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Best ways to save money when you are broke

Saving money is crucial for financial stability and independence. Life is unpredictable and when the proverbial rainy days come knocking, the money saved by you offers an umbrella. Most salaried individuals will acknowledge living paycheck-to-paycheck at some point of time in their lives. While the core objective during such times is getting by, there are some ways in which you can save money even when you feel that you are broke and left with nothing at the end of the month. In this article, we will share some tips to help you save money during such times.

Have you ever observed a squirrel closely? When it lays its ‘paws’ on food, it stops for a moment to make a decision – whether it should eat it right away or stash it for use during the colder winter months when food is scarce to come by. Many times, you will observe a squirrel running away with a nut in hand – that’s when it is saving. There will also be times when you will see it perched on a branch nibbling at a delicious nut – that’s spending. Regardless of the size of the nut or the frequency at which it finds food, a squirrel always ensures that its winter cache is stocked and ready. This is an important lesson that we can learn from this hyperactive rodent. In fact, it is this behavior that led to the evolution of the term ‘squirrel away’. For humans, while hibernating is not a problem, financial rainy days are quite a few. Hence, we need to be able to squirrel away some money to help cover emergency costs as and when they arise.

The first question in your mind would probably be:

Save Money! I can barely meet the costs! How do you expect me to save?

Well, for starters, we are not talking about saving a huge sum. Even a small amount of AED 50 – 100 in a month can make a huge difference. Remember, saving money is a habit that derives itself from a commitment to live under your means. So, if you commit to spending less than what you earn, then you will always save money. Sounds difficult? Theoretically, yes. However, that’s the beauty of a habit – once you are used to it, it doesn’t seem difficult at all!

Tips to help you save money when you are broke:

  1. Save any Amount you can
  2. Create a Budget
  3. Debts Leak Money
  4. Challenge yourself to Save
  5. Add a Source of Income

1. Save any Amount you can

Many people delay the process of saving money because they feel that they do not have enough income to save a reasonable sum. That’s a counterproductive thought. While it will cause unnecessary delays in creating financial stability, emergency expenses can also create heavy debts. Therefore, the first rule of saving money when you are broke is making a promise to yourself to save any amount you can. Don’t think about how much you SHOULD save. Instead, focus on how much you CAN save. View every expense critically and find ways to save money every time you spend it!

2. Create a Budget

Budgeting is an effective way to start saving money. Basically, you need to know how much you earn every month and how much you spend and where. You need to create a list of monthly expenses – big and small. There will be some costs that are unavoidable (needs) and some that can be tweaked to save money (wants). Work on the latter and give yourself a fixed budget for the month for these non-critical costs like eating out, buying clothes, etc. Since you are in a financially tough spot, you can also look at your essential costs and figure out ways to save. For example, can you live in another apartment that saves some rent? Or, should you buy groceries from somewhere else to save some money? A budget will help you understand areas that you can work on to save.

Check: What is the Budget and how to make the Budget?

3. Debts Leak Money

One of the primary reasons behind most people not saving money is debt repayment. Whether it is a student loan, home loan or car loan, or even a credit card – loan installments can take out a huge chunk off your salary leaving you very little to work with. The worst thing is, you are paying interest on the loans – leaking money. Hence, you can consolidate your debts by refinancing them at lower interest rates and create a repayment plan that helps you clear your debts. Remember, the sooner you are debt-free, the sooner you will start saving.

4. Challenge yourself to Save

Saving is difficult. It requires a lot of restraint and hard work. However, you can make it fun by turning it into an interesting challenge. You can try the 30-day impulse spending challenge that encourages you to shelf any impulse purchases for 30 days while keeping the money in your savings account. Usually, at the end of tenure, the impulse wears off and you save the money. There are several other creative challenges available online. You can also create one yourself. For example, you can walk instead of taking a cab or a metro (a reasonable distance of course). Or, pack a lunch box instead of eating at the office cafeteria, etc. The more interesting you make it, the better chances you will have at persisting with the process.

5. Add a Source of Income

One of the best ways to counter a broke situation is looking for ways to increase your income. You can look for part-time jobs or use your creativity/skills to get some gigs online. Creative writing, logo designs, market research, there is a range of opportunities available that can be leveraged to boost your income. You can also try looking for jobs that pay you better than your current one. Don’t burn the candle at both ends. Adding an additional source of income should not be chased at the cost of your health (mental and physical). Look for opportunities that fit into your schedule easily.


Difficult times don’t last. If you are finding yourself broke at the end of every month, then it is time that you take the reins of control in your own hands and steer your life in the direction of financial stability. It will be difficult at first, but with time, you will get better at it and soon have a bank balance that will work as your safety net. Remember, if you can save money during such trying times, then you will do amazingly well when the phase ends and your income increases. Take this period as a challenge and ensure that you work out a way to save money despite all odds. Good Luck! 

About the author

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Nikitha is a Senior Analyst at MyMoneySouq.com. She has been writing about personal finance, credit cards, mortgage, and other personal finance products in the UAE. Her work on Mortgage loans has been featured by the GulfNews and other popular Financial Blogs in the UAE.

Nikitha is a Senior Analyst at MyMoneySouq.com. She has been writing about personal finance, credit cards, mortgage, and other personal finance products in the UAE. Her work on Mortgage loans has been featured by the GulfNews and other popular Financial Blogs in the UAE.


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