You’re here because your savings isn't what it needs to be, and it just doesn’t seem to be growing quick enough. You may be wondering what you're doing wrong or perhaps your bank account needs a quick influx of cash.
The good news is there are ways to boost your savings without having to make drastic changes to how you spend your time and energy each day. However, you will need to make a few changes to your thinking and your life.
By following a plan and using some discipline, you can find yourself with more money in the bank at the end of the week or month. You can do this even if you are struggling with a student loan, swamped with credit card debt, or on a low income with a tight budget and living paycheck to paycheck.
I will walk you through different ways to reach that savings goal by making a few simple changes in your life. You'll learn how to save money fast, spend less, and conquer your savings challenge!
Table of Contents
- Open a High-Yield Savings Account
- Pay Yourself First
- Track Every Expense and Write Down Every Payment
- Cancel Unnecessary Subscriptions and Memberships
- Use Discounted Gift Cards to Pay for Purchases
- Donate Your Time Instead of Money
- Use My Cash Back Stacking System
- Reduce Your Utility Bills
- Spend as Little as Possible on Gas
- Compare Car Insurance Policies
- Sell Your Car
- Pause Savings in Other Areas
- Buy Generic or Store Brand Versions
- Sleep On It
- Consider Purchasing Used Items
- Create a New Income Stream Specifically for Saving
Open a High-Yield Savings Account
High-yield savings accounts are a type of deposit account that can be found at both online and brick-and-mortar institutions. These financial tools typically pay out a higher interest rate than traditional checking or savings accounts, and almost always offer better returns than an average checking account.
If you don't already have a savings account, open one today.
Consider opening an account that is not easy to withdraw from. Make yourself work a little to access the money. This will prevent you from dipping into your stash for all but the most important reasons.
You could have your checking account and savings account at different banks. Another idea is to refrain from getting a savings debit card and don't sign up for an online savings account. This will force you to go inside your bank or credit union to withdraw funds. That slight inconvenience might be enough to prevent impulse spending or depletion of your emergency fund. You do have an emergency fund, right?
Pay Yourself First
One way to start saving money faster is to pay yourself first. This means putting aside an amount for yourself every payday before using your income to pay any bills, debt, or other expenses. Paying yourself first forces you to cut back on expenses for the remainder of the pay period instead of neglecting your savings or emergency fund. You simply won't have the $5 in your checking to buy that latte.
If you want to make saving money easier, consider setting up automatic transfers into your savings account on a regular basis. For example, setting up an automatic transfer for $100 per paycheck would put away $200 per month automatically. That could add up quickly over time.
If you already use an automatic transfer, try increasing it slightly. The extra dollars might not sound like much, but they can help you reach your financial goals sooner.
Alternatively, if you find yourself withdrawing from your savings regularly, then perhaps you need to contribute a little less. It's best to not get in the habit of pulling money out of your savings.
Interestingly, this technique also works well for a business. In his book, Profit First, Mike Michalowicz lays out his system for making a business profitable from day one based on the principle of paying yourself first.
Track Every Expense and Write Down Every Payment
This may sound like a no-brainer, but you need to know exactly what you are spending your money on in order to craft a budget and meet your immediate savings goals.
There are apps that make tracking your finances as painless as possible. One such app is Mint.com. If you prefer pen and paper, keep track of everything you spend, so you can see where you stand when it comes to meeting your short term financial goals.
It's important to write down even small purchases. Don't forget about ATM fees, which often come off the top of your statement.
Cancel Unnecessary Subscriptions and Memberships
Another great way to increase your savings is to cancel unnecessary subscriptions and memberships. If you are currently subscribed to cable TV, or a streaming service like Netflix or Hulu Plus you need to cancel these services immediately. They cost too much money and take up valuable space in your head. Space that could be used listening to personal finance podcasts (I'll discuss an awesome one in a bit) or working on a side hustle to earn more money.
Similarly, if you've been signed up for magazines or newspapers, stop subscribing now. Take a trip to the local library and see if they have a subscription to magazines you enjoy. You might be surprised at the selection available.
That gym membership? Great, but there are many low/no cost ways to stay fit without going to the gym.
In addition, turning off the TV will lower your electricity bill a bit.
Use Discounted Gift Cards to Pay for Purchases
This idea is a real gem and a favorite money-saving tip of mine.
Every year thousands of people receive gift cards or store credit that they have no intention of using. That's where marketplaces like eBay come in. A search for (your favorite store) + gift card will yield immediate results. Ebay will allow you to save a search and you will get an email every time a new item is posted that matches what you want.
An even more efficient way to find gift cards is through an aggregator like Gift Card Spread. This website lists discounted gift cards as well as providing the means to set up alerts for a multitude of stores with available discounted gift cards. You can sort by discount and type of card (i.e. physical or ecard).
Gift Card Spread is one of my favorite resources.
Donate Your Time Instead of Money
If you are a charitable type who likes to give financial help to causes you believe in consider giving your time instead. There are plenty of opportunities online where you can volunteer your skills and expertise.
For instance, you can sign up to do something simple such as proofread documents for free. Or maybe you'd rather work behind the scenes helping to organize events?
You can still make a difference while growing your savings a little faster.
Use My Cash Back Stacking System
In my book I lay out a simple, easy to use system that helps you save money on nearly everything you buy online. It can save you money offline as well. Even for groceries.
Following my system will help you will achieve your goal of saving money fast.
Reduce Your Utility Bills
Some ideas to reduce this necessary expense include:
- Using a fan instead of running the AC
- Wear warmer clothes and turn down the thermostat
Check out this blog post for more information on how to reduce your monthly expenses regarding additional savings on utility bills.
Spend as Little as Possible on Gas
Use an app such as GasGuru. You can use the app to save a few cents by comparing the price of gas near home, work, or other frequently visited places to find the cheapest available. With a tap, you can get directions, see the time of the last price update, and more.
Waze is another useful app for finding cheap gas. Waze is a Google-owned app that utilizes crowd-sourced data. You can input your favorite gas stations and then sort them by price.
Proper vehicle maintenance is an important part of this component. Following your vehicles' maintenance schedule with things like oil changes, air filter replacement and even proper tire pressure can all have a positive impact on fuel mileage which will obviously reduce the amount you spend on gas.
Compare Car Insurance Policies
In the past I have reduced my premiums by 30% simply by switching to another auto insurance carrier. This was done by going directly to company websites and searching for policies. Then I would compare rates between carriers until I found something better than before.
Did you know that your credit score can affect your car insurance cost?
Sell Your Car
You might consider this an outrageous money saving tip, however, selling your car can actually add thousands of dollars to your savings. The average person spends $1,000 per year on auto insurance alone. That means that every year you own a vehicle you spend about $10,000 that could be saved.
You would also eliminate car payments (and the accompanying interest) as well as maintenance costs like tires, oil, and other fluid changes. The shear amount of money saved would be like adding another income stream.
You can go to this website to get an idea of what your car may be worth.
If you have to pay for parking that is another monthly cost that can now be added to your coffers.
Pause Savings in Other Areas
Are you contributing to a 401K? A college fund for your kids?
If you need to figure out how to save money fast then it may be necessary to pause these contributions until your financial goal is met. These are typically long-term goals and the impact of a short-term pause wouldn't be detrimental. You can always catch up when your situation improves.
Buy Generic or Store Brand Versions
When grocery shopping at big box stores, look for generic versions first. They often carry lower priced items and offer free shipping. If you don't want to wait for delivery you can pick them up at your local store.
This applies to many things including household cleaners, toiletries, food, etc.
I have been surprised by quite a few store brand food items that I now actually prefer to national big name brands. For example, I find Kroger canned tuna far superior to any of the other brands in quality and taste.
Another way to save extra money is to use an app like Ibotta when you shop. There are a variety of ways to save on your shopping, with offers on individual products or instant cash back for your purchase. Using cash back credit cards on top of this will give you another bonus as long as you properly manage your credit card balances.
Sleep On It
Before spending a significant amount of your monthly budget on an item, sleep on it. Do you really need it? Can you get by without it for a while? If you are replacing an item, can you get by with a less expensive replacement?
I can't count how many times I've changed my mind about expensive purchases after waiting a day. Particularly those that would have to be paid for with a credit card.
Consider Purchasing Used Items
Between your local consignment shop, Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, eBay, and even Amazon there's a high likelihood that you can find a used version of whatever it is that you need or want.
There are certain items that I flat out won't pay new prices for. Last winter I wanted a kerosene heater for my garage. My first step was to check Craigslist and, sure enough, there were 2 available to choose from. I ended up getting a heater that suited my needs, in like new condition, for half of what I would have paid at Tractor Supply or Home Depot. Score!
I was then able to allocate the money I saved towards a set of new winter tires for my truck. Tires are one of those items I prefer to buy new. I do have to admit to buying a few used pairs when there was more lint than money in my wallet. Good times.
Create a New Income Stream Specifically for Saving
Finding a new income source is not easy but if you are willing to put forth the effort it can result in substantial money gains. Here are a few examples:
1. Buy Low, Sell Higher — There are thousands of individuals scouring stores, yard sales, etc. looking for items they can buy at steep discounts and then reselling those items on Amazon, eBay and other online marketplaces.
Another source is to ask family & friends if they have any unwanted items that you could sell for them. You could offer to sell it for them for a commission. I am approached regularly by family members to sell items for them using my established eBay account. They appreciate the additional money and willingly give me a percentage just so they don't have to deal with the hassle. Little do they know, I don't really see it as a hassle because I have developed a system.
Many people have turned this side hustle into a full-time living. It's not difficult to get started and, if you have more time than money, this might be the ticket for you. The only drawback is the initial expense of buying your first items. Using a credit card for your initial products is a possibility. After that, the business can be self-sustaining by reinvesting profits to cover the cost of additional goods.
Here is a great book that talks about this method and other opportunities to make money online.
2. Become An Uber/Lyft driver — In addition to being interesting, this job has the potential to earn you additional income in the thousands per year. And unlike most jobs, you only work when you feel like working!
3. Become a Freelancer — Websites like Fiverr, Upwork, and Elance offer a platform for people to showcase and offer their skills for hire. Do you have a skill set from your main job that you could offer?
I like to browse through the different categories on these sites just to see what services people are offering to provide. I said to myself more that once, “They make money doing that?”
Fiverr is especially interesting in terms of what's offered. For example, some people will model clothes for brands or hand out flyers. One person I found will leave voicemail messages while imitating a celebrity voice.
4. Rent out your home — Do you own your home? Airbnb makes it easy to rent out a room, your house, vacation home, etc. This could be a fast way to make a couple hundred dollars in a weekend that will look great on your bank statements.
5. Rent out your driveway — Spacer.com allows you to create a listing to rent out your driveway or parking space. What an easy way to add to your monthly income!
For more side hustle ideas you HAVE to check out one of my all-time favorite podcasts, The Side Hustle Show, with Nick Loper. That man is a side hustle superhero.
Finding a way to make extra income may be your only option if you need to save money fast but your budget has every last penny allocated from your paycheck. Additionally, there are stories all over the internet about people's side hustles putting them on the path to financial freedom.
There you have it, sixteen strategies about how to save money fast. As you can see, it doesn't have to be difficult or soul-crushing to achieve your savings plan, but you do need to pay attention to small changes in your spending habits. If you can find ways to save money on your regular purchases, you'll find yourself with more money in the bank at the end of the month. So get started today and conquer that money challenge!
Be sure to check out my book for an easy to implement system for saving more money on nearly everything you buy.