How To Save Money Fast: 20 Ways
Saving isn’t easy in the current economy. Whether you’re saving for a goal, building an emergency fund or trying to make ends meet, here are 20 tips on how to save money fast.
1. Make a Budget and Stick To It
Pay attention to where your money goes by creating and following a budget. Compare your income and bills and look for places to cut back.
Some monthly expenses, like rent or utilities, are non-negotiable. On the other hand, clothes and shopping are more flexible. Some things, like fancy lattes, can be cut entirely. All in an effort to free up money for savings. You might be surprised at just how much money you can free up once you see your expenses in black and white.
2. Automate Your Savings Habit
A savings app makes it simple to set aside money from each paycheck. Set a savings goal. Calculate what it takes to get there. Next, set up direct deposit through your employer or an app that sends money to a savings account.
3. Touch Your Money
Credit cards are a painless way to spend because you don’t see physical money floating away. If you switch cards for cash, you notice how much you’re spending and when. It makes you question your spending in a way cards can’t.
4. Use Cash To Limit Yourself
You can take the last point one step further by limiting the amount of cash you carry. For example, if your grocery budget for the week is $200, bring that amount in cash. You’ll have to stay under budget.
5. Don’t Spend Money for a Week
Take a week off from spending. Other than mandatory bills such as utilities and rent, spend nothing. Make coffee at home and use up the food in your freezer. Invite friends over instead of going out. You’ll save more than you thought you could.
6. Follow the 30-Day Rule
The 30-day rule is a savings strategy for eliminating impulse purchases. It challenges you and might give you pause before you buy something. In one scenario, you might delay buying any non-essential items for 30 days, giving you time to think about whether you need or want those items. If you still want the item after 30 days and have the money available, you can buy it.
7. Slash Your Subscriptions
Pay attention to what you’re spending on all those subscriptions. Before your next auto-renewal, look at subscriptions you think you can do without, in favor of ones that are cheaper or even free.
8. Rent Out Your Home
You don’t have to move out to make money from your house. Websites like Airbnb make it simple to cash in by renting out a spare room. According to the company, 2 million people stay in accommodations booked through Airbnb on any given night. Airbnb offers a tool that estimates how much you could earn by listing your unused space.
9. Give Time, Not Gifts
It sounds corny, but the most valuable thing you can give friends and family is your time. The next time someone celebrates a special occasion, plan a special event that’s either free or extremely low cost.
10. Find Cheaper Car Insurance
According to a 2022 consumer survey, 92% of consumers who shopped around for car insurance saved money. More than a quarter saved $200 or more annually. For additional potential savings, there are companies that offer insurance rate discounts, such as safe driver discounts or up-front payment breaks.
11. Refinance Your Auto Loan
If you got your car loan at a dealership, you’re probably paying more than you need to. Dealership loans charge more than the bank’s interest rate to compensate for processing your loan. Refinance to a lower rate with a bank, and you could save significantly every month.
12. Get a Roommate
Taking on a roommate lets you reduce your monthly housing costs by up to half — or more, if you have the space and can rent to more than one person. It’s a great way to save a fast $1,000 every month.
13. Go Generic
When you buy name brands, you’re paying in part for the name. That’s why generic or store brands generally tend to be cheaper, despite meeting the same requirements as their name-brand counterparts.
14. Negotiate Everything
Don’t be afraid to cut costs through bargaining. Many people might feel hesitant about negotiating, but doing so can help you waive fees, get better interest rates and save money.
15. Plan and Prep Your Meals
Planning and preparing meals ahead of time saves the money you would have spent at a restaurant, and it’s healthier, too. Use a worksheet like the one from ChooseMyPlate.gov to plan your meals, then shop for just what you need. You’ll save even more money if you add a plan to use your leftovers as well.
16. Use Your Credit Card Rewards
Switching from cards to cash can make you more aware of how you spend. This can also help reduce impulse buying. You don’t have to get rid of your credit cards completely, though. You can save even more using a credit card that earns points — assuming you pay your balance monthly.
17. Download Cash Back Apps
You have to spend money eventually, so why not get some of that money back? Cash back apps give you cash or points when you shop at participating merchants. You can use your rewards to buy what you need.
Research the best cashback apps to determine which ones have the best terms. Pay attention to details such as:
- Whether you get cash or points
- How the app sends payment or redeems points
- Whether there is a cash-out minimum
- What stores participate
These apps are fun, but be careful not to shop just to get points. Only use them for purchases you’d make anyway.
18. Get a Side Hustle
Saving only works if your income can keep up with your savings goals. For example, suppose you’re figuring out how to save $10,000 in 3 months. That’s $833 in savings per week — just $252 more than the median weekly wage nationwide.
Working in the gig economy is a popular way to supplement savings. According to a 2021 report from the Pew Research Center, 56% of gig economy workers said that saving up extra money was a major factor in their decision to take on the work.
19. Sell Your Unwanted Stuff
Selling unneeded items gives you more space and a fatter bank account. Although you can have an old-fashioned garage sale, using an online platform like Craigslist is a convenient alternative.
20. Invest In Short-Term CDs
Use short-term certificates of deposit to earn interest. Savings accounts are a good option because many checking accounts don’t earn interest.
On the other hand, CD accounts typically offer higher interest rates. Many CD accounts have penalties for early withdrawal, which makes you more likely to leave your money alone.
Credit unions generally offer higher CD interest rates than banks do, and the National Credit Union Administration provides interest rate comparison charts to help you find the best current rate.
Planning Your Saving Strategy
Learning how to save money fast is a big goal, but it’s easier when you break it down into smaller objectives. Chose a few of these money-saving strategies and apply them this week. Once you’ve made them a habit, try a few more. Before you know it, you’ll be well on your way to your savings goals.
Barb Nefer and Ashleigh Ray contributed to the reporting for this article.
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- Airbnb. "Host your home on Airbnb."
- ValuePenguin. 2022. "92% of Policyholders Who Recently Switched Auto Insurance Companies Saved Money, but Most Don’t Seek Additional Quotes."
- U.S. Department of Labor. "Usual Weekly Earnings of Wage and Salary Workers First Quarter 2023."
- Pew Research Center. 2021. "The State of Gig Work in 2021."
- National Credit Union Administration. "Credit Union and Bank Rates."