In my 20's I have returned empty beer bottles from house parties for quick cash so I could afford to buy a weeks worth of cheap packets of noodle mixes, it was a rite of passage.
More recently, when I have had to severely scrimp when the economy hit the wall, it just felt like a failure. In both cases though, I always stashed a bit of cash away. It helped me maintain a feeling of accomplishment, control and hope. It was to be a cushion or a splurge.
Whether you are earning $150,000 or on the true poverty line, here's my takeaways on how to save even when you are living pay-check to pay-check.
CAPTURE WHAT YOU ARE SPENDING MONEY ON
This is my top tip, no matter where you are in your financial journey. This little effort provides with a reflection of your movement in life. A scribble pad or your phone notepad will do. Take a week to record everything you spend money on and then have a look at:
What are you doing that no longer serves you?
What are you not doing that you need for your wellbeing?
Start making changes immediately, and ask for help from your household if you need support for changes.
BE THE LEADER OF YOUR SPEND (THE SMALL STUFF)
When it comes to things like groceries, coffee, and small routine items try putting the weekly cash needed in envelopes to use.
Before sealing, pull out 10% and put into a savings envelope or account. There are unlimited opportunities here to stay on your own path rather than living with regards to the status quo. Do this every month for the next 6 months and celebrate the victory each time you find a way to enjoy more while spending 10% less.
SELL THE THINGS YOU ARE NOT USING
Pocket some cash by combing through your dwellings and sell anything you are not using. It clears mental space and put relevance to future purchases, and you can put that cash into your savings!
SLEEP AND RITUALS
Finally, sleep and rituals - YOU are in charge of you. Create a schedule that allows for rituals to revitalize your body, soul and mind - including a good nights sleep. Good *quality* sleep makes for a clear head and good decisions. Bad habits sneak back in when you are not alert. 7-9 hours of sleep, period. Living pay check to pay check can be a highly emotionally charged time. Use that emotion as fuel and inspiration for the next step!