How We Saved More Than $40,000 in 2 years on a Modest Income

By | April 29, 2018

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Are you saving hard and yet it’s not as much as you would have liked?

Are you looking for even more creative ways to cut your spending, so as to have more money in your pocket?

Saving has also been a challenge for my family too.

Our background

We are a family of 3, with my spouse as the main income earner. I work in a part-time job. Our total gross income is modest and we have a dependent child who has a huge appetite for special food 🙂

We live in one of the most expensive countries in the world.

After discovering that eating out in Tokyo or Singapore is cheaper than in our town, we knew we have to come up with even more creative ways to save. By the way, Singapore has the title of being the most expensive city in the world, 5th year running, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Worldwide Cost of Living 2018 survey.

We do not get any cashback incentives as there’s no provision for this where we live, except for a measly 1% cashback at the end of each year offered by our credit card company.

Our property tax is $2,900 a year and it unfailingly increases by 3 percent every year 🙁

Update: As of now, the local council has arbitrarily decided to increase it by 5 % a year.

On top of these, there’s a GST tax of 15% on EVERYTHING, including essentials like food and housing 🙁

Everything purchased online will also taxed at 15% from October 2019.

Food costs, especially healthy foods like sweet potatoes ($6.48 per kg) and milk (2 litres at $2.50 for a generic brand) are very high. But unhealthy foods like sweets, chocolate and unhealthy snacks are cheap.

Growing a vegetable garden and rearing animals for our own consumption is not feasible for my family. I have recently started growing some herbs, but they don’t contribute much to our savings, if at all.

We are already shopping at our town’s cheapest supermarket. Alas, we don’t have Walmart or Aldi, or any programs where shoppers can get cashback from their shopping at all.

The cost of essentials is so high that the dwindling numbers of backpackers have taken to funding their travels here on work visas to subsidize their expenses.

We have always adopted a frugal lifestyle, and we managed to save $18,215 between April 2016 and April 2017. But it was not a conscious strategy. We saved because we have learned to be frugal in our daily lives.

Then in May 2017, my house insurance bill ‘woke me up’ and I realized that being a loyal client never pays. The company had been steadily increasing our annual payments, and we had been dutifully paying our ever-increasing bills over the years ☹

Related posts:

How I saved $554 in under an hour

5 Easy Steps to Saving Hundreds on Insurance

From that point on, my spouse and I became Very determined to avoid getting fleeced.

We started hunting for the best deals to save our hard-earned money.

At the same time, we decided to consciously save an amount we are comfortable with every month.

We automate only $14 to each of our savings account, and $28 to our son’s account.

The only reason was that the bank would only dish out premium interest for those special savings accounts, if there is a minimum of $14 of credit per month. This is the bite-sized savings we had to put aside.

As our family is rather private, I’m not entirely comfortable in revealing our financial details. However, I do know that without these figures, it’s harder for you to understand how our saving strategies have successfully enabled us to save well, despite not having a high income. So I’ve decided to step outside my comfort zone. 🙂

Between April 2016 and April 2017, our savings were at $18,215. Since taking certain effective measures, our savings from April 2017 to April 2018 were $22,928. During that time, I did some casual work which added $788 to our savings at first. Apart from that, there was no additional side hustle at all.

We had a most unexpected but necessary bill of $755 late last year. So whatever I earned from my casual work went into paying that bill. Ouch! My net worth increased by only $33 in this instance.

However, the good news is we saved $41,143 in two years.

wallet with cash

Some people may advocate this: “Hey, why don’t you look for a new job, or ask for a raise?”

But everyone’s situation is different. It’s possible but not guaranteed. From my past experience, for every job offered, there were a hundred or more applicants.

We’re fortunate to have jobs, and we’re not even thinking about bonuses. We aren’t highly-paid doctors, engineers or accountants.

Despite all these disadvantages, we have managed to slash our spending and increase our savings.

You can read about some of our recent strategies that have made our ‘wins’ possible. We have detailed our ‘adventures’ in these posts. If these strategies have helped us ordinary folks, they’ll definitely help you to save lots of money.

There’s everything for you to gain and really nothing to lose by acting on these ideas.

Related posts:

12 Surprising Thrifty Tips that frugal People Love (Part 1)

12 Surprising Thrifty Tips that frugal People Love (Part 2)

20 Frugal Living Tips to Saving even More Money

How to be an Extreme Frugal and Save Money Every Single Day

6 Top Secrets to Convert your Clutter into Cool Cash

11 Easy Ways to Reduce your Car Expenses

400 Frugal Ways to Save Thousands

4 Easy Ways to Save on Antivirus Software, plus the best antivirus software you can get absolutely FREE.

If you’re still wondering what else you can do or rather stop doing to save heaps, this post has only 8 tips – yet it helped me to save $2000+ a year!

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This journey to track our savings and make it grow has been encouraging for us.

Despite not being high-income earners, and living mainly on one person’s income in a relatively costly place, we still managed to save an extra $4,680.30 a year, by using our creative frugal tips to enhance our savings.

April 2016 to April 2017: $18,215

April 2017 to April 2018 savings: $22,928

Total savings: $41,143 (2 years)

Saving well on a modest income doesn’t mean going after the cheapest deals or brands on auto pilot.

(This post contains affiliate links. I may receive a small compensation if you purchase through these links. You do not pay extra. Please read my disclosure policy. I only recommend products that I trust and have received positive reviews).

We include organic food as well as free range chicken and eggs in our diet whenever we can.

As for my skincare products, which are very dear to my heart, I only trust and use Antipodes now. ( I spent hours checking and scrutinizing their ingredients.) It’s an organic range that has been scientifically proven to work. I’ve used many different brands for many years, both economical and expensive ones, but I’ve eventually settled on Antipodes as the one. It has won multiple awards since 2011.

It all goes to show that when we take conscious actions to live frugally, our savings can only go in one direction – UP.

If you know that you should be saving, why not make a start? You can also make good savings by taking steps to live frugally.

When you see your savings grow, you’ll be motivated to save even more.

I wish I could tell you there was just one magic answer to massively increase your savings. But if you were to adopt some of the strategies in my blog posts above, and apply the ideas to your daily lives, you will see a positive difference.

All the best in your savings journey!

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this post. If you like it, please share.

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13 thoughts on “How We Saved More Than $40,000 in 2 years on a Modest Income

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    1. moremoneytips Post author

      Thanks. Glad you like the format and content Luann Babey. Been blogging about 8 months 🙂

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      Thanks Man Radar! I’m using SiteGround, which loads websites fast.

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    1. moremoneytips Post author

      I appreciate your kind feedback Steve 🙂 I’ll test the browser compatibility.

  4. Shaheen

    Hi Jo,
    Thanks for your insightful post. I absolutely love the way you save money by cutting costs to free up money and put that towards saving.

    I recently wrote an article for a blog in your niche about “How a family of five can live on 60,000 a year?”. I am a freelance writer and blogger. I am new to your site, but will be coming back from time to time to read your great posts.


    1. moremoneytips Post author

      Hi Shaheen,
      Thanks for your kind comments. I’m glad you like my posts. 🙂

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      Thanks Reyna. It is a free WordPress theme called Iconic One. Over time I learnt more and modified my website’s look.


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