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How to Save Money When You Get Paid Hourly

By Melanie Lockert
September 28, 2022

If you’re an hourly worker, you probably know the pros and cons of getting paid by the hour. When things are good and busy, you can often take advantage of overtime and boost your paycheck. But when things are slow? Suddenly, you may be wishing you could pick up more hours in order to cover your bills and have some spending money.

With the uncertainty of being paid hourly, saving money is tough. But, never fear, you can still save money. Take a look at our primer on how to save when you get paid hourly.

Set up direct deposit

A big part of saving money boils down to managing your cash flow. For this reason, signing up for direct deposit is a smart move. Why? Your paycheck will hit your account quickly and you won’t have to worry about depositing checks or worse yet, losing checks. You’ll also save yourself the hassle of going to the bank to cash checks or depositing checks via your phone.

Instead, your money goes straight to your account so you can manage it from there and have it all in one place. Pro tip: sign up for free online checking account no opening deposit and take advantage of early direct deposit. With no holds or hassles, you’ll get your money even faster!


So, what’s the big secret when it comes to saving money? Why can some people save easily while others struggle? Like most things in life, it all comes down to your habits. Saving money needs to become a habit that you commit to.

But here’s the problem: you’re busy, you love to make excuses, and you don’t want to deal with commiting to another habit. To combat all of this, we recommend automating your savings.

You can do this by opening a separate savings account. Then, either through your employer’s direct deposit program or through your bank, you can allot a certain amount of your paycheck to go directly into your savings account each time you get paid. Streamlining this process can ensure you build up your savings muscles and pad your rainy day fund.

Commit to saving an hour

Since your schedule may fluctuate and your paycheck can differ from month to month, commit to saving an hour of your salary each day. Take this amount and earmark it toward your financial future.

Let’s say you make $15 per hour and you work five days a week for a total of 20 days per month. Saving $15 for 20 days equals $300. This can help you build up your savings account immediately. At this rate, you’d save $3,600 per year.

Consider changing your tax withholding

Do you generally get tax refunds every year? While it may feel good to get a refund, it means you’re overpaying Uncle Sam throughout the year. Imagine if you had that money to save each month? You could be stashing it away into a savings account and earning interest on your hard-earned dough. We recommend reaching out to a tax professional to help you figure out the best way to bank your money to boost your savings.

Have a system

Committing to saving an hour of your income each day is a good start. But if you can save more, do so! Ideally, professionals recommend saving 10 to 20 percent of your income. If you can’t do that, just save what you can. Something is better than nothing! It’s all about building a good habit.

As an hourly worker, you may have times where you get paid overtime or you may even get cash tips. To help boost your savings, try putting all of your overtime earnings and tips into your savings account. You can also consider using your hourly wages to pay your bills and putting your cash tips into savings.

The key is to create a system. This way, you can allocate your earnings toward both paying your bills and saving for your future.

Know what you’re saving for

Most people know they should save. But it’s certainly not fun or sexy. This is why it’s so important to know what you’re saving for. Come up with a list of your goals, including fun stuff and more serious goals.

For example, perhaps you already know that you want to save up for a trip to Costa Rica. You may also want to buy a house in the future. Let’s add retirement to the list as you know that someday you’ll retire and you want to have enough money to live out your golden years. The point here: be crystal clear on your savings goals. This will give you the much-needed motivation to get started and be consistent.

Bottom line

Working an hourly job has its share of perks and challenges. But don’t let this deter you from saving money. While you may be uncertain about exactly how much you’ll earn, it’s still important to flex that savings muscle and sock away money for your financial future. Are you ready to get started?

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