How to Save Money Fast: 25 Simple and Effective Tips
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It’s easy to fall into the trap of spending too much and saving too little.
We lead busy and sometimes stressful lives. We choose to pay extra for convenience because we think it’ll make our lives easier. We sometimes relieve stress by window shopping and buying things we don’t need to get that fleeting moment of happiness.
But those small purchases quickly add up when they become habits, and before we know it, we’re living paycheck to paycheck and saving less than we know we should. If you want to improve your financial health, try out the following 25 simple and effective ways to start saving today.
1. Track Your Spending Habits
Ask yourself the following questions:
- How much money do you earn each month?
- How much are you spending?
- How much would you like to save?
- How can you achieve your savings goal?
The first step to saving money is to track and review your spending on a regular basis. To examine your spending habits, review all your purchases from the previous month. Categorize each purchase as essential or non-essential.
Repeat this every month and you’ll quickly learn where your money is going.
2. Price Shop on Essential (and Large) Purchases
Every month you see recurring purchases on your bank statement; some of them are necessary but can add up to a big number. Insurance is one example. Americans spend $1,500-$2,000 per year on average on car insurance.
How confident are you that you’re getting the lowest rate on your insurance?
Now that you can compare insurance rates online, the days of calling individual insurance companies to discuss your needs are long gone.
For example, in as little as two minutes, a smart app like Jerry can help you find out if you’re overpaying for auto insurance and find the best pricing for your current insurance coverage.
3. Lower Your Spending on Non-Essential Subscription and Membership Services
A recent study found that Americans greatly underestimate how much they spend on memberships and subscription services.
These include streaming services like Netflix and Spotify. They also include subscription boxes, wellness apps, video games on-demand, cloud apps and storage, digital newspapers and magazines, meal kits, Amazon subscriptions, satellite radio, and more.
Multiple subscriptions can drain hundreds of dollars from your bank account every month.
List out all the subscriptions you’re currently paying for, then think about how often you use each of them. Consider ending the subscriptions on some of them.
4. Bundle Cable, Phone, and Internet Services
If you have a mobile phone and Internet service, or if you haven’t cut the cable or landline cords yet, bundling your services through one provider can help you save money each month.
Find out whether your providers offer bundled packages for two or more of these services, and whether you’d save money by taking advantage of their offer.
5. Stop Eating Out and Avoid Pricey Coffee Drinks
According to a study, Americans eat at restaurants 4.9 times per week at an average cost of $36.40 per person.
You could be spending hundreds of dollars at restaurants and coffee shops every month without even realizing it.
Learn to cook your favorite takeout meals and drinks yourself. Budget to eat at restaurants on birthdays or other special occasions, but cook and eat at home the majority of the time to save money.
6. Curb Your Grocery Spending
Groceries are a significant part of everyone’s budget. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to save money on food every month.
Budget-friendly grocery stores like Aldi and Trader Joe’s offer high-quality foods at lower prices. Browse their specials online and plan your meals around the items on sale to save even more.
There are apps like Ibotta that offer cash back if you buy the products featured on their platform. Sometimes those offers can be stacked with coupons and store sales for bigger savings.
7. Plan Your Weekly Menu Before Grocery Shopping
Before you go grocery shopping, plan what you’ll eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks every day of the week. Browsing your grocery store’s weekly sales as you plan your meals can help you maximize grocery savings.
Prepare and batch cook your lunches for the week, separate them into individual portions, and take them to work so you don’t have to eat out.
Take snacks to work instead of relying on vending machines and cafes.
8. Use Online Grocery Shopping Services to Avoid Impulse Buying
Many major grocery stores offer online grocery shopping, with the option to either pick up items at the store or have them delivered. People are finding this to be a great way to save both time and money.
You’ll save money by shopping online because you will be less likely to make impulsive purchases for items that aren’t on your list.
9. Drink Water and Use a Reusable Water Bottle
We all know drinking water is healthier than drinking sugary beverages like soda. But purchasing water in disposable plastic bottles can be expensive.
Do you know that the average American spends $266 a year on bottled water?
Start drinking from a reusable water bottle to save a few hundred dollars a year, plus it is better for your health.
10. Consolidate Your Debt
Streamlining bills into a single monthly payment can make your life easier and result in a higher credit score.
According to the study, more than 60% of consumers who consolidated their credit card debt saw their balances decline by 60% or more, and their credit scores improve by more than 20 points.
11. Reconsider Your Costco Membership
Warehouse memberships for retailers like Sam’s Club and Costco offer great savings on many products, from electronics to pantry staples. But if you’re prone to impulse buying, shopping at a warehouse store can bust your budget.
Reconsider whether you really need your membership when it’s up for renewal. If you don’t renew, you’ll save money on the annual fee, too.
12. Put Bills on Autopay to Avoid Late Fees
If you’re paying late fees because you forget to pay your bills on time, you’re lighting money on fire.
You can automate payments for a variety of monthly bills, either through your bank or through the merchant’s website. Consider setting up autopay for your auto loans, student loans, mortgage, credit cards, and utilities to avoid paying late fees every month.
13. Increase Your Insurance Deductibles to Lower Monthly Bills
There are several ways to save on insurance. One way is to increase your deductibles.
This AI-based smart app helps you compare prices from many insurance companies so you can find the best savings (you can customize coverages and deductibles).
14. Get a Roommate or Rent a Room on Airbnb
If you live alone and have a spare bedroom that isn’t in use, consider renting it out or posting it on Airbnb to bring in additional income.
15. Pay Off High-Interest Debt First
If you don’t pay your credit card balances off each month, chances are you’re paying hefty interest rates.
Paying off the debts with the highest interest rates as quickly as possible will help bring you closer to your savings goal.
16. Save on Energy at Home
There are many ways to save money on your utility bills by using energy wisely at home:
- Save on energy by switching to LED lightbulbs throughout your house. They use 75% less energy and last 25 times longer.
- Shut vents in rooms that aren't in use.
- Use ceiling fans, portable fans, and open windows on mild, warm days.
- Turn down the temperature on your water heater.
To save on water costs, take shorter showers and run your dishwasher only when it's full. If you water a garden or lawn, consider a rain barrel for collecting rainwater.
For more ideas, use an online energy use calculator.
17. DIY Your Projects or Get Multiple Quotes
If you have any major car or home repairs or improvements coming up, consider DIY if you have the time and ability.
If you need to hire a professional, getting two or three quotes from different businesses can help you find the best price. Make sure to check the reviews to ensure quality of service.
18. Declutter Your Home and Get Rid of Your Storage Unit
Decluttering your home will make you feel good and make your home a more pleasant environment.
Not everything you choose to let go of will be worth selling. Some items will need to go in the garbage or to a donation center. But higher-value items, such as high-end shoes and clothes, electronics and photo equipment, and tools can be sold to help bring in additional income.
If you have a storage unit, chances are that you don’t need the items you’re keeping there. Give away or sell the items in storage and cancel your storage contract to free up more cash.
To sell unused items, go to Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace.
19. Save Automatically with Auto-Deposit
You can set up an automatic savings plan with your bank. A specified portion of your paycheck will be deposited into your savings account. It will build up over time without you having to think about it.
20. Invest for the Future
If you haven’t already done so, set up a 401(k). If you don’t make any early withdrawals, you don’t need to pay income tax on the money you put in. If your employer matches contributions, take advantage of that and put in the maximum amount allowed.
Some apps like Acorns will round up purchases to the nearest dollar and automatically put the differences in an investment account for you.
21. Cancel Your Gym Membership
Approximately 6.3% of Americans have a gym membership that they don't use.
Even if you do make it to the gym, you can get many of the same health benefits without paying for it. Walking, running, and biking outdoors are healthy and inexpensive choices. You can do bodyweight exercises with no equipment, or you can find used kettlebell and free weight sets on Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace.
22. Buy Almost New or Lightly Used Appliances at a Discounted Price
If you need to replace a major household appliance, consider buying used. You can also find new appliances at discounted prices if they’re floor models or have minor cosmetic flaws (for example, a scratch or dent).
23. Adopt a Buy-It-for-Life Mindset
When you’re shopping for something, consider quality over quantity. Paying more for an expertly crafted item that will last for decades is less expensive in the long run than buying something cheap and having to replace it more frequently.
Even items that can be purchased used at thrift stores, antique stores, and vintage stores can last a long time. High-quality upholstered furniture can last for many years and be reupholstered as needed throughout its life. You can refinish or repaint wood furniture as needed.
Good cast-iron cookware and high-end kitchen knives can last a lifetime, and they often become sentimental items that get passed down for generations.
24. Use Public Transportation or Carpool
If you live in a city with a public transportation system, you can save money by taking public transit instead of driving yourself. Additionally, carpooling to and from work, school, or social gatherings can save fuel and money.
25. Adopt a Savings Mindset
Finally, to save more money, adopt the right mindset.
When we get used to spending more money on conveniences and things we don’t need, we often view cutting back on spending as a sacrifice. But looking at it more positively can shift your perspective and help you save for life.
Don’t view cutting back as a sacrifice. Think of it in terms of what you will gain by changing your habits. You have choices at the moment, and the decision to spend less and save more now means you will have choices in the future as well.