Saving money can be overwhelming. In fact, numerous reports indicate at least half of Americans have less than $1,000 in savings. For many people, the question of how to save money fast may seem impossible to answer.
Thankfully, there are ways to reduce your expenses that require minimal effort. If you’re looking for tips to save money this year, we’ve compiled ways to spend less money each month so you can grow your savings.
Ways to Save Money Fast
Since we all face different financial hurdles, money saving tips are not one size fits all. It often takes trial and error to identify what works for you.
Here are the best ways to save money fast.
1. Start a Budget
Before you can save money quickly, you need to get a handle on your budget. This helps you discover where your money is going and what you might be able to cut.
You can budget manually, but automation works best for a lot of people. There are numerous budget software programs that can help. Tiller is our top choice.
Tiller connects to your bank account and puts all of your information in a Google Sheet for you to review. The service is free for the first 30 days, then it costs $6.58 per month.
|Tiller - manage your finances easily|
Enjoy a 30-day free trial when you sign up with Tiller. Automatically get your daily transactions synched into a Google Sheet.
2. Automate Your Saving
We often forget to put money in our savings account. Again, automation is the best way to solve this problem.
To automate your savings, you may want to try an online bank like CIT Bank. This way you can build savings quickly without thinking about it.
|CIT Bank - start your emergency fund|
$100 minimum deposit requirement
Open a high yield savings account or money market with $100!
3. Cut the Cord on Cable
Finding cheap ways to live can help increase your savings. It may sound cliche, but the best way to save more money is to cut the cord. The average cable bill is now over $200 per month.
Many streaming services let you get the same content for $50 or $60 per month. This instantly saves you $140 or $150 per month. Here’s our chart of the best available options.
|Service||Cost||Streams||Locals||DVR||On Demand||Free Trial|
4. Slash Bills
Spending money on services you don’t use or overpaying on your bills results in lost savings. You should look for these situations as you go through your budget. When you find them, try to cancel or negotiate for a lower price.
Billshark is a service that can help you if you don’t enjoy negotiating. They do all the work for you.
If Billshark secures savings for you, they keep 40 percent of it. The service is free if they don’t win you savings.
5. Use the 30-Day Rule
Instant gratification kills financial momentum. The best way to avoid it is to use the 30-day rule.
Simply wait 30 days when making an unnecessary purchase. If you find you don’t need or want the item after 30 days, you save money.
6. Start a Side Hustle
You can only reduce spending by so much. Sometimes the best way to save money every month is to start a side hustle. Save everything you earn and you’ll be surprised at how fast it will grow.
There are countless side hustles you can start. Some require minimal skills.
The on-demand delivery space is one of the top choices. You can usually earn $20 per hour and work on your own schedule.
Here is a comparison of the best platforms to drive for when you want to earn extra cash.
|App||Avg. Hourly Pay||Pay Frequency||Bike/Motorcycle?|
|DoorDash||$23||Weekly + instant||Yes|
|Instacart||$20||Weekly + instant||No|
|GrubHub||$12||Weekly + instant||No|
|Caviar||$25||Weekly + instant||Yes|
|Postmates||$20||Weekly + instant||Yes|
|Uber Eats||$15||Weekly + instant||Yes|
7. Shop With a List
One of the simplest ways to save money is to use a list when you’re shopping. It’s easier to succumb to impulse buys and overspend when you don’t have a list.
This is particularly important when grocery shopping. Your list should complement your meal plan to avoid waste.
If you need help with creating a meal plan, $5 Meal Plan is a terrific resource. It even helps you create a shopping list.
8. Use Valid Coupon Codes
Do you shop online frequently? Coupon codes are a simple way to save money on purchases. However, it’s not always easy to find a valid discount code.
*Capital One Shopping compensates us when you sign up for Capital One Shopping using the links provided.
Capital One Shopping is a free browser extension that identifies and applies active coupon codes on your purchases. If you use its shopping portal, you even earn loyalty credits you can redeem for gift cards to various retailers.
9. Don’t Spend a Lot to Entertain Your Children
It’s easy to think you have to spend money to keep your children entertained. Instead of spending, find creative ways to have fun.
Visiting the park, playing a board game, and going for a family bike ride are all ways to have fun without spending money.
10. Switch to a Cheaper Phone Plan
Most Americans spend over $100 monthly on their cell phone bill. If you’re on Wi-Fi most of the time, there’s no need to spend that much.
Ting Wireless is a good solution to lower those costs. Unlimited talk and text plans are available for just $10 per month. Data is $5 per 1GB.
The average bill with Ting Wireless is just $23 per month. Frugal Rules readers receive a $50 credit.
|Ting Wireless - click now for a $50 credit!|
Cost: $10/mo - unlimited talk/text + $5/GB
Coverage on T-Mobile and Verizon networks.
11. Use YouTube
If you’re looking for cheap ways to improve or repair your home, YouTube is a great tool. Our family uses it all the time to repair things around our house.
YouTube easily saves us hundreds of dollars a year on repairmen.
12. Lower Your Debt Payments
High-interest debt kills any attempt to save money fast. It also suffocates your ability to build financial stability. The best way to beat debt is to lower your interest.
Call your bank to see if they will lower your rates. If that doesn’t work, SoFi is a good resource to consolidate debt and lower rates. This lets you pay less in interest and pay off debt faster.
|Sofi - Fixed Personal Loans with Autopay|
Cost: 5.99% to 18.83% APR
Zero fees. Secure a low rate on loans and kill debt.
13. Batch Cook
If you’re like my family, you’re often busy. Batch cooking can help you avoid buying meals out when there’s not enough time to make dinner.
When you make a casserole, for example, make three or four batches of it. Then, you can pull it out of the freezer and save money when you’re in a pinch.
14. Set a Savings Goal
Nothing helps you save money fast more than a savings goal. For example, you could set a goal to save $10,000 this year.
You want to set a specific, reachable goal. Remember, all of our situations are different. Create a goal that fits your lifestyle and form a plan of attack to reach it.
15. Avoid Fast Food
Over 80 percent of American families eat fast food at least once a week, according to The Barbecue Lab. Depending on the size of your family, this can easily result in $50 weekly.
You don’t have to go cold turkey, but slim it down to once or twice a month. This provides instant savings.
16. Refinance Your Mortgage
Mortgage rates are at historic lows. A reduction of .75 percent may result in thousands of dollars in savings. You can even keep the same monthly payment to pay off your mortgage quicker.
17. Use Coupons at The Store
Couponing is a classic way to spend less money. Sometimes you don’t even need to clip coupons to reduce costs. Apps like Ibotta let you find available deals to purchase when you’re at the store.
You can even take a picture of your receipt after you finish shopping to find additional rebates. The app lets you cash out once you reach a $20 balance.
18. Compare Auto Insurance Rates
When was the last time you analyzed your car insurance needs? Reports indicate 40 percent of drivers have not compared other policy options within the past three years.
If that’s you, you could be leaving significant savings on the table. Gabi is a helpful tool that lets you compare up to 40 insurers at once to find the most affordable rate.
19. Lower Your Utility Bills
It’s easy to overspend on utilities. Fortunately, it’s also easy to save.
Call your provider to see if they offer level-pay plans. Those often result in savings. Better yet, you’ll have a set payment each month.
Pair that with a programmable thermostat to amplify savings.
20. Switch to Term Life Insurance
Salespeople love to sell life insurance as an investment. It’s not. Instead, it drives up the cost.
Term life insurance provides the same coverage at a significantly lower price. You may be able to save hundreds per year.
PolicyGenius lets you compare rates from up to 25 highly-rated carriers. This lets you save money while providing peace of mind to your family.
21. Lower Your Student Loan Payments
Similar to high-interest debt, student loans can stifle financial progress. If you have multiple loans or a high rate, consolidating or refinancing could save you thousands in interest.
Credible is a company that lets you simultaneously compare ten lenders to find the best rate. Check your rate and see how much you can save. Just make sure you won’t give up any protections by consolidating.
22. Calculate By Hours
When you’re considering buying something, determine how many hours you’d have to work to earn the cash to cover your purchase. If it’s too long, don’t buy the item.
This is also an awesome way to determine the real value of your money.
23. Buy Generic
Generic versions of products you normally use can be a good source of savings. In fact, the store brand is often produced at the same facility as a name brand. Why pay more for marketing?
You may find that you prefer some name brands, but you lower your expenses every time you switch to generic.
24. Drink Less Bottled Water
I love bottled water. Unfortunately, it’s significantly more expensive than tap water. Opting to buy an affordable water pitcher gives you the same thing for much less.
25. Replace Your Incandescent Light Bulbs
LED light bulbs provide thousands of dollars in savings over their life versus incandescent bulbs. If you haven’t replaced your incandescent bulbs, the one-time cost for LED light bulbs is well worth it for long-term savings.
26. Switch Grocery Stores
It’s easy to be a fan of a grocery store, but not all stores charge the same amount for items. Perform some price comparisons at local grocery stores. It’s possible to save hundreds, if not more, by switching to a cheaper grocery store.
27. Sell Items You No Longer Use
Go through your closets and find items you no longer use or wear. Then, instead of giving them away, sell them. Have a yard sale or sell to a local consignment shop to earn some extra money.
If you find used electronics, you can sell them on BuyBackWorld. The site buys everything from phones to game consoles. You could potentially net hundreds of dollars.
28. Make Your Own Gifts
I love to give gifts, but they can be expensive. Consider making your own gifts if you want to save money. These can include a baked good, a cross-stitch, food mix, and more.
Remember, it’s the thought that counts. Many people love the personal touch more than a store-bought item.
29. Sign Up for Customer Loyalty Programs
Shopping is something we all must do. Why not take advantage of loyalty programs? You can usually earn rebates or discounts from your shopping.
If you love to use credit cards for rewards, pair this with rewards cards to multiply your savings and rewards.
30. Plan Meals Around What’s On Sale
Something I do to save money at the grocery store is planning my shopping around sales flyers. If you can be flexible with your meal planning and don’t mind buying in bulk, this can be an excellent way to increase savings.
31. Ask ‘Why’ When Buying
A helpful way to spend less money is to ask yourself why you’re buying the item. Is it for a genuine need, or is it an impulse purchase?
This simple question only takes a few seconds. If you can’t determine the why, put the item back and save the money.
32. Cancel Magazine Subscriptions
How many magazines do you have sitting around unread? If it’s a lot, you’re wasting money.
Consider calling to cancel the subscription. You could even ask for a refund.
If you don’t know how many subscriptions you have, a service like Trim can do a free inventory and cancel the ones you don’t use. You then get to pocket the savings.
33. Do An Inventory of Your Clothing
While you declutter your closet, take an inventory of your items. Studies show we wear a limited amount of the clothing we own. As you find clothing you don’t wear, identify pieces you can use and those you want to sell.
The former helps you avoid buying additional clothing while the latter can bring in additional cash.
34. Cut Your Own Hair
Cutting your own hair is another cliche frugal living tip, but it works. The average hair cut costs over $30. With a few YouTube videos, you can learn to do it yourself.
Buy yourself a pair of Wahl clippers. They’ll pay for themselves after two cuts.
35. Swap Babysitting With Friends
Depending on how many children you have, babysitting can cost $15 or more per hour. If you have friends with children, swap babysitting nights to save money.
This helps both you and your friends save loads of cash.
36. Turn Your Thermostat Back
I love to keep our house cold in the summer and warm in the winter. However, altering the temperature by a few degrees can save significant money.
Energy.gov reports you can save as much as ten percent a year if you turn your thermostat back seven to ten degrees for eight hours a day. If you work outside of the home, this is a simple way to save hundreds of dollars annually.
37. Research Gas Costs
If you have a long commute to work, you know how much gas can eat into your budget. Instead of filling up at the closest spot to your house, use a gas app to find cheaper gas.
It’s not worth it to drive all over to save $.01 or $.02 per gallon. However, if you find a significantly cheaper gas station, it could net hundreds in savings each year.
38. Make Your Own When Possible
Buying items at the store offers convenience. Take a fruit tray as an example. You can purchase a fruit tray at the store, but it costs way more than what you would pay to make it yourself. Instead, buy fruit and prepare it yourself.
Making bread, salsa, and more offer the same opportunity. As a bonus, it’s often healthier.
39. Buy Used
While you do want to buy some things new, not everything needs to be new to get a meaningful life out of it. Clothing, exercise equipment, and books are all examples of items you can buy used for significantly less.
Take on that mentality for many things and you can save more money this year.
40. Do Holiday Shopping After the Holidays
Many retailers put holiday items on sale for 50 percent off the day after a major holiday. Sometimes, the discount can be even higher.
If you don’t mind holding onto something for a year, this can be an excellent way to save significant money.
41. Brown Bag Your Lunch
Brown bagging your lunch is an easy way to save more money. A typical fast-food lunch can cost $10. Instead, bring your own lunch to work several times a week and instantly save big.
42. Use Your 401(k) Match
To save money fast, take advantage of free cash. If your employer offers a 401(k) match, use it. Not only is it free money, but it also reduces your taxable income.
If you have an old 401(k) or need help managing your current one, Blooom offers a free analysis to ensure you’re not overspending on fees or missing out on better-performing investments.
43. Cancel Your Gym Membership
If 2o20 has taught us anything, it’s that you can do many of the same exercises you do at the gym at home. If you don’t require a lot of high-end equipment, cancel your gym membership.
There are hundreds of free fitness apps that offer plenty of exercise ideas without spending loads of money.
44. Clothing Swaps
If you’re a parent, you know how quickly children outgrow clothes. Instead of buying new clothes, partner with local friends to swap clothes. You both will benefit and save money in the process.
Most clothing will get minimal wear and tear, so items will be like new for your little one.
45. Share With Friends
Think of this as expanding on clothing swaps, but with entertainment. If you have a lot of books, DVDs, or CDs, share them with friends. You both get to benefit without having to buy something new.
If you have a streaming service that allows for joint streaming, don’t overlook splitting costs.
46. Avoid Sales
It’s easy to think that you’re saving money if an item is on sale. That’s only the case if you were planning on buying the item. If you weren’t, skip it and keep the money in your pocket.
47. Set No-Spend Days
Many frugal people love to designate no-spend days. Challenge yourself and your family to go one day a week without spending anything. Even if it’s a $5 cup of coffee, you don’t buy it on the no-spend day.
This helps you keep more money in your wallet.
Mindless spending can wreck any budget. Buying items isn’t wrong, but purchases should be purposeful.
Pairing that mindset with actively managing your finances can help you find many realistic ways to save money quickly.
You don’t need to start with all of the above options. Select a few and attack them. You’ll be surprised at how much money you can save during the year.
What are some other creative ways to save money? How much do you want to grow your bank account by this year?