13 Tips on How to Save Money Fast
1. Automate bills and savings
You can literally automate almost anything these days, and you probably should. Automating your savings is something worth considering, especially if you have a fixed monthly income. And with the aid of online banking, you’re simply setting up an automated transfer from your daily spending account to your savings account every month. By automating your savings, you’re reducing the chances of you spending the money to cover some of your daily expenses.
It also frees up your time and takes a lot of weight off your shoulders. There are other tools as well like apps that transfer different amounts automatically from your checking account to your savings. And some are intelligent and know when you can afford to save and when you can’t. While on the idea of automating, bill repayments are also worth mentioning. Companies often charge a late fee when bills aren’t paid on time, so paying before it’s due helps you avoid the extra costs. And automating does exactly that.
2. Learn to budget and understand your finances
Learning how to budget is one of the most important tips for saving money fast. The moment you’re in control of your budget you’re in control of your finances. But before you can start saving, you need to look at your cash flow. This means understanding your incoming and outgoing funds, including bills, debt repayments, and savings contributions. The best place to start is by monitoring your monthly expenses. Over a period of thirty days, keep track of all your finances including your income and expenditures.
Compare your monthly income to your monthly expenses so that you can evaluate how much you’re saving or overspending. Also, try and see if there’s anything you can cut back on, to increase the amount that goes into your savings. And on a regular basis, assess your progress and make any necessary adjustments. If you find this to be a little overwhelming, there are plenty of apps out there that can help you make sticking to a budget so much easier.
3. Switch to a Cash-Only Budget
Save money by using cash to pay for your daily expenses. This is because not a lot of people think about how much they’re spending when they swipe a card, and this leads to them usually spending more than they intended. Aside from making you aware of the amount you’re spending, using cash acts as a buffer to overspending because you can’t spend what you don’t have, right? But for this to work, you have to refrain from using your credit or debit cards.
You might also want to try the envelope methods and leave the cards at home when you go out shopping. With the envelope method, you allocate certain amounts of cash to expenses like gas and groceries. The cash stays in an envelope, and once it’s empty, you no longer spend on that spending category until the month is over.
4. Have a debt pay-off plan
You’re going to need a plan if you want to get out of debt, and the best thing to do in such a situation is to save money on interest. If you have credit card debt, use debt-payoff plans like snowball and avalanche strategy. So, in the snowball method, you pay off the smallest debt first, and when that is cleared, you start paying off the second smallest balance, and this continues until even the largest debt is paid off.
The avalanche method is more or less the same, the only exception being you start paying off your debts from the largest to the smallest. If none of those methods fancies you, you can try contacting the credit card company and finding out whether they are able to offer you a lower interest rate. If possible, you may be able to transfer the balances into one interest-free credit card, which helps you save money on interest, and instead of having to pay several debts you only pay for one. Improving your credit card score can also help you save more in the long run. And this is because a higher credit score may qualify you for a lower interest rate, such as a personal loan, an auto loan, or mortgage. So once you have a plan in place, stick with it till the end. Doing this will help you clear your debts faster, and once it’s all over, you can begin saving again.
5. Get a second job
Taking up a side hustle is something worth considering if you seriously want to boost your monthly savings. If reaching your financial goals is taking longer than you’d expected, maybe getting a second job isn’t such a bad idea. This could mean anything from being a virtual assistant, covering a few shifts at a bar or restaurant after your office job, getting a few freelance gigs, or even pet sitting. It could be something temporary until you get past the situation you’re in.
You’d be able to pay off your debt faster and even start an emergency fund. The service industry is great since you earn tips and probably make more than you would at a job paying by the hour. And with the extra money, you can put whatever you make from it into your savings account. But as beneficial as it is, be careful not to wear yourself out. Your mental health is more important than achieving any savings goal. So, if getting a second job is out of the question for you, don’t worry there are still other ways to save without working more.
6. Improve Energy Efficiency
Cutting back on your utility bills is another way of saving money fast. Your electric and gas bill takes a significant chunk out of your income, so if you can find a way to reduce them, you could have a little leftover to save. There are so many strategies you could use to lower your utility bills, despite people’s belief of the contrary. These include unplugging electronics when not in use, switching to energy-saving appliances, installing low-flow showerheads and faucets, and installing a smart thermostat which could save you up to twenty percent or more every year on heating and cooling costs, depending on the model.
Set your thermostat a degree warmer or cooler depending on the season you’re in. You’ll hardly notice the difference and a month later you can do the same again since you’d have adjusted to the new temperature. You can save as much as 1% on your annual heating bill for every degree according to the U.S Department of Energy.
7. Plan your meals
Ordering out on the regular or going out to dinner has a huge impact on your savings. The reason is, the meals usually cost more than what you would have spent preparing a meal from home. Making a meal plan is not as hard as you might imagine. You don’t have to spend hours searching for the best deals on everything. Just make the meal plan as it is, and keep the specifics open. Then while in the grocery store, buy whatever is cost-effective, weighing the price and health benefits in the process. Choose a day to prep the meals for the week, and package the food in individual containers.
After that, all you have to do is heat one up when it’s time to eat. But if you don’t want to prep your meals, the least you could do is plan them so you can cook at home and make use of leftovers. Also, when you buy groceries that you’ll actually eat, you aren’t tempted to order take-out since you’re satisfied with the food you already have. So planning your meals basically helps you save a ton of money. Mostly because you avoid buying extra food that you don’t even need. It helps you plan ahead for more affordable meals instead of buying whatever looks good on display at the supermarket.
8. Re-evaluate your habits
You might be trying to save money, but your habits are working against you. When you calculate the cost of some of your habits, like smoking, for example, you might want to consider the upside of quitting it. And if you don’t want to cut it out completely, try to cut back. Also, if you have a habit of purchasing items on a whim, give yourself a grace period of three to four days to mull it over.
This prevents the impulsive part of your brain from taking over. Giving in to instant gratification is one of the things that’s pulling you further away from your saving goals. If you really want to challenge yourself, think about making a purchase after a month; this is also known as the 30-day rule. This is a sure way of keeping your impulse buying in check and gives you time to think of whether you can get a better deal somewhere else.
9. Cancel any unused subscriptions
A lot of companies make money from subscriptions. This is because the moment a customer subscribes to their service, they’re disinclined to cancel it, even if they barely make use of it anymore. This is largely because canceling a subscription that you hardly use is a tough call as you have already paid a lot of cash for it.
Thus, canceling it would mean contending with the fact that all the money spent was for nothing. So by delaying the subscription, it feels like there’s a chance that you’ll actually use the service. Generally, only a few of us ever use the subscription to the fullest therefore, it would be more cost-effective if you canceled it now instead of waiting until you may hypothetically use it.
10. Have a designated savings account
You need to separate the money you spend on your daily needs, from the money you intend to save, if you want to save money fast. And this means setting up a designated savings account. Doing this reduces the risk of reaching into your savings to cover your everyday expenses. It actually encourages you to stay within the boundaries of your day-to-day budget while keeping your savings safe from temptation at the same time.
You should have an emergency fund in place to avoid using your credit card in the event of an emergency. You don’t want to turn to a credit card when in a crisis caused, it only accumulates more debt. If you can put fifty to a hundred dollars a month in an emergency fund, you’re making progress. Don’t worry too much about the amount though. Because anything is better than nothing.
11. Keep up with maintenance
Thousands of dollars can be saved down the line if you choose to maintain your home and vehicle. You save a lot by doing regular oil changes, replacing filters, and checking the tire pressure. In the same way, looking out for issues on the house and making the necessary repairs as soon as possible saves you cash.
By staying on top of maintenance, you get to prevent other problems before they happen. A great way to grow your savings is to try to fix anything on your own when it breaks. With the help of YouTube and the internet in general, you can learn how to fix pretty much anything. Whether it’s a leaky pipe or a tear in your shirt, it’s always more cost-efficient to fix some of these things yourself instead of paying someone else to do it.
12. Use coupons wisely
We know that couponing is all about searching for deals and steals on goods and services to save money at the check-out. But people view the use of coupons differently. For some, couponing is a way of life. It’s a simple and easy way to save money on the grocery bill and put that hard-earned cash to use somewhere else, like maybe saving up for the next family vacation. While for others, it’s a way to save a dollar or two here and there on something they were already in the market for. So whichever way you see it, coupons can help you save money in one way or another if you know what you’re doing.
13. Buying used items and selling some of your own
Not everything you buy has to be new. Of course, this doesn’t apply to all items, and maybe you only need something temporarily as you save for the make and model you want. You can easily find what you’re looking for on Craigslist and eBay. Or even yard sales and consignment shops. There are also quite a few apps that sell clothes, shoes, home decor, and accessories too. If you’d like, you could sell some of your stuff. Make a list of all your unused items and sell them. Doing this not only helps you declutter your home but also means that you make a few extra bucks to add to your savings.
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