One of the important aspects to personal finance is saving money.
It can also be challenging to break your bad financial habits and start developing a system of consistently paying yourself first.
However, by shifting your mindset and applying some simple tweaks to your financial choices, you’ll start to save money fast.
Now at first, you might be discouraged that you are only saving a few dollars here or there — but over time it adds up. Plus, you may start to find ways to slowly increase your savings rate over time.
Below, you’ll find a few good tips on how to save money fast.
Remember, these won’t necessarily dramatically impact your financial health right away. You have to look at the big picture and the positive effects it can have for you in a year, five years, and beyond.
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How To Save Money Fast
Ready to start to save money quickly?
As I mention in the intro these are all ways you can save money starting today, but not all are going to create wealth overnight. But these are steps in the right direction!
Additionally, not all the tips will apply to you and many might be very basic concepts too. But I’ve found it is easy to overlook things that can all impact your savings rate in a positive way. Hope these help!
Write a list before going shopping
Make sure to take a grocery list with you wherever you go shopping. By bringing a list, you’ll be less prone to impulse buys and buying things you don’t need.
Not only will the food you buy be part of your meal plan, but you’ll also waste less food in the long term!
On top of that, a list may make it easier to manage coupons, loyalty programs and cash back rewards with your grocery store.
Use energy efficient light bulbs
Low-cost light bulbs are an excellent way to save money from electricity in the long run. The light bulb itself may cost a little more, but energy-efficient light bulbs have longer lives and use less electricity!
There are several options when picking an alternative to light bulbs. CFLs and LEDs are both great options that use much less energy than traditional light bulbs and last a long time.
Buy higher quality appliances
Instead of buying cheap appliances, consider buying an efficient and reliable dishwasher, dryer and washing machine. These types of appliances last longer, save money on energy and usually have longer warranties.
Make sure to do your research and read reviews — that extra time in picking the right appliance can save hundreds of dollars in the long run.
Use public transport
This tip does depend on the city you live in.
If you live somewhere with public transport, consider using it more often when you have the extra time (you get to enjoy the view rather than concentrating on driving!).
Stay away from taxis, and use apps like Uber or Lyft instead.
Additionally, walk or bike as much as you can and consider carpooling with others in order to save money on gas.
Have group dinners
Instead of going out to an expensive restaurant, why not invite everyone over and make a huge meal altogether?
If everyone puts in $5, creating a big mac and cheese or lasagna together with drinks is more than doable – and you get to do it with your friends!
Make your own gifts
When it comes to giving presents to your friends and family members, the costs can add up quickly.
Why not go DIY for all those birthday, graduation and wedding gifts?
These could be candles, baked at home meals, soap and other fun ideas. Most often people appreciate homemade gifts even more – they add a nice personal touch. And if they’re consumable, they won’t end up going to waste.
Cancel unwanted subscriptions
It’s easy to sign up to more subscriptions than necessary without even noticing.
Check your bank statement and look at the various subscriptions you may be paying regularly.
Uncheck the auto-renew option if you don’t use the services regularly or cancel it altogether. Fewer monthly charges could turn into quite a few bucks saved every month.
Cook at home
Eating out regularly can really add up. Why not make more of an effort to cook at home? Buy an easy-to-read and fun cookbook and try your hand at cooking.
You may be surprised to find that cooking isn’t too hard, it’s cheaper and can be much healthier. Consider preparing meals in advance and you’ll have several meals ready for the week.
Fix things yourself
If you’ve got some extra time on your hands, try fixing that leaky tap or broken handle yourself. With Youtube tutorials and online videos, pretty much anything can be fixed nowadays.
If you fix it, you’ve learned a new skill (it can be strangely satisfying); and if you haven’t, at least you can say you tried (and ask the plumber a few questions!).
Less expensive vacation time
Everyone loves a good vacation – but how bad do you need to spend thousands of dollars on a trip that could be just as delightful for a quarter of the cost?
Packing up the car and doing a road trip in your area can also be a lot of fun – get the camping gear out, explore the lakes and turn off your mobile devices. Cheap and just as fun.
Seriously, I do a camping trip every Summer and I’ve seen tons of state parks, done cool hikes, and more.
The money we spent is for any camping fees, gas, and food — which is much more affordable than hotels or flying to all these places.
Alternatively, look into credit card rewards – you may be able to save thousands on air travel and hotels. Just don’t go into debt chasing rewards or fancy vacations to get extra points.
Renegotiating rates (rent, mortgage, student loans)
If you’ve got a good relationship with your landlord and are going through some tough times, try negotiating a lower rent.
If it’s your mortgage and you have a good credit history, call up your bank and see if they’d be willing to lower your payments. There’s no harm in trying!
Additionally, when interest rates are high or you have a lot of debt from credit cards or student loans, you can potentially consolidate it to help lower your payments.
You can use a free online marketplace like Credible, which helps you find the best potential rates and payments for you.
Waive initial fees
Before you sign up for a service, simply ask if they would be willing to waive the sign-up fees. You’d be surprised by how often they will be willing to remove excessive fees.
Try this with your cell phone bill, cable, utility bills and more — just by asking, you may be able to save money fast on those monthly bills.
Additionally, you can negotiate fees or bill increases just by making some simple phone calls. If you are polite and have a good history with them, many times they are willing to help you.
You can also use a service like Trim, which manages all this via their app.
Use cash back apps
In order to save money fast, you’ll want to slow down your spending. That is no brainer advice and obviously will keep money in your pockets.
However, you can’t avoid shopping altogether at some point. It’s okay to treat yourself from time to time and there will be essentials you may need.
Besides using coupons any chance you get, consider using cash back apps for free. Many have partnerships with many retail stores, grocery stores, and others, where you get cash back via scanning on purchase of scanning the receipt.
Bring in extra money
While making more money doesn’t always happen fast, there are ways to get paid quickly. These include selling your stuff on places like Craigslist, Letgo, Facebook Marketplace, eBay, etc.
You probably have “stuff” that you don’t use, want, or need anymore so you can sell it for more cash and then sock it away.
And thanks to the gig economy, extra money is literally an app and a few clicks away. The cash won’t solve all your savings challenges or financial burdens, but every bit counts when you want to save money fast.
How to Save Money Fast on Low Income
Saving money is great, but it can be extremely difficult on a low income. And how you define a low income can vary on your current cost of living, location of where you live, and the ways you earn money.
There was a time I was living paycheck to paycheck due to low income and I made some bad financial decisions in my early 20s too.
I had almost no savings, but applied some of the tips below and I was able to start to save some money fast.
Overtime, my savings increased and I found ways to bring in extra money (which I also saved). While small changes can quickly help you save, seeing your savings build up takes time.
Here are some ways to save money fast on a low income.
Buy used when you can
Sometimes buying something used is just as good as buying it new. If you do a bit of research and scour eBay and Amazon, you’ll probably find items you need for half the price (and just as useful!).
Do this also for clothes: buying them second hand online or in thrift stores can save a lot of money in the long run.
Buy generic brands
There really isn’t much difference between the Oreo brand cookies and the supermarket version (or is there?). Instead of picking the branded item, buy the generic version.
This is especially good for non-perishable items such as pasta, washing powder, toilet paper and animal food.
The main difference between the two is the marketing — why do you need to pay for that? You’ll save a few cents and dollars which could help you save money fast on a low income.
There are many ways to buy clothes that look great and don’t require fancy matching. With six pairs of shirts and some pants, you can get pretty far – keep the colors basic and you won’t have any problem fitting the two together.
Cut your own hair
Cutting your hair at a salon once a month can easily add up to your overall budget. Why not try cutting your own hair?
It may not sound easy at first, but if you buy a good pair of clippers and search the right videos on Youtube, you may be surprised at your own skills. With a bit of practice, you’ll basically be getting free haircuts – and you make yourself look good.
Your other option is to have a family member or trusted friend give it a go. Especially if you keep a simple hairstyle that doesn’t take much layering or work.
Go to free events in town
Entertainment in general can be quite expensive, but most towns have many free events every week. Your town may have outdoor parks, basketball courts, hiking trails and more — try out new activities and see where it gets you.
You can also check out Meetup.com to see if there any gigs, free concerts or new places opening up in your area.
Use the library
Yes, your local library is a great place to borrow books for free. But you can also do plenty of other things at the library: meet up with some friends, check out new movies, read local newspapers and join community events.
It’s one of the few places left where no one will hog you until you spend money.
Eat less meat
In general, meat is more expensive. You’ll still be able to find a ton of protein in other vegetables and beans for a much lower price.
You don’t need to become a vegetarian, but simply eating meat less often can help lower that grocery bill.
Save Money With The 30 Day Rule
Another great way to save money quickly is to take control of your behavior when shopping. The 30 day rule is an easy concept that helps you avoid impulse purchases.
It’s very simple: every time you’re tempted to buy something, force yourself to wait and think about it for 30 days. Write down the item, where you saw it and the price and put it on a note somewhere.
Think about whether the purchase is a need or a want for 30 days. If after 30 days you still want to buy it, go ahead and make the purchase. If you’ve already forgotten about it, then you’ve saved some money!
This rule is helpful if you’re someone with regular impulses. You can use it when you’re shopping online or in store — just make sure to write all the details on a piece of paper or keep tabs on your phone/computer so you don’t forget.
This rule will help you save in the long run — if it’s an item that you forget about after 30 days, then clearly it’s something that wasn’t as important as you thought, and you’ve officially saved money by not buying it.
The goal is to encourage you to think twice: does this item justify taking money out of my savings? If it does, then you’ll be able to say you thought long and hard about it.
While many of the above tips on how to save money fast might be pretty simple, it shows you there are no real secrets. You just have to get started, think a bit creatively, and stick to your frugal living to make changes.
Additionally, there are plenty more tips you can probably think of, but this at least gets you on the right path. Heck, there are even ways to get free money that can be used for your savings too.
With the above tips, you may only notice small savings at first, but overtime these can compound and you’ll be impressed with the savings progress you made.How have you started to save money fast? What worked for you? Are there some great tips that personally elevated your savings, even with a lower income? Let me know in the comments below!