14 Ways To Grow Your Wealth on Minimum Wage

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Even on minimum wage, it’s possible to get ahead and improve your financial situation.
Updated April 11, 2024
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The federal minimum wage hasn’t increased since 2009. While your wallet may be feeling the squeeze, you can start to build wealth one dollar at a time with savvy spending.

Here are 14 tips to help you turn that minimum wage job into a path toward financial freedom.

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Live below your means

New Africa/Adobe waiting for public transport

It’s challenging to get ahead if you spend every penny you earn (or more than that). Saving a little money from each paycheck can help you stay ahead financially.

Follow a budget

baranq/Adobe man paying bills on his laptop

Knowing where your money is going is the key to spending it wisely. Written or digital budgets are a great place to figure out where each dollar is going.

Build an emergency fund

LIGHTFIELD STUDIOS/Adobe teenager taking dollar

About two-thirds of Americans can’t cover a $500 emergency. Car repairs, illness, and injury are all just parts of life. 

When you can’t pay cash for an unexpected expense, you use credit or loans, which charge interest and may hinder your financial goals even more. An emergency fund will help you weather life’s storms.

Resolve $10,000 or more of your debt

Credit card debt is suffocating. It constantly weighs on your mind and controls every choice you make. You can end up emotionally and even physically drained from it. And even though you make regular payments, it feels like you can never make any progress because of the interest.

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Pay off high-interest debt

Nicholas Felix/peopleimages.com/Adobe worried black man paying bills

If you have high-interest debt, the interest is most likely eating a big chunk of your monthly payment. You can crush high-interest debt faster by paying more than the minimum monthly payment.

If you have multiple debts, you can use different pay-off methods. The snowball method, which focuses on paying the debt with the smallest balance first, is popular. Then, when it’s paid off, you roll that payment into the next debt.

Use employer benefits

ChayTee/Adobe gen z queer man

Many employers offer benefits beyond just health and dental insurance. Some will pay for gym memberships, college tuition, and more. Maximize every benefit available to you through your job.

Increase your income

fizkes/Adobe freelancer stands at kitchen desk

Your income is one of your biggest wealth-building assets. Making more money is a surefire way to begin building wealth. 

Whether it’s asking your boss for a raise, finding a similar job with better pay, or looking for a different job, any of these is a good place to start.

Uplevel your skills

Prostock-studio/Adobe freelancer sitting at desk

Increasing your marketable skills is a great way to leapfrog into a better-paying job or start a business. Google, Harvard, Coursera, and many other companies offer free online courses to increase your marketable skills. 

Some of these classes even offer completion certificates to share with employers as proof of your acquired knowledge.

Participate in community programs

Katsiaryna/Adobe businessman handshakes partner

Your community may have resources to help you grow your wealth. You may find free classes, career advice, food pantries, and more. 

Libraries and community centers are often the hub for these types of opportunities. Take advantage of these local resources to make and save more money.

Invest

dikushin/Adobe broker advisor in eyeglasses

Investing for the long run helps the magic of compound interest grow your money. Some people think that if they don’t have large sums of money, investing is useless, but that’s just not true. Even if you can only put $20 per paycheck away, your future self will thank you.

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Avoid lifestyle creep

Liubomir/Adobe indian using mobile phone

If you get a raise or a bonus, it’s easy to let that additional income get eaten up by careless spending. 

Eating out, mindless shopping trips, and nights out are quick ways to watch that extra money vanish. Resist the urge to uplevel your lifestyle and put that money to better use.

Trim the fat

Geber86/Adobe man going over his bills

You may be paying more than you need to for your cell phone, car insurance, bank account, and more. 

You may be able to save money by shopping around with different providers or taking advantage of introductory rates for new customers. Generally, you should shop around for car insurance once a year.

Use tax refunds wisely

pressmaster/Adobe giving each other high five

If you’re getting a big tax refund, you might be excited about a windfall of money. Rather than using this chunk of change for a vacation or another luxury splurge, exercise self-control and use your tax return to position yourself better financially.

Meal plan

Mustafa/Adobe preparing homemade meals

The average American family throws away $1,600 worth of produce per year. With meal planning, you can put that food in your belly instead of in your trash can. Use local store ads and sales to plan your weekly meals. Eating at home is better for your health and your wallet.

Start a side hustle

Nicholas Felix/peopleimages.com/Adobe businessman with a laptop

Side hustles are a great way to make extra money. It could be as simple as driving for Uber or DoorDash or as sophisticated as creating a niche YouTube channel. Regardless, increasing your income during your downtime can help you boost your financial security.

Bottom line

bernardbodo/Adobe working on a computer

Trying to grow your wealth on minimum wage might not be easy, but it's within reach. Remember, every penny saved and every dollar invested counts toward your financial future.

With some self-control, creativity, and perseverance — you can be on your way to building your net worth. 

So, take charge of your finances and make smart choices today, and you'll be setting yourself up for a brighter tomorrow.

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Author Details

Holly Humbert Holly is a writer who recognizes that there isn't a one-size-fits-all approach to personal finance. She is passionate about entrepreneurship, women in business, and financial literacy. With more than four years of experience, her work has been featured on MarketWatch and The Ways to Wealth.

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