on. Yet, because your wages are so low, you can’t save money and do the things you need to do so.
For instance, you may need a car to commute to where the better paying jobs are, but your car broke down and you can’t afford to fix it. You might need to study to get a certification or a degree to get a good job but can’t afford the tuition or the books.
If this sounds like your situation, then you need to come up with a strategy to be able to save money and do what it takes to upgrade your job so you can get back on your feet. In this article, I will go over several ways that you can make this a possibility.
1 – Make a budget
The first thing you need to do to get your personal finances in order is to figure out where your money is going. You need to track your expenses and then create a budget. This is not easy even for people with better paying jobs, so it is definitely going to be even more difficult if you are stuck in a minimum wage rut.
Download a tracking app and put every single item that you spend money on into it. Make sure to categorize all of your expenses. All your groceries should be under that category with rent under another and utilities another. Then make sure that every coffee is tracked. Every single thing you spend money on should be entered as soon as possible.
At the end of the month, analyse your spending and see the areas that can be cut. Spending too much on groceries? Start buying things in bulk. Is your morning cup of coffee adding up to more than $20 per month? Get a coffee machine and make your own.
There are going to be obvious ways you can cut down on your spending by looking at your tracking and then create a budget that you stick to. Make sure that you set limits and have the discipline to see it through.
2 – Put away every dollar possible in a bank account
Most minimum wage workers don’t have a bank account. This is vitally important to have to be able to put money away. If you don’t have an account then you will never save any money.
Most savings accounts don’t pay much interest but you should still be putting money into them. Then, when you have a decent amount saved up, say over $500 then you can transfer that money into a Certificate of Deposit (CD) that can earn you close to 2% interest like with this credit union.
Even if you are only putting away $20 per month, it is a good habit and is going to make a difference. It’s even better if you use an investment app that helps you put away your spare change into a robo broker account that will help you grow your money.
Before you know it, you’ll have a few thousand dollars that can help you take those courses or fix that car and help you find a better job.
3 – Get on food stamps and buy in bulk
Don’t be too proud to get on food stamps or similar government programs to help you buy food. Those programs are there to help people get out of poverty. If it saves you $100 a month on your grocery bill, then that money can go into savings or an investment app that will help you get out of your minimum wage job much sooner.
And be smart about how you use the food stamps. If you shop right you can really stretch things. If you buy in bulk, you can feed yourself and your family for very little money. For instance, you can buy 20 pound bags of flour for just a few dollars and make bread that saves you up to $30 per month.
If you buy rice, then buy a 20 to 40 pound bag and store it so you are paying pennies per pound and it will go a long way. You can do the same for any dried food like beans and even cereal.
4 – Get educated
There are a lot of free courses online that you can take to help you learn a skill or even a trade that may help you get your next job that can raise you out of the minimum wage trap that you find yourself in.
Some of these courses will also give you a certification. For instance, there are many online courses on programming languages so you can learn how to be a coder for free. Then, take the certification exams and you can go out and look for an entry level programming job that doesn’t require a degree. You may even be able to work remotely so you can save money on commuting and other expenses.
5 – Start a side hustle
You can always go out and get a second minimum wage job and use that income to save, but you’re far better off using your spare time to work on a side hustle that brings in extra money.
It could be selling things on eBay that you find at thrift stores or flea markets. Or, you could do some data entry work online. You could even become a freelance writer and make extra money when you have time to do some extra work. Take this money and save it by pretending that you don’t even have it.
This will speed up your savings and may even open up a door to a higher paying job eventually. Find something that you like to do and chances are that there is a way to make money at it online.