Saving while Surviving

By Marla Bautista

Many people believe you need to have extra money to save money, this isn’t true.  There are plenty of ways you can save for the future while surviving in the present!  In this article, I will speak about different ways you can save money while making ends meet. I will also discuss ways to cut down on impulse spending. There are some apps that are great for helping you keep track of what you already have as you work toward new financial goals. 


What are your financial goals? Is it buying a home, going on vacation, or just having financial security in the future. Whatever the reason, today is a great day to begin that journey!

Saving on a budget

My family currently lives off one income, there are five of us in the home. We have numerous methods for saving money.  The reason for this is, in my family, we can sometimes impulsively spend money.  If our savings are in different places, we are less likely to spend them all.  We have a traditional savings account.  We also have a CD (Certificate of Deposit) account. My favorite are the money buckets in our home, although they do not earn interest, just physically seeing the money makes us feel like we are accomplishing a real goal. Our traditional savings has the lowest amount of money, (why, you ask?) because every time we are low on money, I have a habit of transferring funds into our checking account.  The CD account I cannot freely transfer in and out of, it also has a higher interest rate than a traditional savings.  Every payday I take $500 dollars in cash out of the ATM, this is the money we will use for all purchases outside of bills. As the next pay day approaches, we take whatever cash we have left from the previous weeks and put into a bucket (Usually an empty three-gallon water jug).

Money Saving Apps

There are many apps to choose from that help with saving money, tracking your bills, and spending.  Spending Tracker, Monefy, Mint: Budget, Bills, Finance, and EveryDollar: Budgeting; are all free apps that help with tracking money. 52 Weeks Challenge- Free, and Savings Track are free apps to help you keep track of what you are saving. Qapital: automate your savings and Aacorns are both automated savings accounts that help you invest your money in the stock market.

Money Saving Challenges

Money saving challenges can be tailored to your lifestyle.  There are some that require you to save daily, weekly, or monthly.  With living on a budget, it’s easier to save small amounts of money more frequently.  The 52-week challenge requires you to start on week one of the year and gradually increase your savings until week 52. I found this hard for my family to achieve because by week 52, saving over $300.00 that week was nearly impossible.  One money saving challenge we decided to do was the $5-dollar challenge.  We put five dollars into our bucket every week, or $10 per pay period this saves $260 a year. We also use another bucket to save all our loose change, the amount saved will vary (example: one year we saved $176 dollars another year only $88 dollars). Pinterest is a great place to find money saving challenges.

Cut down on Impulse Spending

I am an avid clearance shopper.  If I see something on sale I want to buy it.  What enables me to stop is simple; I take all my extra money out of my wallet, I also do not carry any credit cards in my wallet. This helps with my impulse shopping, if I do not have the money physically with me, I cannot purchase anything outside of what I need.  Another great tip that has helped is to have a separate checking account with a debit card.  Transfer only the amount you want to spend onto that card from your primary account. This helps regulate what you are spending your money on.

I hope these tips help you propel on your savings journey.  Whether you are just beginning or a seasoned saver, patience and diligence are your best friend! Good luck! 


Marla Bautista is an Army spouse and mother of three currently living in New York. Bautista has been writing creatively her entire life and recently released  her first book, My Thoughts Abandoned.  She has an associate's degree from The University of Maryland University College and is currently working on her bachelor's in communications. She loves to volunteer in her free time and advocate for those in need.  She is also an avid couponer and hopefully one day, a millionaire because of her frugal lifestyle!           

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