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Saving Money While Living Paycheck to Paycheck

A whopping 63% of Americans have been living paycheck to paycheck since COVID hit; but that was a reality for many even before the pandemic. People are struggling to get by today and also worried about saving for future needs. With groceries, gas, rent or mortgage payments, and credit card debt to pay off, there’s often little or nothing leftover for savings. But even with a paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle, there’s still some ways to save. Here’s how to trim your daily costs and put that saved money in the bank.

If you're in debt, saving money while living paycheck to paycheck requires strategy.

If you’re in debt, saving money while living paycheck to paycheck requires strategy.

Tips for Saving Money While Living Paycheck to Paycheck

Switch to lower-priced stores

Compare the prices of different grocery stores in your area. You can buy a variety of cheap, healthy food – and you might find cheaper alternatives for certain foods. Cheap foods like potatoes can also be a good base for meals. On that note, give cheaper or off-brand items a shot. For example, Suave shampoo and conditioner is just as good as Pantene’s! The Suave Professionals line has a luxe feel –  but if that’s not your priority, the cheaper Suave Essentials line works too.

Review your bills

Equifax suggests browsing your monthly bills to see where you can cut back if you’re living paycheck to paycheck. For example – you pay for cable, but do you actually watch all of it? If not, you could cancel cable, watch your top binge shows on a subscription service, and get the news online.

Think about your insurance policies (i.e., homeowners’, car, and life), too. Vital for our well-being, but costly to our wallets! The good news is that bundling your policies could save you money – some companies offer discounts if you have two or more policies with them. Additionally, many auto insurance policies have discounts for those with safe driving records or multiple cars.

Negotiating your utility bills will also help you whittle costs. It can feel intimidating at first trying to negotiate these bills, but it can pay off if you succeed. Do your research, don’t play into guilt, and be prepared to walk away – the worst they can say is no.

Consider downsizing your cell phone plan as well, or switching carriers.

Offbeat ways to save

These won’t necessarily save a fortune, but every penny counts. When you’re living paycheck to paycheck, our credit counseling advice is to consider any way to save money.

  • Reduce energy costs with LED light bulbs.
  • Use the cold setting on your washer for your laundry, then air dry your clothes instead of using the dryer.
  • Use cloth napkins instead of paper ones.
  • Bundle up with a hoodie and blankets instead of turning up the thermostat in the winter.
  • Keep your showers to less than five minutes if you can. You can set a timer on your phone to keep track.

Get Supplemental Streams of Income

If you’re still coming up short, get a side hustle to supplement your savings account. Your life will be busier, but you’ll have more peace of mind. Here are some ideas:

  • Driving for Uber or Lyft
  • Doing tasks on TaskRabbit
  • Babysitting
  • Dog sitting or dog walking
  • Freelance writing or graphic design
  • Work for a delivery service
  • Do transcription work at home
  • Try looking for part-time jobs in the evening or on weekends

When you are in debt and living paycheck to paycheck, it’s even more challenging to put aside money for savings. ACCC provides debt management help. Once you have debt under control, you can slowly refocus on saving.

If you’re struggling to pay off debt, ACCC may be able to help. Schedule a free credit counseling session with us today. 


Rae Yen is a marketing coordinator at ACCC. She wants to help others optimize their financial resources and plan accordingly.

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