8 Ways To Save Money in a Time of Crisis

Thrifty woman sit at table hold pen writing daily expenses in diary put coin in pink piggy bank close up.
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Saving money in a time of crisis is not an easy task. This is especially true of situations where you might have put a significant amount of your emergency fund toward an unexpected expense. It can feel difficult, time-consuming and take a lot of work to save this money all over again

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Fortunately, there are strategic ways you can rebuild your savings in the aftermath of an unprecedented event. Follow these tips to create a safety net of savings in a time of crisis.

Revisit Your Budget

Revisiting your budget is incredibly important when determining how to save money in a time of crisis because it allows you to better understand where your money is going. Review your fixed, variable and periodic expenses and your spending habits in each one. You may find there are areas where you can easily trim back on expenses. 

Some aspects of variable expenses where you can cut back, for example, include dining out, shopping for items you don’t necessarily need right now or cutting back on subscription services. Once you’re back on your feet financially, you may be able to splurge on a few of these items again. For now, it’s best to focus on finding immediate savings.

Make Your Money Work for You

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Pay High-Priority Debt

In a time of crisis, you don’t want to miss a payment on high-priority debt. This type of debt includes mortgage and/or rent payments, utilities, child support, car loans, any criminal justice debt and court-ordered debt. 

Missing these payments could force you to slide into another crisis. You might be evicted from your home or risk foreclosure, experience vehicle repossession, have your electricity or water disconnected, experience garnished wages or receive jail time.

Review Recurring Bills

Some of your recurring bills could be negotiated at more affordable monthly rates. Consider speaking with a customer service representative about reducing rates on your Wi-Fi plan. You may be able to switch plans or even get back an introductory rate at an inexpensive price. If possible, look into switching providers to save extra money and put the savings toward rebuilding emergency funds.

Look Into Opportunities Where You May Reduce Your Overhead

If the end of your lease is coming up, now may be the chance to move to a cheaper apartment or see if there are other affordable housing options, like renting a guest house or an efficiency unit, in your area. Professionals who work from home and do not drive much may consider selling their cars. If you are approaching retirement and live in a house that is too big for you in an expensive area, you may think about selling and moving to a smaller home in a more affordable city or suburb.

Make Your Money Work for You

Reducing overhead expenses can be the fastest way to save money during difficult times. Put the extra savings into your emergency fund or any other savings kept in a high-yield savings account.

Can You Refinance or Consolidate Debt?

You may be able to refinance or consolidate any outstanding debt, like student loans, for more affordable interest rates and monthly payments. Any debt you are able to refinance or consolidate gives you more chances to save extra money and allocate the savings into rebuilding an emergency fund.

Automate Extra Savings 

When saving money in a time of crisis, one of the best strategies is automating the amount you’re saving into a specific savings account. Even if you’re only able to automate a dollar amount like $20 or $50 per paycheck, automating ensures the money goes directly into savings. 

Get Strategic When Grocery Shopping

Groceries are a fluctuating variable expense for every household, and amid inflation, the receipts are usually not cheap. 

Flex every strategic shopping muscle you’ve got when visiting the grocery store. Make and stick to a list, purchase store brands over name brands, shop at less expensive supermarkets and coupon stack at checkout.

Make Your Money Work for You

Work a Side Hustle

If you need extra money ASAP, look into working a side hustle. 

You might be able to freelance as a writer or graphic designer, walk dogs, drive for a ride-share or sell gently used or worn items through an online marketplace. Make sure the amount of time spent working a side hustle does not conflict with any full-time work. Put a percentage of earnings you make from the side gig into your savings or emergency fund.

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About the Author

Heather Taylor is a senior finance writer for GOBankingRates. She is also the head writer and brand mascot enthusiast for PopIcon, Advertising Week’s blog dedicated to brand mascots. She has been published on HelloGiggles, Business Insider, The Story Exchange, Brit + Co, Thrive Global, and more media outlets. 

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