How do I save money fast? That's a million-dollar question everybody asks. Don't fret, this post is packed with information you need from the basics of saving money all the way to the tips professionals say on how to save money on a tight budget.
Believe it or not, saving money can be tough. I've been there and so do many people. You are not alone. To put things in perspective, a $1,000 emergency can put people in debt.
But there's a light at the end of the tunnel.
In this post, you'll learn how to save money:
- on a tight budget
- on groceries
- for a house
- and so many more
There are ways you can do to save money fast or even make money online and not rely on your paycheck.
You've heard people saying the best solution is to get out debt fast. Sure, that's easier said than done. If it were that easy, then, we would all have saved money.
But the reality is, all of us have different situations that call for different solutions on saving money and getting out of debt isn't always the solution.
Don't believe that there are shortcuts to learning how to save money.
Let's put it this way:
If there are shortcuts, then, a lot of people would already have saved a lot of money.
That said, there are easy ways to save money that you can start from day one.
You don't have to live a cheapskate life to save extra cash. A lot of people also say you should cut out daily coffee consumption, avoid eating out, take a bike instead of a car, etc.
While cutting out or back on these activities can help you save extra, you may be cutting some little luxuries that keep you sane.
This post will give you your solutions.
The basics of saving money
When it comes to saving money, it's never a secret that the best way to do it is to track your money. Easier said than done, right? The reality is it is easy to do it with the following trick:
Analyze your spending
If you're having difficulty getting by what the income you have, find out where your money is going, in this case, analyze your spending.
Jot down all your bills from mortgage to grocery. Then, use your four recent months of bank and credit card statements and begin categorizing expenses to defined categories such as food, house, transportation, among others.
Get the average monthly expenses and use that as your baseline.
Start with a budget
Getting your finances in order always start with a budget. Period.
When you don't have a budget in place, you can't tell if you're saving money, where the money is going, how much is left after bills are paid, among others.
In short, it's actually hard to save an extra buck here and there or even thousands without getting a complete picture of where you stand with your money.
With a budget, you can track your money down to the cents (if you want to), and see where you can cut money, divert money from one expense to another, and so on.
Complement your budget with SMART goals
If you're making your budget, you should also be thinking about your goals. There's always a reason why you budget. Do you want to budget because you want to save money for a house, pay off debt, build wealth, or something else?
Without a goal or goals in mind, it's hard to make your budget work.
Think about your short-term (e.g., current month or within year purchases) and your long-term goals (e.g., college fund, emergency funds, house buying), using these SMART guidelines:
- SPECIFIC goals get you inspired. Set a goal that's specific enough to help you focus on achieving it.
- Example: Save money for retirement.
- MEASURABLE goals will help you see the task at hand. These goals have to be measured in terms of numbers, years, or something that can be measured.
- Example: Retirement needs is $500,000. So far, you've saved $1,000.
- ATTAINABLE goals are realistic that can be achieved. Make sure your goal is realistic (not idealistic).
- Example: You can save $500 each paycheck towards your retirement fund (not $2,000 when you're paycheck is only $1,500).
- RELEVANT goals make complete sense. Your goals should speak clearly about you and not somebody else.
- Example: You are going to invest in mutual funds that you've researched, understood, and have confidence with and not investing your money towards something out of a whim.
- TIME-RELATED goals should have a deadline. You need to set when you want to get this goal achieved.
- Example: You want to retire in 20 years.
Click here to know more about how to create a budget from scratch and do it like a pro.
How to save extra money doing what you're doing
Where's the best place to start saving? It's with doing the things you are already doing.
Believe it or not, a lot of people tend to overlook this simple idea. They tend to focus on getting rid of debt, cutting out some luxuries, etc. that they forget that there's money in what they normally do.
Here are some ideas you can use to save extra cash, free Amazon gift cards, among others:
Start with getting paid for things you didn't know you could get paid
Here's the reality:
There are endless opportunities out there that can help you make extra money just by doing things you normally do. It's not a joke.
Whether you are just binge-watching some Netflix shows, cleaning the yard, running some errands, or something else, there are ways you can make cash on the side without putting too much effort.
Granted some of these ways won't make you rich. That said, if you are looking for hundreds of dollars, then, you might as well use these ways and get paid.
Here are some of them:
- Paid online surveys. Share your opinions on entertainment, politics, life, etc. and get paid. The best survey sites to make money from are Survey Junkie and Survey Club. One even made over $600 in 10 days (see image above).
- Use this app for everything. Whether you're watching, shopping, reading news, browsing or something else, get paid to do those with Swagbucks. As a fact, I made over $1,500 in just a few months. That money is now deposited in my emergency fund account.
- Cut your expenses automatically. Sure, you have all these subscriptions you don't need but have forgotten to cancel. Also, you may have services you wish you could cut cost from. You've tried everything with no luck. Now, Trim app can do those for you. Trim will analyze your spending, find subscriptions to cancel, negotiate your bills, among others. Last month, subscribers saved over $1,000,000 with Trim. See my Trim review here.
- Stop by a store. There's an app that will pay you to literally stop by a store. It's called Shopkick and it's FREE. You might as well use it when you visit a store to buy groceries, clothing, or something else
Click here to sign up for:
How to save money on a low income
Not everyone has money to save. Truth be told, many earn low income or live in a single-income family that can restrict one's ability to save extra money.
Here are some of the ways you can use to save cash and to learn how to live cheap:
Go back to the basics
Remember the days when you were able to live off based on what you needed and not what you wanted?
Go back to that time, and you'd be saving a ton of money.
The truth is, differentiating between needs and wants can be tough. We, people, have been accustomed to getting all our wants and tell ourselves that we need them.
Here's a trick: Cut out thing out at a time. Let's say, cut ‘going out to the movie theater' expense line and see how you live without it. If you are ok, then, that's a want. Then, continue with another expense line until you cut as many expenses as you can.
Best yet, cut out the biggest expenses and go from there.
Tackle the high-interest debt first
Interest payments are like free money you give to companies. That's why it's a great idea to start tackling these debts to save money in the process.
Do you have a credit card debt or other forms of credit that charge you high fees and interest? Start from there.
Start prioritizing your debt so you know which ones to tackle first, second, and so on. As you move forward with paying these debts off, avoid making anymore debt.
Here are some ways you can do to deal with debts:
- Credit card debt is like a disease that doesn't go away easily. So are impulse buys.
For those who are ready to start saving money fast on their credit card debt, I recommend Tally.
Why? Tally is your credit card debt concierge that helps you save money, manage your cards, and pay off debt faster.
Tally analyzes your credit cards and credit history (without affecting your credit score) to ensure it's a fit for you.
If you qualify, you'll receive a Tally line of credit to pay off your cards with high APR balances – saving you significant amounts of cash by letting it make the right payment to the right card at the right time (with no more late fees).
Click here to start using Tally – your short term solution to a long term problem.
- Student loans are no joke not to mention the over-the-roof interest rates, which sometimes are higher than mortgage rates.
If your student loans keep you from saving money, you may be able to refinance to a lower rate and a shorter term. With a short term and lower interest rate, you'll end up saving a whole lot of money.
SoFi, a top student loan refinancing issuer, is known for that. With no hidden fees and prepayment penalties, it helps you save thousands of dollars over the life of the loan.
Re-evaluate your bills
To save money on a low income means focusing on your bills.
Bills are money killers. That said, most of us pay those and don't pay attention to what we get or what's included in those bills.
One of the things you need to do is pay attention to the charges on your bill. Dissect them like a frog getting dissected during a Biology class.
Call your bill collectors if you see something that's off and if you think you need to downgrade your services. Ask yourself how much of these products and services you use and if you can get away with not having those or just a little bit of those.
You can use apps like Charlie, Trim, and Cushion to help you evaluate your bills automatically. They do all the legwork and you just need to sit back, relax, and enjoy while they negotiate on your part.
You can also scout for the same products and services from other sources and see if you can get the same level of benefits for lower rates.
Click here to learn more about these negotiation apps to save you money.
Keep your budget lean
To save money on a low income means keeping your budget in control (i.e., the basics of saving money). Take control of how much you spend.
Choose the categories you want to put some little luxuries in, and keep the rest of your budget as lean as it can be. You will need to compromise and/or sacrifice to make your budget work. That's just how it goes.
You can splurge on something when you don't have enough income coming in.
Here a tip: Learn how to spend in moderation. Don't go overboard when there's no need to do it.
Find an alternative to your needs
We've gotten so used to having all the needs that we tend to forget that there are cheaper alternatives to still get our needs.
Do pick up your grocery items at Walmart? Maybe you could try BJ's Wholesale or Costco to buy bulk and save money. You can even use coupons and coupon apps to save more money.
You could buy generic items than branded ones, which most of the time are cheaper but are of high-quality.
You could also wait for big holidays like 4th of July and Thanksgiving to buy what you need at steep discounts. Or ask your family and friends or even go to Craigslist and yard sales to see products that you need at very low costs.
Start cutting your discretionary items
When it comes to saving money, the first ones that should go or get slashed are your wants. These could include entertainment, travel, leisure, and restaurants.
Believe it or not:
There are so many ways you can entertain yourself without shelling out so much money. Want to hang out with friends? Invite them for a potluck. Want to travel to a specific destination? Travel on the non-peak season (click here to learn how to travel for free).
Slashing these expenses can be temporary. Once you've saved enough money, you can always go back and splurge on your wants. Or you can splurge on those fun stuff from time to time to give yourself a budget break.
Creative ways to save money with a side hustle
There's a point that no matter how much you squeeze your budget that you can't simply save even a few dollars. That happens when your income just doesn't cut it.
So, what do you do? When this situation happens to you, it's time to increase your income. Here are several side hustles to earn money on the side:
Get to work
There's no better way to earn extra money than to get a job or just a part-time job to supplement your current income.
You could talk to your boss for a pay raise, overtime hours, or additional regular-paid hours.
If you're looking for a job, look for something that you can do during your free time. Maybe look for a weekend-type job or night job.
Get a side hustle or two
Side hustles could make you a lot of money. Period.
These side hustles could be your part-time job and can be something you can do just for a couple of hours.
When looking for great side hustle ideas, try to focus on the ones that are of interests to you. When you do this, you're likely to succeed and make money than just trying the ones out of a whim.
Here are some ideas that can help you get started:
- Offering your services. If you are great at graphic designing, administrative work, or something else, you can offer that services online and make money. The best platform to do it is through Fiverr. You can use that platform, too, if you're trying to figure out what services you'd like to provide.
- Delivering foods. Going to the grocery stores, buying your lunch food, among others can be time-consuming. Believe it or not, a lot of people have their food delivered, and those delivery people can get paid up to $18/hour + tips. How's that sound? Check out some delivery food apps like DoorDash and Instacart.
- Blogging. Sure, it will take a few months to make money, but once your blog starts making money, it could continue to help you earn money month after month without putting too much effort. Look at me. This blog makes me over $30K and I only touch it for 5 hours/mo. Try blogging now for just $2.95/mo – that's less than a Starbucks coffee.
Claim all your eligible business expenses
While there are some strict tax details regarding side hustles – like your estimated quarterly taxes – there tax benefits that can be had with your side hustle, which can you help you save money in the process.
When you have a side hustle especially when you do it from home, you can deduct a lot of expenses you have as business expenses. This allows you to reduce your tax liabilities.
Believe it or not:
A lot of entrepreneurs miss out on over 74,00 pages of deductions in the tax code. So, if you want to save extra money the legal way, this is where you need to look into.
How to save on groceries
Grocery expense is no joke. According to the US Department of Agriculture, Americans spend around 11% of their budget on food.
If you're looking at cutting your expenses, one of the best places to cut is your food budget. Of course, food is important but there's always a wiggle room to save from that budget category.
Here are some ways you can save money on groceries more now without sacrificing a lot:
Use coupons when they make sense
Sometimes, clipping coupons, looking at sales and seeing what coupons you may have, etc. can cause you time and energy, which may not always be worth it.
That's why I mean it when I say only use coupons when they make sense.
Coupons can save you some serious money, if done right. Check out sites like Shop At Home to find some great deals. You can only earn an extra $10 if you purchase something through Shop at Home.
Extreme couponer's trick: You can double your savings just by combining coupons with what is on sale at your local (grocery) stores.
Use money-saving apps
If you haven't used money-saving apps or money making apps, then, you are missing out money on the table.
Many times, you can combine offers from these three apps and make money. Seriously! It has happened to me a couple of times.
I'm not talking about nickels and dimes here. I'm referring to two-digit dollar amounts. While it's not a lot, it's free money that helps me pay some bills and even save money.
Choose store brands
Almost always, store brands are as of quality as their branded counterparts.
You might be tempted to buy a particular brand but the generic, store brands are almost always cheaper.
Here's the reality:
Often times, non-brand items use name-brand items with their labels on the products. Really! The best thing about it is that the price is even cheaper.
Make a grocery list before leaving the house
Always make a list of grocery items you need to buy before you leave the house.
Believe it or not, no matter how great your memory is, chances are you're going to miss out something (maybe the special one you need to buy).
More than that, you're likely to buy other things you don't need when you do not have a list.
There are great, best grocery apps you can use to help you save more than just money. Here are some of them:
- Smart Shopping List Android l iOS – You can easily add items, create food groups, and even create multiple lists, which all can be done through a “quicklist.”
- Any.do Android l iOS – Sync this app to Alexa and start saying your grocery list. Tell Alexa to categorize your list by aisles as you add them with just your voice, and it will do it for you.
- Our Groceries Android l iOS – OurGroceries is the simplest grocery app out there. For those who want the most basic app out there, then, I think this is the right app for you.
Click here to get more ideas on which best grocery list apps to use.
Shop around to save money on groceries
In today's economy, there really isn't one good reason to stick to just one store for grocery shopping.
Believe it or not, you'll find it easier to realize some grocery savings by shopping around. Here are some ways you can shop around without having to put a lot of effort and time into it:
- Shop online. Almost everything can be purchased online. You can go to each of the brick and mortar's store or you can go to Amazon for shopping. If you aren't familiar yet, Amazon has sections for just coupons that you can use on its site. Quick tip: When shopping online, use sites like Ebates, Swagbucks, and MyPoints to earn cash back on your purchases.
- Look at the weekly ads. Those weekly circulars are golden. They always feature sales and other promotions that change from one week to another. By focusing on rotating sales, you can buy foods at significantly discount prices. Best yet, when you see deals for products you like, buy them in bulk and get more savings.
- Shop at discounted stores. Don't get afraid to shop at discounted stores like The Dollar Tree. You'll find similar products there that beat the prices of their big store competitors. That said, not everything is a good value. For example, paying $1 candle that's small is not good when you can be a big candle at the big stores for $1.50.
- Checkout drugstore specials. While drugstores charge a lot for basic grocery items like cereals and eggs, they offer specials from time to time. Include their offers and clipped coupons (alongside with money-saving apps like Ibotta, and Checkout51), and you'd find yourself with some savings. In some cases, you may even make money out of those specials.
Click here to get more information on how to save money on groceries.
Ways to save money on a tight budget
In 2008, the Federal Reserve Board indicated that 40% of American can't cover a $400 emergency expense. That's disheartening.
When money is tight, it's so hard to see a light out of the day. We almost always think about what can be done to squeeze our budget and make ends meet.
Saving money on a tight budget doesn't have to be difficult and complex. Here are some ways to save extra when money is tight:
Cut every category just the right amount
When money is tight, the best thing you could do (according to many people) is to cut out what you don't need. That's true. But there another side of the coin, that is, even when you're just getting by, you still need to save money.
The best way to do it?
Find ways to save a few bucks per budget category and put that money towards emergency funds or your savings. Do it in the next few months until you can no longer cut money in those categories.
Take advantage of online deals
Almost everyone shops online. To be more precise, 79% of Americans now shops online regularly. But not everyone looks for discount, promotional code, or coupons to save extra money fast. That's a mistake that can be corrected.
In fact, Statista projects that about 136 million people will become digital coupon users by 2018, and up to 145 million by 2021. So, if you are going to buy online, you might as well get free money while shopping.
Here are my favorites sites cash back, coupons, and online deals:
- Shop At Home: Save up to 40% of each dollar you spend.
- Ebates: Just like Shop At Home, you get up to 40% in cash back for your purchases. Ebates also features in-store cash back if you don't feel shopping online.
- MyPoints: Save up to 40% using this site. Most of its notable stores include Target, Amazon, Walmart, and Ebay. You'll also get $10 sign up bonus when you sign up today.
Get at least three quotes before you buy
To learn how to save money fast is to always ask for three quotes before making a final decision.
That's true for big purchases.
Remember that everyone literally wants your business and will do everything to give you the best price.
Make sure that when you talk to suppliers or business that you tell them you're getting quotes from different businesses as well.
This money saving tip almost always guarantees you get the best price.
Cut the landline
Who needs landline when you've got a cell phone to use, right?
On average, landline costs around $25 per month.
That's $25 that you can easily cut when you have cell service to use instead.
This means you can save money fast to the tune of $300 per year just by cutting your landline service.
Look at your food bill
A good place to look if you're trying to cut some expenses out and build your savings is by changing the way you eat.
You can reduce your trips to your favorite restaurants. If you eat out everyday, you can easily save at least $30 per week from not doing that.
If you don't eat out that often but buy a lot of convenience foods, you can start buying raw materials and cook from scratch.
How to save money for a house
Having a house is an American dream for a lot of people. For many, it's the ultimate definition of the American dream. That said, saving money for a house isn't a walk in the park.
It is hard. I know you can agree with that fact.
Less than three years ago, my wife and I bought our house under a single-family income. Here's how we did it:
Create a monthly budget
Any financial goals should always start with a budget. Getting a budget together to buy a house is no exception.
Have a realistic budget and stick it with. Be honest on your spending habits, and cut expenses in areas when needed to make sure you save money towards a house.
Be realistic with your budget and don't overachieve. For example, if your income is $1,000, don't expect to save more than $1,000. It's just not going to happen.
Keep savings separate
When you're saving money for a house, keep your money in an account not easily accessible.
You can create a whole new different account dedicated to your housing fund. Don't touch it. Even better, don't think about it and just think that this account is off-limits no matter what happens. Just continue on putting money in it.
Believe it or not:
A lot of people have a hard time saving money because they put all their money into one account, and spend it whenever they want to, and not even track their funds.
To avoid this problem, keep your savings in a separate account.
Make savings automatic
One of the best ways to save money fast for a house is through automated savings.
When you're receiving a paycheck, direct deposit money to your dedicated saving accounts, and the rest goes to your regular checking account.
This way, you're automatically saving money without even thinking about it or doing anything about it. You won't even notice you are putting money in it until you look at your account.
As the saying of other personal finance expert goes, pay yourself first.
Sure, it helps to cut down on your latte consumption, Netflix subscription, among others. But it's better if you also focus on big expenses you can sacrifice for now. For example, you can skip your annual summer vacation and opt for a staycation.
This way, you can save money fast. It will feel good cutting back on these big expenses knowing that you're saving for something even bigger.
When you opt for big savings, you'd find yourself saving more in a shorter period of time.
Get a side hustle or a part-time job
There's only so much you can save with your current salary. Sometimes, in order to save up more money, you need to get a side hustle or even a part-time job.
Part-time or work from home jobs can be of great help, too. If you get a part-time job, take that opportunity to earn more and save more. Don't let the extra money you earn be a way for you to spend more.
Downsize instead of upsizing
If you're looking to stash more money, look into moving to even a smaller, cheaper apartment.
As you know, rental costs are expensive, and having more space than you need is just a waste of money. Moving from a two-bedroom to a one-bedroom apartment can dramatically reduce your rent by 20% or 30% that quick.
If you live alone, you could ask your parents if they let you stay back home and pay less than what you pay now for rent.
Financial experts recommendations on saving money
You don't need to hire financial experts to get the best or the most practical solutions on saving money. There are plenty out there that provide free financial pieces of advice.
Here are some recommendations on how to save money fast:
Consider using cash
Cash is king and for more than one reason.
Financial experts recommend that if you're tight on budget or on a low-monthly budget, you only need to use cash for purchases. Why?
Using cash avoids your overcharging your credit cards and put charges in it that you can't afford to pay back in full right away. Using cash also helps you ensure you exactly know how much you're spending. The use of credit card can easily get you to spend over what you are capable of paying.
Set up automatic transfers
When you set up an automatic transfer, you're forcing yourself to save. Plus, it makes saving less difficult because you're not doing it on your own. Plus, when there's automatic transfer, you tend to forget that you made an automatic transfer.
In short, it makes saving consistent and effortless.
There are apps like Stash and Qapital, which help you save automatically simply by analyzing your spending patterns. These apps will eventually learn when you have extra cash to use and will transfer money from your other accounts to the Stash and Qapital accounts.
Click here to sign up for:
Do not increase spending when you get a raise
Believe it or not, when you get a raise, you tend to increase your spending (with or without your knowing). Be wise where you put your raise.
Always pay yourself first. That's the rule when it come to pay raises.
Instead of buying new clothing, a car, etc., save the money or even invest the money in mutual funds or stocks using robo-advisors like Betterment, Personal Capital, or even Acorns (an app that invests your cents).
This will help you build your wealth and save more money in the future. Remember that in the case of investing, there's so much potential for your money to grow and compound in the stock market.
Click here to sign up for:
Switch bank for crying out loud and make 2.45% (not 0.00000006%)
If you are being charged with fees on your checking account or savings account or getting close to zero interest, then, it's the time to switch banks.
It's the 21st century and online banks are in… for good reasons.
You can start earning high interest with just $100 minimum deposit. That's it.
Here's a story:
I switched from my Wells Fargo and Bank of America to CIT Bank last year. Now, I earn $1,800/yr on interest alone. It's money I don't have to work hard for.
That's how I save money fast (oh so fast).
Granted, I'm not going to be rich off saving money in the bank, but it's still free money that's good enough for a year's worth of grocery. Since there are no monthly fees, CIT Bank is a double win for me.
Click here to start using CIT Bank and start reaching your savings goals.
Get a free 401(k) audit
So, you want to save for retirement, and you're doing through your 401(k).
Great but stop right there.
Do you know how much fees your retirement fund is getting charged?
Believe it or not, a slight increase in fees could cost you tens of thousands of dollars in the long term.
A friend of mine introduced me to Blooom. It is a product that analyzes your retirement accounts and shows you how much you pay and how much it will cost you in the long term.
Let's say, I saved $3,000 in the first year of using it, and the compounding savings I will get in the future is big (potentially close to $350,000 in 30 years).
If you're DIYing your retirement account or just want to see if you're paying too much, Blooom can help you with finding that out.
Get your free 401(k) analysis now with Blooom, and save for retirement for good.
How To Save Money FAQs
These are the basic questions people ask when it comes to saving extra funds. Believe it or not, a lot of people keep on asking these questions, and that's why I put this together for your access:
What is the 30 day rule?
When you feel the urge to buy something – whether it's shoes, food, or something else – tell yourself to stop. Take note what this item, the store where you found it, the price, and the date. For the next thirty days, think about this item.
After thirty days, if the urge is still there, consider buying that time.
What is the quickest way to save money?
Here are some ways to save extra on the side quickly:
- Get paid for sharing your thoughts online
- Tackle the high-interest debt first
- Keep your budget lean
- Find an alternative to your needs
- Get a side hustle or two
- Use coupons when they make sense
- Use money-saving apps
- Take advantage of online deals
- Consider cash for purchases
- Do not increase spending when you get a raise
- Set up automatic transfers
How can I save $1000 fast?
Here are some 5 easy ways to save $1,000 quickly. These are small tweaks you can do now, and save some funds in no time.
- Negotiate your bills – $200 savings (Use apps like Charlie, Trim, and Cushion)
- Get a side hustle or two – $300 savings (I made this money on my third month of blogging)
- Cancel subscriptions – $100 savings (Use Trim for this)
- Start a meal plan – $300 savings (Use meal plans like PlateJoy, Gobble, or $5 Meal Plan to help you save money on food)
- Use cash instead of credit – over $200 savings (save on interest payments especially when your balance is in thousands)
How much should you have in savings?
According to Bankrate, here's how much you need to save for each age category:
- By age 30, your savings goal should be $66,470
- By 40, it should be $277,728
- By 50, it should be $596,538
- By 60, it should be $643,792
Final Thoughts On How To Save Money Fast:
Saving money isn't always a walk in the park. That said, once you start doing things to save you money, things would become much easier and saving would become second nature.
There's no better time to do it than now.
Do you have any other savings techniques that will help you learn how to save money fast? How much did you save using these techniques?